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Positive signs in Belmont County

Quarantine period cleared for first cases, one still hospitalized

T-L File photo Belmont County Deputy Health Director Robert Sproul speaks about the presence of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, during a press conference March 13. On Monday, Sproul reported quarantines have been lifted on one of Belmont County’s two positive cases and their contacts. The other positive case is hospitalized but reportedly recovering.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Quarantine periods are ending for the two people who tested positive for the pandemic novel coronavirus in Belmont County and the people they came in contact with, but one of the individuals who contracted COVID-19 remains hospitalized, according to Deputy Health Director Robert Sproul.

Last week, Sproul reported one of the two Belmont County residents who tested positive had been transported to Wheeling Hospital.

“We don’t know anything about the person at the hospital. Again, they’re not sharing that information with us,” he said.

The hospital declined to provide information about the patient. However, a receptionist at the man’s workplace said she had heard he was out of the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and hopefully recovering.

Last week, Ohio saw its first fatality from the virus: a 76-year-old Toledo man who had recently traveled to California.

On March 13, Sproul announced Belmont County’s two cases, a man and woman in their 50s who likely contracted the disease at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., in late February. A Cuyahoga County, Ohio, resident who tested positive for the virus also attended that event. The local couple had self-quarantined at their home until the man was hospitalized.

Sproul declined to say in what area of Belmont County the couple resided or how many people were on their contact list.

On Monday morning, Sproul gave an update on the known spread of the virus in Belmont County.

“As of right now … no new positives are in the county,” he said. “We have a couple people that are quarantined on another county’s case. Another county has a positive and a couple people (who had contact) from that positive live in Belmont County, so they’re just being quarantined. Not symptomatic. They’re fine, and again they will be out (of quarantine Tuesday).”

Sproul said the woman who had tested positive in Belmont County has since recovered and the people the couple had been in contact with completed their 14-day observation periods Saturday.

“Everybody’s out,” he said. “I hope everything goes well (for the hospitalized man). We’ve had very good news, and I hope it continues.”

Sproul urges everyone to continue to take precautions including social distancing and regular hand-washing.

“The quicker we can stop the spread of this, the quicker we can get back to our normal lives,” he said.

Sproul also commented on Gov. Mike DeWine’s recent announcement that a stay-at-home order would take effect just before midnight Monday.

“Some of the people (in Ohio) are not heeding the warnings,” Sproul said.

The order calls for Ohioans to stay at home and avoid non-essential business. In recent weeks, the state has closed schools, restaurants, bars, spas, salons, fitness centers and other “non-essential” businesses, and the March 17 primary election was postponed.

For the latest information about the coronavirus, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

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