“Pandemic Life” Inspires Book

Presented by McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!

When the pandemic hit in 2020, writer Amy Suardi began sharing her thoughts and emotions on her blog Painting With Words. Over the course of the year, Suardi decided to publish the collection of writings in a book “My Beautiful Terrible Pandemic Life“.

Suardi explains as coronavirus threatened to take away what we had taken for granted, the distress of lockdowns, suddenly running a school for her children, it was then she learned the ordinary domestic moments became most poignant. Her book pieces together the first seven months of the pandemic and the experiences that were changing the word as we knew it in the days before.

My Beautiful Terrible Pandemic Life” is available through Amazon.com. To get the book and learn more about the author, visit http://bit.ly/AmySuardi

See Dan Ramey’s full interview with Amy Suardi here.

COVID-19 Update: Chillicothe Health CAre Worker Vaccinated During DeWine News Conference

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Heartland of Chillicothe’s Kaylee Stultz receives her COVID-19 Vaccination during Governor DeWine’s News Conference Tuesday afternoon. Stultz is Heartland’s Infection Preventionist.

One of the nursing home health care workers receiving their COVID-19 vaccination during Governor DeWine’s News Conference Tuesday was Kaylee Stultz, Infection Preventionist for Heartland of Chillicothe.

Beforehand, DeWine asked Stultz why she was decided to be vaccinated. “As a health care worker” said Stultz, “I’ve seen how COVID-19 has just devastated our community. It’s affected so many people I personally know, but then as well as my patients. And I just felt the vaccine is just one step closer in the right direction. So, with that, I’m gonna get the vaccine to protect myself, my family, may patients and people of my community.”

Stultz told Litter Media by phone Tuesday “When the Governor asked me how I felt and I told him ‘It was painless’, I don’t think he believed me.”

Watch Stultz receive her vaccination during the Governor’s News Conference

COVID-19 Update: Vaccination Phases,

Nursing Home Vaccinations, Virus Variant,

Vaccine Redistribution

COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff today provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATION PHASES

Governor DeWine today recapped Phases 1A and 1B of Ohio’s vaccine distribution plan. Because the availability of the vaccine remains limited in Ohio and across the country, Ohio is taking a phased approach that prioritizes the most vulnerable citizens, those in the healthcare field, and school staff members.

Phase 1A, which is currently underway, includes approximately 1 million Ohioans. 

Phase 1A

It is anticipated that vaccine distribution in Phase 1B will begin as Phase 1A begins to wind down. 

Phase 1B focuses largely on those who are 65 and older. Those in this age group are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and make up more than 87 percent of Ohioans who have died from the virus. Phase 1B also includes school teachers and other school staff who will be offered the vaccine in an effort to get Ohio’s children back to school as soon as possible. In total, Phase 1B includes an estimated 2.2 million people.

Phase 1B

Details of future phases of the vaccination plan will be announced as Phases 1A and 1B progress and as Ohio receives vaccines for the future phases. Ohio is currently receiving roughly 100,000 vaccines each week, although that number could increase if more vaccines are approved for administration.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

As of Sunday, approximately 61 percent of nursing homes in Ohio have been visited by a pharmacy vaccine provider. Of those locations, only approximately 40 percent of staff members have chosen to receive the vaccination. Of nursing home residents, approximately 75 to 80 percent of residents have decided to receive the vaccine.

Nursing home staff and residents who have received their first dose of vaccine will begin receiving second doses on Friday. Governor DeWine encouraged those in nursing homes who initially declined to receive the vaccine to get their first dose as part of this second round. Following this opportunity, it may be some time before a first dose is available again.

VACCINE DISCUSSIONS FOR LONG-TERM CARE PROVIDERS

The Ohio Department of Aging will be hosting live discussions to help educate long-term care providers about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine. State and community vaccine experts will be available to answer questions about the vaccine, and participants will have the opportunity to offer input to help state leaders make decisions to guide Ohio out of the pandemic.

VIRUS VARIANT

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health, provided information related to the coronavirus variation that was first seen in the United Kingdom.

“Although virus variations are normal, and most do not impact the behavior of a virus, this variation is notable because it appears to be more contagious than other variants of the coronavirus,” said Dr. Vanderhoff. “Fortunately, this variant doesn’t appear to be more severe or to impact those who are already immune, but it worries us because a more contagious variant could lead to more people getting sick, more people being hospitalized, and more people dying.”

Ohio currently has three times the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations that it had on November 1 and nearly seven times the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations that it had on October 1. 

Dr. Vanderhoff stressed the importance of continuing Ohio’s coronavirus protocols of social distancing, avoiding crowds, washing hands, wearing masks, and accepting the vaccine when available to prevent the spread of all variants of the coronavirus and to prevent further increases in hospitalizations. 

