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Harrison moved to level two following outbreak

CADIZ — Harrison County has been moved to level two, the orange category, on the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System following an outbreak of COVID-19 at a senior facility in Cadiz.

The county has remained at level one up until a recent increase in coronavirus cases that occurred last week.

Several new cases were reported at the Meadows of Cadiz senior care facility Monday evening.

Garen Rhome, administrator of the Harrison County Health Department, said the senior care facility currently has 16 positive cases, 10 among residents and six among staff members.

Two of the staff members who tested positive are not county residents and will not be included in the county’s total confirmed cases, he said.

“There was another individual in the care facility that tested positive, but they’re not a resident of our county but they’re a worker in the (Meadows of Cadiz) care facility. … We’re obligated to report two different reporting mechanisms. We will report the current status of the outbreak at the care facility, and we will continue to update our numbers for the county, as we’ve always done,” he said. “Sometimes people that work in the care facility don’t live here (in Harrison County). They won’t go onto Harrison County’s tally, but they will go on the care facility tally.”

Rhome said the county was upgraded to level two due to flagging two of the seven indicators on the system.

“We flagged indicators number one and number three. Number one is cases adjusted per 100,000 people, so if you go over 50 cases per 100,000 then you’ll flag that indicator. Then we also flagged indicator number three, which is the proportion of cases not in a congregate setting. That was not based on this week; this week the majority of our cases are going to be in a congregate setting. But that was based on cases reported between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1. Indicator three looks at three weeks into the past,” he said.

Rhome said the county likely will remain at level two next week, as the advisory system includes cases reported within the past three weeks.

“The possibility exists that we will continue to flag indicator one and three perhaps on next Thursday’s update as well. It serves as an advisory for residents to understand what the spread is like in their area,” he said of the state’s color-coded system.

The senior care facility continues to test its residents and staff members, Rhome said.

“They’re testing quite often at the care facility as a means of identifying potential sick residents or infected staff so we can continue to isolate and quarantine when necessary. There are continuous tests pending,” he said. “Everyone will continue to have regular testing as well as target testing around this particular unit of outbreak.”

Rhome said the outbreak remains contained to one unit of the care facility that is quarantined from the rest of the center.

Capital Healthcare Network, parent company of Meadows of Cadiz, issued a statement Wednesday regarding the outbreak:

“Despite safeguards we have implemented, as has been experienced by so many senior living centers, COVID-19 struck our Meadows of Cadiz,” a statement from CEO Ken Bernsen said. “We are partnering with local and state departments of health.”

The company acknowledged the complications that can occur from the virus and noted that is the reason it proactively and aggressively implemented numerous health and safety precautions.

“Since early March, we have had in place strict precautions that meet or exceed all guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at our Meadows of Cadiz and at all our communities. Those precautions include use of Personal Protective Equipment by staff members, health screenings of residents, staff and vendors, limiting visitors to a minimum and conducting extensive regular disinfection and cleaning treatments throughout our buildings in addition to cleaning protocols already in place,” the statement continues.

The residents who have tested positive remain isolated in private rooms, and the staff members will not return to work until they have completed the CDC-recommended isolation period and are confirmed as being COVID-19 negative, Bernsen stated.

“We are dedicated to transparency and have shared this information with staff members, residents and families. We report COVID-19 test results weekly on our website at www.capitalhealthacrenetwork.com.

“Finally, our attention is on people, not numbers. We are wholeheartedly dedicated to the people we serve. Residents and staff are part of our family and we are determined to do everything possible and currently medically available to stop the spread of this disease,” the statement concluded.

As of Friday, the county had a total of 48 confirmed cases since March, with 30 recovered and one death. There are a total of 17 active cases in the county.

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