Miami and Darke cases surge, businesses to get ‘cease and desist’ orders

(U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

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(U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

Miami County health officials on Wednesday reported a 23% one-day increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, the county had 52 cases, but the number rose to 64 by Wednesday afternoon, Miami County Public Health reported in a news release.

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Of the cases, 44 are connected to two nursing homes, SpringMeade Health Center in Tipp City and Koester Pavilion in Troy. The remaining 20 cases are not related to the nursing home outbreaks.

The remaining 20 cases are mostly suspected to be the result of community spread, but officials continue to investigate and perform contact tracing to learn more.

The Miami County cases range in age from 16 to 93 years old, with 34 women and 30 men.

There are 41 Butler County test confirmed cases, four in Champaign, six in Clark, 22 in Darke, eight in Greene, 64 in Miami, 41 in Montgomery, one in Preble, and 23 in Warren, according to the latest update from Ohio Department of Health as well as some additional cases recently recorded by county officials.

Darke County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases had surged since Tuesday, when there were 13 confirmations.

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Many private labs are lagging in confirming cases and many more people have no symptoms or mild symptoms and are recovering at home, public health officials have said, making these confirmed cases only a small window into the total community spread.

There is a limited supply of the supplies needed to test for coronavirus, a limited amount of protective gear for people needed to collect the testing samples, and limited lab capacity compared to demand, with private laboratories backed up for days.

In addition, state leaders have indicated that Ohio hospitals could be speeding up the testing process by working more with each other or with the state’s public laboratory instead of with the major private laboratory businesses.

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Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday and Tuesday urged hospitals to send more tests to neighboring hospitals with capacity or to Ohio Department of Health’s laboratory, which is turning around test results faster than private labs. On Wednesday Dr. Amy Acton, who leads Ohio Department of Health, said she was turning that plea into an order that all hospitals without their own testing will need to send tests to other hospitals with capacity to test.

Given how contagious the respiratory disease is, combined with its almost invisibility since there’s limited testing, health officials have continued to emphasize that essential businesses need to keep work places clean and keep people safely separated.

People should keep six feet of space between each other when visiting any store. Shoppers are urged to be patient during this tense time. Consumers should limit and consolidate their trips, looking at whether a trip is necessary or could be made less frequently or at a non-rush hour. People should stay home if sick. Everyone should wash hands for 20 seconds before visiting any store and wash hands again when back home. Wear gloves and a mask where needed. Shop or pay online when possible.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County Commissioner Jeff Cooper said that while those are steps we can take as individuals, businesses have a responsibility here.

“It is your (the business) responsibility to enforce your requirements regarding individuals that come into your facility,” Cooper said.

The number of businesses that Public Health is looking at because they have received concerns from employees and the public has grown to about 360. There were 16 local workers who spanned out and visited all those work sites over the past two days.

Not all of those businesses will be found out of compliance. But Cooper said starting today they will be issuing immediate cease operations orders for businesses that are determined to be not essential.

“And we will be having law enforcement accompany us when we issue those orders to immediately cease operation,” Cooper said.

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