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From the desk of

Shawn E. Ray, MPH, RS

Health Commissioner

Today the Ohio Department of Health designated Noble County as being at “Public Emergency Level 3” and a “High Incidence” county for COVID-19. Also known as “RED” and defined as “Very high exposure and spread.” What triggered Ohio to change our status from the lower level 2?

Indicator 1 – New cases per capita today is 610.09 cases per 100k (this level is flagged when a county exceeds 50 cases per 100k).

Indicator 2 – New Cases Increase, flagged if increasing trend at least five consecutive days in overall cases over last three weeks.

Indicator 3 – Non-Congregate Cases is flagged if over 50%. The percentage of new cases that were not in the nursing home or prison for 12/2/20 to 12/8/20 is 90.91%.

Indicator 5 – Outpatient visits is flagged if an increasing trend of at least five days of people going to health care providers with COVID symptoms and are then diagnosed with COVID, over the last three weeks.

Indicator 7 – ICU Bed Occupancy is flagged if percentage of the occupied ICU beds in the region goes above 80% for at least three days in the last week AND more than 20% of ICU beds are being used for COVID-19 positive patients for at least three days in the last week.

To share some additional but more anecdotal information. This week most hospitals in our region are exceeding 95% of all available beds being filled and 60% of the beds are filled with COVID-19 positive patients. A week ago, they had filled to almost that level but only 30% of their patients were COVID-19 positive. A week or two prior to that, about 80% full and only 10% of them patients were COVID positive.  Most of these hospitals are beginning to cancel all elective surgeries, not allow any visitors in the hospital, and reassign administrative personnel into direct patient care. The biggest shortage they are experiencing is staff due to their own infections or being quarantined themselves.

On September 25, 2020, we reported noble County had 29 positive and/or probable COVID-19 cases. 23 of them had recovered and no one had died from the disease/

Today, December 10, 2020, we report Noble County has had 796 positive and/or probable COVID-19 cases and 593 have recovered. 170 are still active cases with seven of them in the hospitals. 33 people have died from COVID-19.

Does this surprise you? Does any of this concern you? Do you care about your family’s health?

As a result of a recent large gathering, 61% of those in attendance are now positive for COVID-19 and at least eight secondary infections are known. Many of them may not become seriously ill BUT as they continue to be inconvenienced with isolation, how many of their friends and loved ones will need to go to the ER, maybe become admitted to the hospital for a long time, or be sent home with oxygen and meds because they aren’t sick enough to qualify for a much needed hospital bed, or have long-term health effects we are just now figuring out; or become a death statistic.

We have shared with you for ten months how to prevent this virus. I do not need to say it again. We just have to live the new normal. Perhaps our greatest inconvenience is resisting the right thing to do.

So, I ask again; “Does this surprise you? Does any of this concern you? Do you care about your family’s health?” Further, “Are YOU a part of the solution or are YOU a part of the problem?”

p.s. I have been part of both. I ask God for the grace to be more part of the solution.


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