RCHD Announces Mitigation Strategies to get through 2020

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COVID-19 case counts continue to mount in Ross and surrounding counties. In a Zoom Meeting on November 30, 2020, the Ross County Health District shared recommendations on mitigation strategies to slow the the spread through the holidays.

Health Commissioner Garrett Guillozet says the county’s case count has risen to four times the Centers of Disease Control’s definition of high incident rate.

Guillozet’s recommendations are in addition to the Health Order issued by the Ohio Department of Health. They include:

  1. Schools are recommended to cease all extracurricular activities and youth sporting events. This includes school sports, club sports, travel sports, and other school-related activities.
  2. Community festivals, events, and gatherings should be suspended.
  3. Businesses and government offices are strongly advised to have all staff to work from home and implement teleworking, as necessary.
  4. Churches and houses of worship are strongly advised not to meet in person and to use online or “drive-in” options.
  5. Community, governmental, social, and other similar organizational meetings are strongly advised to be held virtually.
  6. All residents are encouraged not to gather with people outside their households.

Also on the call are Kirk Tucker, MD and CCO for Adena Health System. Tucker talks about the impact the pandemic is having on health care workers and the system itself.

December American Red Cross Blood Drives

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Donors of all blood types are urged to give now to keep the blood supply stable over the holidays. Blood donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, and the COVID19 pandemic may further impact donations. Give blood and be the lifeline patients need. Medical conditions and emergencies don’t stop for the holidays or a pandemic. There aren’t enough people donating blood to help patients in need. You can help by encouraging others to sign up to donate blood. Below are the blood drives that are open to the public in December.

  • South Central Chapter House – Drive Sponsored by Unioto High School Senior Hannah Notestine

$10 E-Gift Card For Donors ages 16-24

Tuesday December 1st,2:00pm-8:00pm

To schedule an appointment call Hannah Notestine at (740)656-2456, email h.notestine2021@gmail.com, or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: LSLUnioto

  • Bainbridge Community – American Legion Hall

$10 E-Gift Card For Donors ages 16-24

Friday December 11th,2:00pm-7:00pm

To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: Bainbridge

  • South Central Ohio Chapter – Friedman Donor Room

$10 E-Gift Card For Donors ages 16-24

Tuesday December 15th, 11:00am-5:00pm

To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: SCOC

  • South Central Ohio Chapter – Friedman Donor Room

FREE Long-Sleeved Red Cross T-Shirt For ALL Donors

Friday December 18th, 9:30am-3:30pm

To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: SCOC

  • Christian Life Tabernacle – Fellowship Hall

FREE Long-Sleeved Red Cross T-Shirt For ALL Donors

Monday December 21, 1:00pm-6:00pm

To schedule an appointment call Dian Smith at (740)773-6044, 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: CLTabernacle

  • iHeartMEDIA Blood Bash – Drive held at South Central Ohio Chapter

FREE Long-Sleeved Red Cross T-Shirt For ALL Donors

Tuesday December 29th, 1:00pm-6:00pm

To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: iHeartMEDIA

  • Tabernacle Baptist Church – 221 E. Main Street

FREE Long-Sleeved Red Cross T-Shirt For ALL Donors

Wednesday December 30th, 12:30pm-5:30pm

To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: TBC

A Visit with Terri Tutt, Commissioner of the Frontier Athletic Conference

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Frontier Athletic Conference Commissioner, Terri Tutt, visited with Litter Media’s Dan Ramey to discuss the pandemic’s affect on the Winter Sports season and the dilemma facing the Chillicothe Cavaliers seasons being suspended until January 5, 2021.

Tutt talks about the pandemic and its affect on the FAC and compares the wide spread postponements with the blizzards of the 1970s.

Much like in the fall, winter sports’ regular season games can be played right up to the week of the state championships.

Tutt also discusses the rescheduling Chillicothe will need to do because of suspending their seasons and the potential difficulties placed on swimming and bowling if fitness centers are closed,

Tutt shares what she learned from the FAC schools’ handling of the Fall Seasons and upcoming conference discussions.

RCHD’s Recommendation to Schools Regarding Sports & Extra Curricular Activities

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November 20th, the Ross County Health District released an open letter cautioning citizens about the amount of new COVID-19 cases reported to the Health District offices (484 since November 1st and over 700 in October) and the deaths of 56 residents due to the coronavirus as a concern for a potential increase in hospitalizations. “We face an uncertain future with a decrease in hospital capacity and limited staffing” stated the letter.

