By SCOTT COTTOS
TIFFIN — With Seneca County experiencing its first death of a person who had contracted the coronavirus, Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer reiterated the importance of limiting contact between people.
“Just stay at home,” she said Monday morning after the Seneca County General Health District’s announcement of the death of an 85-year-old hospitalized woman. “We really need people to abide by that. That’s how we’re going to stop the virus from moving and contacting more people.”
The woman was one of three Seneca County residents determined to have been infected with the virus. Schweitzer said a previous case of the coronavirus that had been attributed to Seneca County was now being counted as being in a different county because of the home address of the person affected.
“On behalf of the entire county, we express our deepest sympathies for the family and friends of the patient who died,” Schweitzer said. “We also extend our sympathies to the other Ohioans battling this illness and the families of everyone affected by this pandemic.”
The case was originally reported to the health department by an area hospital when it was first identified.
A news release from the health department said no identifiable information of the patient would be released for privacy reasons.
Schweitzer said, however, that a detailed history would be compiled in an effort to find out where she may have gotten the virus.
“My nurses are actually in the process right now of doing the contact tracing and talking to her family about when symptoms began and finding all that out,” Schweitzer said Monday morning. “That takes a little while. It’s a pretty extensive questionnaire and it takes a while to get that filled out. We don’t have the data on that right now.”
The information acquired could help limit the spread of the highly contagious virus.
“If we know that there’s someplace people have been, a common place, then we know there may be some issues at that place,” Schweitzer said. “Also, we need to ask close-contact (persons) to self-quarantine for 14 days to make sure that they don’t develop symptoms and they aren’t out spreading it around.”
Schweitzer said not only is it critical to follow Gov. Mike DeWine’s and state Health Director Amy Acton’s orders to remain at home in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, but businesses that are not essential should close and those determined to be essential need to protect their employees while they’re at work.
The county health district said it is important to continue to follow standard precautions to prevent the spread of any virus:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
Ohioans can also call the ODH COVID-19 hotline with any questions or visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The call center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).