By Melody Vallieu
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — The Piqua City Health Department has reported the first confirmed COVID-19 case within the city of Piqua health jurisdiction.
The individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in Piqua is a 38-year-old female staff member of Koester Pavilion, according to Piqua Health and Sanitation Director Amy Welker. The test came back confirmed positive on Thursday.
With the Piqua case, there are now 24 confirmed cases in Miami County. There have been four deaths, two of those were COVID-19 positive and two are waiting test results to confirm. Twenty-three of the cases are related to the nursing home outbreak and one is a person with a history of traveling outside the U.S.
The Piqua Health Department is working closely with Miami County Public Health in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Contact tracing has been completed and the patient is isolated at home, Welker said.
“The response efforts from Miami County Public Health to the outbreak at Koester Pavilion have been tremendous. We appreciate their partnership in dealing with this situation,” Welker said in a Thursday press release.
Welker said more cases are expected to arise in Piqua.
“We do expect to see more local cases as this outbreak evolves, and are working diligently to respond to the situation and protect the health and safety of our community,” Welker said.
Welker said staff will be tallying positive cases and reporting them on the city’s website at piquaoh.org.
Miami County Public Health officials on Thursday said there are no new positive cases in the county to report. Officials said as pending tests for Koester Pavilion and SpringMeade residents and staff come back, MCPH will report new cases when available.
“In the coming days and weeks, there will be an increase in positive COVID-19 cases associated with community spread. This is expected and not a cause for alarm. This will be from the continued testing that is done for those with COVID-19 symptoms,” officials said. “Miami County Public Health wants to remind community members that if you have COVID-19 symptoms, call your health care provider first. If your symptoms are mild, stay at home and treat yourself. If symptoms become severe, seek medical attention.
“It is important that everyone follow the Stay-At-Home order. By staying at home and practicing social distancing, we can help flatten the curve for Ohio and lessen the burden on the healthcare system,” MCPH officials said in their daily report.
According to MCPH officials, they are not administering the COVID-19 tests. The Piqua Health Department also does not adminster tests. Physicians, hospitals and long-term care facilities are administering the tests and send them out to various labs. If a test comes back from a lab with a positive for COVID-19, the Ohio Department of Health is notified, and the ODH then notifies Miami County Public Health staff.
“Miami County Public Health only gets positive results for Miami County residents,” said Miami County Public Health Health Educator and Safe Communities Coordinator Vicky Knisley-Henry said. “ODH gets significantly more information than we do, and we don’t have access to it.”
Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton said on Thursday “a set of guidance” has been established to help Koester Pavilion and SpringMeade Health Center work through how to best handle the outbreak.
“We know our most vulnerable are in nursing homes, long-term care. It’s a very difficult situation, and I just want to again say to the employees that are working to keep the residents safe, you are definitely our heroes,” Acton said.
As of Governor Mike DeWine’s press conference on Thursday, there are now 867 cases of COVID-19 cases in Ohio and 15 deaths.
The age range of victims is 1 to 94 and the median age is 51, according to Acton.
There are cases documented in 60 of the 88 counties, and 17,316 people have been tested in Ohio. There are 223 people hospitalized, 11 percent of those are in ICU, Acton said.