This week, RCHD made a recommendation to the county school districts regarding youth sports and extra curricular activities. In a release (see below) to local schools Wednesday, RCHD recommended “the postponement of winter youth sports games/competitions and extracurricular activities for schools in our jurisdiction. This recommendation is a mitigation strategy aimed at reducing the severity and lowering harm. This is a not a cancellation, but a postponement to help get us through the holiday season.”

Of Ross County’s districts, only Chillicothe City Schools took the RCHD’s recommendation, suspending athletic competitions and extra curricular activities until January 5, 2021.

By placing their seasons on hold, Chillicothe High School and Middle School Athletic Departments have begun rescheduling games. CHS AD Mike Barren told Litter Media Wednesday afternoon he’s rescheduling as many of the games he can, with priority given to the games in the Frontier Athletic Conference. At the varsity level, that means the Boys and Girls Basketball teams will miss the entire first round of FAC play, five games each, plus six non-conference Girls games, four Boys games, ten Bowling matches, six Swim Meets and two Wrestling Meets.

RCHD explained “We certainly understand the impact of our recommendations, but the health district is looking at the totality of the situation. Case counts are just one factor that we must take into consideration when formulating our recommendations. Outpatient visits, emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and Intensive Care Unit bed availability in our region are all reaching critical levels. We do not make this recommendation lightly but do so to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our schools and communities.”

The recommendation is effective immediately and will last until January 1, 2021.

“At that time, we will reassess the situation and evaluate the data to determine whether the recommendation shall continue” stated the release. “This is not an order, but a recommendation and it has been made in consultation with our school leaders.”

COVID-19 Update: Governor DeWine Urges Ohioans to Safely Celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday

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(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CASE DATA & UPCOMING HOLIDAY

New data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) shows that 98 more deaths were reported in the past 24 hours which is the second-highest number of deaths reported in a single day in Ohio since the start of the pandemic. 

A total of 364 new hospitalizations were also reported throughout the state in the past 24 hours, and 8,604* additional positive COVID-19 cases were also recorded.

Total hospitalizations are also continuing to trend upwards, with 4,449 patients currently hospitalized. Of these, 1,046 patients are in intensive care units.

The current surge in cases is believed to be linked to people gathering on and around Halloween. 

“This holiday season, let’s show each other how much we care by making the necessary sacrifices to ensure we will all be healthy to celebrate next Thanksgiving,” said Governor DeWine. “Approximately one in four of all hospitalized patients in Ohio is infected with COVID-19, and this continues to put tremendous stress on Ohio hospitals in every corner of the state.”

“The big fear is if we don’t take the message of masking, distancing, and avoiding big groups seriously, Thanksgiving could result in our hospitals being overwhelmed,” said Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “It’s very serious. It’s a matter of personal responsibility, and we owe it to each other.”

*Total case numbers for Ohio are currently incomplete. Thousands of reports are pending review. 

OHIO POSITIVITY RATE & TRAVEL

Ohio’s positivity rate, which is the daily percentage of positive tests reported to ODH, has reached 14 percent – just one percentage point shy of Ohio’s travel advisory warning level of 15 percent. 

Each Wednesday, ODH releases a travel advisory for Ohio citizens planning to travel to other states which advises against travel to states with a positivity rate of 15 percent or more.

“Like so much of the country, Ohio is now a high-risk area,” said Governor DeWine. “We’re asking that everyone heed the recommendations of the travel advisory, even if you aren’t leaving the state. Please stay home, and ask your friends and family to refrain from visiting this Thanksgiving.”

In addition to Ohio’s travel advisory, the updated Ohio Public Advisory System map will also be published on Wednesday at coronavirus.ohio.gov

BAR & RESTAURANT ASSISTANCE FUND

Lt. Governor Husted announced that less than half of the eligible permit holders have submitted an application for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund.

Roughly 30 different permit types, including bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries, casinos, and private clubs may be eligible. Ohioans can find a list of eligible permits, along with the application, at BusinessHelp.Ohio.gov.

$5 BILLION DIVIDEND FOR OHIO EMPLOYERS

At the urging of Governor DeWine, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) board voted unanimously to approve issuing $5 billion in dividends to Ohio’s employers in mid-December to ease the financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This is nearly four times the dividend BWC issued in October, bringing total dividends this year to nearly $8 billion. Employers should expect to see their checks in the mail in mid-December.

OHIO TO WORK

In September, a new initiative was announced in collaboration with JobsOhio called “Ohio to Work,” to help Ohioans who are looking for a job during the pandemic.

The initiative pulls together employers, nonprofits, educators, and training providers to help Ohioans reskill and restart their careers.