VACCINE REDISTRIBUTION PLANS

The Ohio Department of Health will be issuing a directive requiring vaccine providers to develop a surplus vaccine redistribution plan. The directive follows a recent incident in which a long-term care facility in Ohio overestimated the number of vaccine doses needed for residents and staff. Seven vials of vaccine (35 doses) were not administered and expired.

“Every vaccine dose that Ohio receives must be administered,” said Governor DeWine. “Each vaccine represents a potential life saved, and it is our obligation to ensure that not a single dose is wasted.”

Vaccine redistribution plans will prioritize recipients based on Phase 1A and 1B vaccine distribution criteria. If a significant number of doses remain, vaccine providers must contact the Ohio Department of Health for immediate redistribution assistance.

NEXT ROUND OF TECHCRED NOW OPEN

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced that the seventh round of TechCred – a program that helps businesses upskill their current and incoming workforce with tech-focused credentials – is now open until January 29.

Ohio businesses can receive up to $2,000 for each tech-focused credential earned, up to $30,000 per employer each application period. Since the program’s start, a total of 966 Ohio employers have been approved for funding, supporting the earning of 15,105 tech-focused credentials by Ohio employees.

To learn more and apply, businesses can visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov.

BAR & RESTAURANT FUND DEADLINE EXTENDED

The Lt. Governor also announced that the deadline to apply for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund has been extended to January 31.

There are approximately 15,400 on-premises liquor permits in the state eligible for assistance. Of that, roughly 10,854 or 70 percent have taken advantage of this funding opportunity as of today.

Governor DeWine designated $38.7 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and each active on-premises liquor permit is eligible for funding.  

While the program is referred to as the Bar & Restaurant Assistance Fund, more than just bars and restaurants have eligible permits. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, sports and concert venues, and even some hair salons are eligible for this funding.

Eligible businesses can visit businesshelp.ohio.gov to apply, which requires them to simply enter their liquor permit number and federal tax information.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION RATE CUT

The Lt. Governor also announced that Ohio’s public employers will pay $14.8 million less in premiums this year thanks to a rate reduction from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation that went into effect January 1.

The rate cut means approximately 3,700 counties, cities, public schools, and other public taxing districts will pay an average of 10 percent less on their annual premiums than in calendar year 2020. The reduction, made possible by declining injury trends and relatively low medical inflation costs, is the twelfth cut for public employers since 2009 and follows a 10 percent cut in 2020.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 735,003 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,247 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 39,650 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,022 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.

Become a Ross County Super Hero Volunteer

Presented by Hometown-Motors, Inc.

For those resolving to volunteer more in 2021, United Way Ross County has opportunities available.

To volunteer as an individual or as a team, visit The Ross County Volunteer Center.

The Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce urged members to become a “Ross County Super Hero” by volunteering through an email blast Tuesday morning.

The Chamber also announced their office has resumed normal business hours, open Monday through Thursday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-4pm.

Pickaway County has Changing of the Guard

Presented by McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!

The new year brought a change in the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert B. Radcliff, who served the County for 40 years, was elected to succeed his father Dwight as Pickaway County Sheriff in 2012. Many well wishers turned out to honor Radcliff for his service.

Matthew Hafey has begun his first term to serve as Pickaway County Sheriff.

The Sheriff’s Department also announced, after 28 years of service, the retirement of D.A.R.E. Officer, Sergeant Dale Thomas. He and his K9 Michael Blue retired December 31st, 2020. The two were paired together in 2017.

January Blood Drives in Ross County

Presented by Hometown-Motors, Inc.

Donors of all blood types are urged to give now to keep the blood supply stable. Blood donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, and the COVID-19 pandemic may further impact donations. Every donation can give a hospital patient something to be extra thankful for this year. The Red Cross is testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of this effort, plasma from standard blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.

January is National Blood Donor Month, the perfect time to resolve to be a regular blood donor and help save lives Donors of all blood types are urged to give now to help the Red Cross maintain the blood supply. Medical conditions and emergencies don’t stop for a pandemic, seasonal illnesses or winter weather. The Red Cross is testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of this effort, plasma from standard blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. There aren’t enough people donating blood to help patients in need. You can help by encouraging others to sign up to donate blood.

Donors who come to give January 1st-31st will automatically be entered for a chance to win an exciting 2022 Super Bowl LVI getaway in LA for them and a guest! The package will include two tickets to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, California, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience, round-trip airfare to Los Angeles, three-night hotel accommodations (Feb. 4th to Feb. 7th, 2022), plus a $500 gift card for expenses.

As an extra thank you from the Red Cross, donors who come to give  January 1st-20th, 2021, will also be automatically entered to win the Big Game at Home package so their household can enjoy an awesome viewing experience safely at home this year.** The package will include a 65-inch television and a $500 gift card to put toward food and fun. *Terms apply, visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl.

