Fayette County Public Health Reports Major COVID Spike

Presented By Chillicothe VAMC

(Washington CH)- As of Thursday (1/13/22), Fayette County’s two-week average for COVID cases is 21 times higher than the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s benchmark for high community spread. That’s according to a press release Friday from Fayette County Public Health.

The CDC defines high community transmission as 100 cases per 100,000 people. This benchmark, noted Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, director of the Ohio Department of Health, “has been helpful in allowing us to see the extent to which the virus impacts our community at a particular point in time.” 

Fayette County is reporting 2177.0 cases per 100,000 people and a 25.9% test positivity rate. The statewide average is just under 2000 per 100,000 people.

“With more and more people using over-the-counter at-home COVID tests, it is safe to presume that the number of residents infected is actually higher than we are reporting. We are advising residents to assume that you have been exposed or you have a high potential to be exposed to COVID during this current surge,” said Leigh Cannon, MPH, deputy health commissioner at Fayette County Public Health “and we ask that you consider taking extra precautions at this time.”

Cannon asks that all residents, regardless of their usual routines around COVID, take this current surge to heart.

“We will continue to provide updates, and we cannot wait to share when we are on the other side of this,” Cannon said, “but for THIS moment in time – for the sake of our friends, family and neighbors who are immunocompromised or have underlying conditions, and for the sake of our overburdened healthcare systems and especially the healthcare workers, please, please consider taking extra precautions for the next few weeks.”

“I cannot emphasize enough that this is a time to limit unnecessary activities, correctly wear a well-fitting mask in public, and get vaccinated,” Cannon said.

“No one is untouchable,” Vanderhoff said when addressing Ohioans on Thursday. “Don’t underestimate this variant,” he said, referring to the Omicron variant that has been sweeping through Ohio, “fueling what is nothing short of a tidal wave.”

During the conference, Vanderhoff explained that Ohio is experiencing stress on hospital systems and unprecedented demands for testing. For hospitalizations, there is a widening gap between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. The most severe cases are still mostly among the unvaccinated, he said.

 During periods of high transmission, CDC recommends that everyone should wear a mask in public, indoor settings (including vaccinated individuals).

The following is recommended during this period of high transmission:

✅  Wear a well-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth wherever possible, particularly in public settings and when you are with individuals who are not household members.

✅ Get the COVID vaccine as well as a booster.

✅ Continue to practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet away from others.

✅ Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

✅ Stay home when sick, except to seek medical care.

✅ Consider limiting unnecessary indoor activities

If you are immunocompromised or have an immunocompromised individual in your household, please consider taking additional precautions by limiting unnecessary activities until community transmission decreases.

COVID Testing 
Fayette County Public Health is out of at-home test kits and does not provide COVID testing at the health department. The Ohio Department of Health announced this week that they will prioritize the state’s supply of COVID-19 tests to first support testing for K-12 schools and colleges/universities. This comes as the state is experiencing a delay in shipment of more than 800,000 testing kits amid a nationwide shortage in COVID-19 testing supplies.

Over-the-counter rapid testing kits can still be purchased at many locations, such as pharmacies and grocery stores. Testing is also available at many urgent care locations, community health centers, retail locations, and pop-up sites. The ODH website features a searchable map of testing locations at https://bit.ly/odhtest.

Each testing location has its own inventory controls and protocols. When you find a testing location, it’s important to call in advance to ensure tests are available and to determine how to access tests.

Testing is an important tool, but only one of the tools available to help protect against COVID-19. Ohioans are urged to follow proven prevention measures to help prevent further spread of the virus. The best thing that Ohioans can do is to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccinations, including timely boosters, combined with masking, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home when sick, can help prevent illness and the need for possible testing.

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available throughout the state. Many providers offer walk-in appointments, or Ohioans can schedule a vaccination appointment at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Ohioans who want to learn more about the safety, efficacy, and side effects of COVID-19 vaccines should talk to their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters provide protection against severe disease, hospitalizations and death. There is no cost for a COVID vaccine. Appointments and masks are required for all clinics. Please bring your COVID Vaccination Record if you have already received at least one dose and your health insurance card if you are getting a flu shot.

Vaccination Clinic Schedule Week of 1/17-1/21
January 17-  FCPH closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 18 All three COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, flu and high-dose flu from 3-7 p.m. at Fayette County fairgrounds. Schedule online at faycohd.org/events or by phone – 740-335-5910.
January 19 Johnson & Johnson 1st dose or booster, call 740-335-5910 to schedule.
January 21  Pfizer 1st or 2nd dose, booster, pediatric, call 740-335-5910 to schedule.