Lt. Governor Husted said today that the program is currently being piloted in the Greater Cleveland area, and October’s first Virtual Career Fair had more than 30 employers with over 1,000 open jobs. More than 700 job seekers attended. The next Virtual Career Fair is Thursday, December 10. To register, visit OhiotoWork.com.

ADDITIONAL GUESTS

During today’s briefing, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted were joined by four Ohioans who discussed their experiences with COVID-19 and/or their experiences treating patients with serious complications from the coronavirus. 

Stephanie Marshall, a respiratory therapist at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, described treating patients struggling with respiratory complications and later being admitted to the hospital herself for serious COVID-19 complications. 

Susan Norvell, a Middletown resident, discussed her family’s experience with COVID-19.  All four people in her household were infected with coronavirus, and their experiences ran the full range from asymptomatic to mild symptoms to intensive care. 

Matthew Colflesh, MD, from Trinity Medical System in Steubenville, stressed that although the eastern part of the state did not see surges in the spring and summer, their hospitals are now becoming stressed with a high number of hospitalizations.

Jasmin Shavers, a nurse at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, discussed her experiences caring for patients in the hospital’s all-COVID intensive care unit.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 371,908 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,118 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 25,069 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,483 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today’s full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Chillicothe City Schools Suspends Athletic Competitions & Extracurricular Activities Until January 5

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Chillicothe City Schools have put a hold on activities until January 5, 2021.

In a statement from CCSD Superintendent Debbie Swinehart:

“District leaders continue to work closely with the Ross County Health District to assess the various risks facing our students and staff.

“Based on recommendations announced today for school athletics, we are suspending all athletic competitions and extracurricular activities, effective immediately until January 5, 2021.

“Unlike other local school districts, our teams often travel outside Ross County to compete. This puts our athletes and coaching staff at a greater risk of exposure and has the potential to further the spread of the virus across our communities. 

“All official games and scrimmages will be postponed and rescheduled for a time when our teams can safely compete together. Practices and skills training in small groups will continue for current CCSD athletes, and our coaching staff will be strictly enforcing all screening and safety protocols, including temperature and symptom checks and increased sanitization of all athletic facilities.

“While this was a difficult decision to make, prioritizing health and safety must be our shared commitment for our school community.”

RCHD Commissioner Garrett Guillozet tells Litter Media he’s met with the superintendents of the county school districts with recommendations regarding school activities and that they come to a consensus. The other districts agreed to move forward with the limiting tickets to two family members per participant, no food concession service and an increase in mask wearing compliance.

Guillozet reaffirmed this was only a recommendation, not a health order.

In a statement made by the Ohio High School Athletic Association Wednesday afternoon “The decision for schools to move forward with sports is a local decision. Schools may certainly choose not to participate in a contest or to pause their season(s) for a period and should do what is in their best interest. The OHSAA believes that our member schools provide student-athletes with the safest possible environment to continue participating, and we all recognize the educational, physical and mental health benefits of participation.”

In a text conversation with Terri Tutt, the Commissioner the Frontier Athletic Conference in which Chillicothe participates, Tutt conveyed to Litter Media “The FAC is committed to giving a priority to league games.” At the time of our exchange, none of the other FAC members had changed their commitment to participating in their scheduled games.

Parents Only: OHSAA Makes Statement on Governor’s Recommendation

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following Governor Mike DeWine’s remarks during his news conference on Tuesday (Nov. 24), the OHSAA, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, recommends that schools restrict attendance to only the parents of the participants, or eliminate all spectators, for their winter sports competitions through December 31, 2020, due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We want to follow this recommendation so that our kids can continue to compete,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute. “We believe it is crucial that parents be permitted to attend the contests of their children, but large crowds at our indoor athletic contests are not a good idea at this time. We all need to work together to give our kids and schools the best chance at having a full winter season.” 

Schools will determine the process for how parents will attend athletic contests, such as how many are permitted and where they will be placed to watch the contest. 

Regarding media coverage, the OHSAA asks schools to still permit media coverage of their contests, but the number of media attending should be restricted to those who regularly cover the teams involved. Schools are encouraged to provide live video streaming of their athletic contests for those who cannot attend.

The OHSAA provided the following recommendations for member schools:

·        For those schools that decide to admit parents, list the names of the parents on a roster sheet that is located at your ticket window/admission table. This will help clarify who should/should not be admitted and will hopefully eliminate non-parents from attending.

·        Limit media to those who normally cover your school and consider utilizing a streaming service in order for fans to view your contest(s).

