Harrison cases climbing

CADIZ — Harrison County continues to see more occurrences of COVID-19 with more than 40 new positive cases reported in the past week.

Last Wednesday, the county had a confirmed total of 129 positive cases since the outbreak began. This week that number jumped to 173 total cases, an increase of 44 new cases in the past week.

As of Wednesday, the county has recorded 110 recoveries and four deaths. There are 59 active cases in the county.

Garen Rhome, administrator of the Harrison County Health Department, said the number of positive cases continues to rise.

“The spread is very serious right now, and we really need people to stop and consider their actions and reconsider going and visiting or going to social gatherings,” he said.

Rhome said community spread from people attending gatherings is still the biggest cause of the county’s positive cases. He said he hopes Gov. Mike DeWine’s new orders impress upon people the seriousness of the situation.

DeWine recently enacted orders strictly limiting mass gatherings and activities that can occur during them, a retail compliance mask enforcement order and, beginning today, a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“We’ve got people that are on board with mask wearing and trying to reduce their close contacts, and we’ve got some people who are maybe on the fence about it and don’t quite understand it. So each one of these things (orders) is just another light bulb opportunity for somebody to realize, ‘OK, now is the time to take this seriously.’ Unfortunately, I think there are just some people who won’t take it seriously until it somehow has personally affected them,” Rhome said.

Rhome added that if you don’t know someone who has contracted the virus yet, you probably will at some point soon.

“We hope that the people that you know, if they do contract it, it will be a simple, non-complex case and they recover well, but there are people it is a very demanding burden on medically,” he said.

Since Tuesday, the county has reported nine new cases — a minor, two individuals in their 20s, one in their 30s, two in their 40s, and one each in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

There has also been a surge of hospitalizations throughout the Ohio Valley, Rhome said.

Wheeling Hospital released a statement Wednesday that the hospital is experiencing an increased number of COVID-19 positive patients at this time. The hospital is currently at 75 percent capacity and the ICU is at 72 percent capacity, according to the statement. The hospital urges people to comply with mitigation efforts to halt the spread of the virus.

Rhome said this is the case for many hospitals in the region. The county is connected to multiple hospital systems throughout Eastern Ohio.

The surge in hospitalizations could affect the care residents may need, he said.

“We do have similar information out of other places, like Union Hospital in Dover, we have residents who are at UPMC Hospital. We hear similar stuff out of all these hospitals,” he said.

“The interconnectivity of all these hospital systems has a direct impact on the care available to our residents. Everything we do in Eastern Ohio, it all has repercussions and effects on the entire region.”

Rhome said five of the county’s actively infected patients are hospitalized. The health department encourages residents to continue mitigation efforts to slow the spread and to keep hospitals from experiencing surges in patients.


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