COVID-19 vaccinations
In Fayette County, 13,066 (46% of eligible population) have started a vaccination series.
Twelve thousand and forty-six have completed their vaccination series (42% of eligible population). There have been 5273 boosters or additional doses given.

COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations and Deaths
Fayette County Public Health received reports of 338 new COVID cases over the past week, for a total of 6212 cases since the pandemic began.

Nine new hospitalizations were reported for a total of 441 and five new deaths were reported over the past week for a total of 85. The number of residents who are presumed recovered is 5345.

For more information, visit faycohd.org.

Wade Bartholomew To Coach At Olentangy H.S.

Presented By Scioto Valley Dumpsters

Former Bloom Carroll football coach Wade Bartholomew has been hired as the new head coach for Olentangy High School. He fills a vacancy left by the retirement of Mark Solis, who led the Braves over 9 seasons with a record of (68-36).

Bartholomew recently resigned from the Bulldogs, where he had a record of (67-25) over 8 seasons, reaching the state semifinals in Division 4 in 2020 and 2021. His Bulldogs were also regional runner-up in 2019 and won four straight MSL Buckeye titles. He was the Division 4 Ohio Coach of the Year in 2020.

In a press release from Olentangy High School, Wade Bartholomew stated; “My family and I are extremely excited to join the Olentangy community and look forward to working with the student athletes and leading this strong and celebrated football program.”

Bartholomew also has coached at Logan Elm, Huntington and Gallia Academy.

Wade’s father, Scott, recently was hired as Chillicothe High School’s new football coach after being an assistant coach for Wade at Bloom Carroll.

RCCVB Accepting GAP Funding Applications

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

The Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau is accepting applications for its annual Grant Assistance Program (GAP).

The purpose of the program is to provide GAP funding to organizations, attractions, and events in the Chillicothe and Ross County area for promotion of an upcoming event or program. Through the GAP program, the Bureau can participate in the community by aiding eligible candidates and to provide an avenue for the organizers of events to promote their activity. Its goal of this program is to increase overnight stays in Ross County, promote a positive image, and increase visibility of Ross County’s attractions to generate awareness and additional tourism visitation.

The GAP program is open to both non-profit and profit organizations with the emphasis on increasing tourism. Funding may be used for marketing / advertising expenses, qualifying entertainment fees, and printing or distribution of brochures that reach beyond a 100-mile radius of Chillicothe and Ross County. Applications must be submitted by April 15, 2022 to be considered in this year’s program. Additionally, the Bureau has maintained the program’s budget and has allotted $20,000 to be awarded through the Grant Assistance Program.

GAP funding applications through the Bureau’s website or office. To download a copy of the application visit www.VisitChillicotheOhio.com and click on the “Resources” tab. Completed applications can be scanned and submitted via email to melody@visitchillicotheohio.com, mailed to or dropped off at the Bureau’s office located at 230 N. Plaza Blvd during regular business hours.

Thin Ice Warnings For Skaters

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

(Columbus) – As frigid winter temperatures settle in, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has a warning for all Ohioans: be aware of thin ice.  The potential hazards of walking on frozen lakes, ponds, and rivers can be extremely dangerous.
“The cold, snow, and ice adds an extra level of risk to outdoor recreation,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said.  “No matter how thick it may appear, stepping out on frozen water can lead to tragedy. People need to remember, there is no such thing as 100% safe ice.”
There are a lot of factors that affect the strength of ice besides thickness. Those include:

  • Thawing and refreezing can weaken ice.
  • Pockets of air can form under the ice on lakes where the water levels are raised and lowered by flood control.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.
  • Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often dangerous.

Water temperatures in lakes and streams remain cold. Cold water will cool a body 25 times faster than cold air of the same temperature. In just minutes, even the best swimmers may experience complete exhaustion and symptoms of hypothermia.

It is always a good idea to plan your outdoor pursuits and share your plan with a trusted friend or family member, especially if you are alone or planning to be on or near frozen water. Plans should include where you are going, what you will be doing, a timeline of your travels, and when you expect to arrive home.

If you see someone fall through the ice, it is important not to go on the ice after them.  Ice that breaks once will break again.  The best solution is to call for help. You can find out the steps you need to take to help yourself or someone else survive here.

Cold weather can be dangerous for people looking to enjoy the outdoors. ODNR has a list of steps you can take to stay safe on its website.