Below are the blood drives that are open to the public in January. Thursday January 7, 12pm-5pm – St. Mary’s Catholic Church – drive will be held at the South Central Ohio Chapter. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: StMarysFLC

Friday January 8, 15 & 29, 9:30am-3:30pm – South Central Ohio Chapter – Friedman Donor Room. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: SCOC

Tuesday January 19,  2pm-8pm – Adena Elementary School – Drive being held at Masonic Lodge located at 23 W. Springfield Street. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: AdenaES

Friday January 22, 11am-5pm – South Central Ohio Chapter – Friedman Donor Room. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: SCOC

Adena Welcomes First Baby of the New Year

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Pictured: Parents Charlie and Cassandra Dalton hold Rylan Dalton, 2021’s first baby born early Friday morning at Adena Regional Medical Center. (submitted photo)

CHILLICOTHE, OH (Jan. 2, 2021) – The birth of a baby has always been a symbol of new beginnings and fresh hope – and following what has been an unprecedented 2020, no year has probably been more in need of a positive start than 2021.

So when Cassandra and Charlie Dalton, Pike County natives who now live in Chillicothe, welcomed their new son, Rylan, as Adena Health System’s first baby of the New Year, it was a cause for excitement and optimism for the future.

“Hopefully he’s a good luck charm and makes this year better,” said Cassandra.

Rylan, at 9 pounds, 15 ounces and 22 inches long, entered the world at 3:41 a.m. New Year’s Day. He joins the couple’s four-year-old and five-year-old daughters in the family, who Cassandra said are more than ready to meet their new brother.

“They’re so excited and can’t wait for us to get home,” Cassandra said Friday evening.

Cassandra is looking forward to the return home as well and what the next few months have in store as they adjust to being a family of five.

“I’m looking forward to just spending time with my kids and my husband and seeing my babies grow up,” she said.

Per tradition, the New Year’s Baby was presented with a basket of baby items, clothes and other gifts, donated by the Adena Women’s Board.

Congratulations to the family.

Adena Health System vs the Challenges Presented in 2020

Presented by Hometown-Motors, Inc.

CHILLICOTHE, OH (Dec. 30, 2020) – The year 2020 has been unlike any other, with a global pandemic taking hold just a few months in, disrupting life as we knew it and leaving everyone adjusting and searching for what is considered the new normal. The year for Adena Health System was no different, but the physicians, advanced practice providers and caregivers across the nine-county region that Adena serves learned to adapt, innovate and strive in the face of ever-changing conditions brought on by coronavirus.

Across the country, the health care industry was pushed to its limits financially, balancing the care needs of those with the virus and those without while maintaining the physical and mental well-being of the health care heroes along the frontlines. Elective surgeries and procedures were even temporarily shut down at one point by the Governor to preserve valuable personal protective equipment and staffing resources.

Despite all these challenges and demands, Adena persevered. The Health System not only kept its promise to safely care for patients across south central and southern Ohio, but it also grew its presence in local communities, expanded its technology to meet the new needs of patients and built upon existing partnerships to bring more specialized care closer to home for patients and their families.

In late March of 2020, Litter Media’s Dan Ramey spoke with Adena President/CEO Jeff Graham and Chief Clinical Officer, Kirk Tucker, MD about Adena’s response in the early stages of the pandemic.

“This has definitely been an unprecedented year, one that none of us have seen in all our years in healthcare,” said Adena President & CEO Jeff Graham. “Adena’s mission is ‘called to serve our communities’ and I am so proud of the way our providers and caregivers have answered that calling. They not only have responded, but proactively met the challenges of this virus every day to safely provide care our region can trust. It is the strengths and talents of every person who calls themselves an Adena caregiver that we are in the position we are today. We can look towards 2021, not only with hope and promise, but with a foundation of clinical and operational excellence that will lead us for years to come.” 

Adena continued to enhance how it delivers care to patients throughout the region, achieving numerous industry accolades and announcing additional growth. These included:

·        Adena Regional Medical Center (ARMC), for a second consecutive year, being named one of America’s 250 Best Hospitals for 2020 by Healthgrades®;

·        The Health System being named a Gallup Exceptional Workplace. Now a five-time winner, Adena was one of just 38 organizations in the world to receive this distinction in 2020;    

·        ARMC’s Maternity Program being named to Newsweek’s 2020 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals;

·        ARMC being awarded an ‘A’ in the Spring 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade;

·        Adena Health Center – Woodlands and Adena Community Pharmacy – Woodlands opening to make care more accessible for Chillicothe’s downtown and east end residents;

·        Expanding care in Pickaway County, with the opening of Adena Urgent Care – Circleville;

·        Adena Family Medicine – Ironmen Clinic opening to the public to provide more localized care in Jackson County;

·        Adena and Nationwide Children’s Hospital expanding an ongoing partnership to now include 24/7 newborn and pediatric inpatient coverage and other expanded specialty services at ARMC;

·        Continuing construction of the new Adena Orthopedic and Spine Institute, scheduled to open on the campus of ARMC in summer 2021;

·        Adena Health System receiving positive news from several nationwide credit rating agencies with Moody’s Investors Service affirming the Health System’s A3 rating with a stable outlook and S&P Global assigning its A- rating with a stable outlook; and

·        The addition of 29 new physicians and advance practice providers across multiple service lines delivering even more options for comprehensive care.

