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ASHLAND -- The Ashland County Health Department (ACHD) offered an update Tuesday afternoon on the region's local data in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Sept. 15, the health department said the COVID-19 local data for Ashland County includes 207 positive cases. Of these cases, 23 are active, 179 are recovered and there have been 5 deaths.

"There is one hospitalization of an Ashland County resident in our local hospital," the press release stated. "The individual that is hospitalized is positive for COVID-19 but is not hospitalized because of the virus but due to other health issues along with the virus."

The health department is currently monitoring 122 individuals due to their exposure to the virus. For the active cases, 4 individuals are asymptomatic, 18 are experiencing mild symptoms and 1 has moderate symptoms. 

An active case, for the purpose of reporting in Ashland County, is defined as an individual with a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 that remains in an isolation status. Typically, isolation lasts for 10 days starting from the date that the individual received a positive test result or was diagnosed by a physician. Isolation may be extended by the health department if the individual continues to be sick and experiencing symptoms.

The number of people in ‘active’ status changes daily as the isolation period ends for people who recover from COVID-19 and begins for those who are newly diagnosed.

“In my professional opinion, the critical data points to monitor the severity of COVID-19 within our community are: A) the weekly rise in cases; B) the total number of current active cases; C) the number of monitored individuals; and D) the number of current outbreaks and whether or not the outbreak has been contained,” shared Heather Reffett, Health Commissioner for Ashland County. “Unfortunately, in the past few days, our county has seen an increase in each of these data points.”

While the last few weeks of August provided very low numbers, the beginning of September has seen increases.

"So far in September, we have experienced four local outbreaks of COVID-19 within our community," the press release stated. "Three of these outbreaks have been contained and two are still being investigated by health officials."

In order to reverse this upward trend, the Ashland County Health Department asks that each individual do their part to reduce the spread of the virus.

"It is particularly important that we protect our community members who are immune compromised or may have existing health conditions that could lend to them experiencing severe consequences if they were exposed to COVID-19," the health department said in the press release. "Wearing a facial covering is a meaningful way to show your concern for others and to provide some layer of protection for yourself."

It is also very important that if you are not feeling well, for any reason, that you recover at home and away from others. If you are well and are moving about, please practice social distancing and avoid large groups. If you are planning a public event and/or social gathering, please reach out to the health department for support with incorporating safety measures to keep your attendees safe.

“The Ashland County Health Department has worked closely with our local Fair Board and believe that they have taken great care to protect all participants and attendees,” stated Sheila Pryor, the public health emergency manage for Ashland County Health Department. “For those planning to be in attendance, please do practice good citizenship and take safety precautions necessary to keep everyone protected and enable our community to still have a successful event.”

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