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ASHLAND -- The Ashland County Health Department expects its COVID-19 fatality count will reach 15 by the end of this week, according to a press release the office issued on Monday afternoon.

So far 10 individuals from Ashland County have suffered deaths with COVID, but ACHD is awaiting five death certificates, which it expects will bring the county’s total to 15.

"As shared previously, a local health care facility has an outbreak of cases with many staff and residents testing positive for COVID-19," said Ashland County Health Department Commissioner Heather A. Reffett. "The recent four, possible five, deaths are all associated with this outbreak."

As of Oct. 19, Ashland County has a cumulative of 383 total positive cases since March. This represents an increase by 40 cases in the last nine days.

This is a reduction from recent weeks, leading Ashland County to being designated in Orange status by the state of Ohio.

In total, there are an estimated 338 individuals in Ashland County who can potentially pass the virus, the health department reported. Of these, 63 are active positive cases in isolation. The others are 275 individuals who have been exposed to the virus and are in quarantine.

Of the 63 active cases, 15 individuals are asymptomatic, 34 are experiencing mild symptoms, five have moderate symptoms and nine have severe symptoms.

“It is critical that residents recognize that even those who are asymptotic are able to pass the virus," Reffett said. "While some may experience mild or no symptoms at all, there is no guarantee that these individuals will not lead to the death of someone who will experience a severe reaction to the virus."

ACHD shares a reminder to all residents that if you are tested for COVID-19, you should isolate from all social and work situations until you receive your test results.

In this past week, ACHD identified a situation where an individual was tested on Oct. 10 by a local physician. The individual did not isolate after the test. By the time the positive test results were received on Oct. 11, the individual had exposed 11 friends and family members. These 11 individuals now must quarantine for a 14-day period and may experience illness at varying levels.

"A critical message is that we are entering flu season, residents should speak with their doctor about receiving a flu vaccine," Reffett said.

"CDC has encouraged Americans to be vaccinated by the end of October."

For those individuals without a medical home or for those who are uninsured, flu shots are offered by ACHD and appointments can be scheduled by calling 419-282–4357.

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