“These, and so many other accomplishments over the past year, are keeping care accessible and close-to-home for our patients and families,” added Graham. “While COVID-19 created unique challenges for safe care delivery, I am so proud of our Health System’s response to this virus and many of the initiatives we have implemented as a result, such as telehealth services; curbside labs and testing; expanded specialty services and use of our critical access hospitals in Greenfield and Waverly. These moves, and more, will have lasting positive impacts beyond the pandemic as we continue to be a trusted healthcare partner for our region.”

As Ohio began its re-opening phase, Dr. Kirk Tucker participated in a Litter Media Special Report on “Moving Forward” during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Update: School Quarantine Guidance Change, Curfew Extension, Bar and Restaurant Grants Still Available

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

OHIO VACCINES

Ohio is expected to receive more than 238,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines next week. Governor DeWine encouraged those administering the vaccine to do so with urgency. 

“Although we’ll never know whose lives have been saved, we do know that these vaccines are saving lives,” said Governor DeWine. “We all have a moral responsibility to get the vaccine out to those who choose to receive it as quickly as we possibly can.”

Governor DeWine also encouraged citizens who wish to be vaccinated to act with urgency when offered the vaccine. Because the vaccine is currently scarce, Governor DeWine warned that those who decline to receive a vaccine at the first opportunity may not immediately receive another chance. 

SCHOOL QUARANTINE GUIDANCE CHANGE

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is changing its guidance regarding quarantines following an in-classroom exposure in K-12 schools. Moving forward, students and teachers exposed to a COVID-positive person in school are no longer required to quarantine as long as the exposure occurred in a classroom setting and all students/teachers were wearing masks and following other appropriate protocols.

The change follows an evaluation of virus spread in Ohio schools conducted by researchers with the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team. Preliminary results of the evaluation found no discernable difference in the risk of contracting the coronavirus between those in close contact with a COVID-positive person in the classroom and those who were farther away.  

“This evaluation confirms for us that Ohio’s classrooms are a safe place for our students and that the commitment our schools have made to keeping kids safe in the classroom is working,” said Governor DeWine.

Schools should continue to require quarantines for exposed students in situations where masking and distancing protocols were not followed. The updated quarantine guidance does not apply to after-school activities, including sports. 

CURFEW EXTENSION

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend Ohio’s 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until January 23, 2021. The extension is necessary until Ohio can determine if it will see a post-holiday case surge that impacts hospitals.

The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy.  Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery is permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10:00 p.m.

BAR & RESTAURANT GRANTS STILL AVAILABLE

More than 5,100 eligible on-premises liquor permit holders have not yet applied for state assistance through Ohio’s Bar & Restaurant Grant Program. Of the $38.7 million allotted to support liquor permit holders, more than $12 million remains unclaimed.

Each active on-premises liquor permit (as of 10.23.20) is eligible for $2,500 per location. The funding is not competitive, and the money does not have to be repaid. 

Although the program is referred to as the Bar & Restaurant Assistance Fund, more than just bars and restaurants have eligible liquor permits.  Movie theaters, bowling alleys, sports and concert venues, and even some hair salons are eligible for this funding.

Permit holders who have not yet claimed their funds should visit businesshelp.ohio.gov to apply. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 690,748 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 8,855 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 38,002 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,837 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.

2020 in Pictures

Presented by Hometown-Motors, Inc.

Our message was well intended on December 31, 2019. A lurking coronavirus had other plans for 2020.

As a look back over the year, much was captured by the Litter Media Cameras.

Here are some of the most memorable.

Click here to see more from our Litter Media Facebook Album.

A frosty start on a morning in Pike County before the pandemic began to shut down Ohio.
When schools were closed, Huntington Elementary Students received special “fence messages” from Principal Heidi Gray.
While Ohioans were learning to deal with State issued Stay At Home Orders, nature continued its course as Spring began to awaken in Yoctangee Park.
When the pandemic had Ohio working from home during the Stay At Home Order from the Ohio Department of Health, Litter Media’s Dan Ramey asked viewers to share phots of them working from home. This is a look at a Zoom Meeting from Huntington Local Schools. (Submitted photo)