·        There is no prohibition on cheerleaders and pep bands, but schools should make their own decisions on these students’ participation and should strongly consider not sending cheerleaders to away contests.

As administrators were notified last week, the OHSAA winter sports seasons are moving forward as planned. That decision was made after the Executive Director’s Office had discussions with the Governor’s Office, the OHSAA Board of Directors and numerous administrators combined with the results of the membership survey in which 56 percent of the 1,464 respondents recommended that the OHSAA begin all winter sports contests as they are currently planned and scheduled.

The decision for schools to move forward with sports is a local decision. Schools may certainly choose not to participate in a contest or to pause their season(s) for a period and should do what is in their best interest. The OHSAA believes that our member schools provide student-athletes with the safest possible environment to continue participating, and we all recognize the educational, physical and mental health benefits of participation.

Downtown Holiday Open House Filled with Cheer

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If you missed the Chillicothe Downtown Holiday Open House over the weekend, checkout the Litter Media Facebook Photo Album by clicking the photo below.

While numbers were down because of no Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, there were still a good number of visitors seeing what the shops offered and of course, to see Santa at his new location on Enderlin Circle in Yoctangee Park. He’ll be waiting to greet kids every Friday 5:30p-8p, Saturday 4p-8p and Sunday 1p-4p through December 20th.

Adena to Tighten Visitor Restrictions Monday

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CHILLICOTHE, OH (Nov. 20, 2020) – Adena Health System announced today that it will be tightening its visitor restrictions on Monday, November 23, 2020 in an effort to help limit the spread of Coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses, as inpatient volumes at its hospitals and COVID-19 positive cases across the region continue to rise.  

“One third of all confirmed positive Coronavirus cases in Ohio since February have occurred in the last two weeks,” said Chief Clinical Officer Kirk Tucker, MD. “That shows you the magnitude of this current surge. It is trends like this that our clinical and operations teams examine closely and make decisions that are in the best interest for our patients, visitors, physicians and staff.”

He added, “This is why Adena is moving back to a tightening of our visitor restrictions. It is important to know that we were unanimous in our plan not to go to a zero visitor policy at this time. Having zero visitors is bad for patient morale, but also creates challenges with staff coordinating patient discharge plans with family members or support persons not present.”

Effective Nov. 23, 2020, at Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, Adena Greenfield Medical Center in Greenfield and Adena Pike Medical Center in Waverly, visitor access will be limited to:

·        One named visitor on Non-COVID Inpatient Units per day during limited visiting hours;

·        One named visitor in Emergency Departments for non-COVID suspected or confirmed patients;

·        One named visitor for Inpatient Maternity/Labor & Delivery/Pediatrics COVID patients per patient including minor patients and one visitor for non-COVID patient with exception of minor patients who will be allowed one parent in addition to one named visitor;

·        No visitation with the exception of end of life for Confirmed or Suspected Inpatient COVID patients;

·        No visitors in ICU without clinical team approval;  

·        Up to two visitors limited to immediate family for any End-of-Life Situations;

·        One visitor for Elective Surgery patients going home after the procedure;

·        No visitors on the Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit;

·        No visitors for Outpatient/Ambulatory Clinic visits and testing unless the following exceptions;

o   Minor patients (under 18) – two visitors, limited to only parents or guardians

o   OB and Pediatric clinics:  new mothers with lifting restrictions

o   OB Clinic: one support person may attend initial ultrasound and 20 week visit with the expectant mother

o   Pulmonary Clinic: one visitor for patients struggling with ambulatory issues

o   One visitor/support person for patients with significant physical or mental disabilities

o   Support person required for care planning or to support of disease management (i.e., cancer diagnosis) – must be approved by provider in advance

o   Patient brought in by transport

·        No visitors under age 18;

·        One named visitor acting in the role of a Caretaker for non-COVID patient will be allowed access if meet requirements set by clinical team;

·        Inpatients may have one in-person Spiritual Support visit by their own clergy for brief spiritual support if requested by patient and family;

·        Due to space limitations in relation to social distancing, waiting room areas are closed to visitors; and 

·        Visitors are not to be loitering in the hospital and must remain in patient room at all times

Hospital visiting hours will be limited to 2 – 7 p.m., seven days a week. Adena’s Visitor Policy is available to view at www.adena.org/VisitorPolicy. To assure a safe environment, all visitors are required to participate in the COVID-19 screening process at entrances, maintain social distancing, follow hand hygiene guidelines, and must wear a mask or face covering throughout their visit including while inside of the patient room.