ASHLAND -- The Ashland County Health Department (ACHD) is warning the public of a COVID-19 outbreak that is affecting the Amish community in the Loudonville area.
According to a press release issued Tuesday, there are currently six confirmed cases -- five who are Ashland residents -- affiliated with this outbreak, with several tests pending. Additionally, 69 individuals are in quarantine, and any number of unreported illnesses is unknown.
An outbreak is declared when at least two or more individuals have tested positive for an infectious disease.
“Please, continue to treat our Amish neighbors with kindness and support, while taking steps to limit your exposure to this outbreak,” said Heather Reffett, ACHD’s Health Commissioner.
An employee at a local assisted living facility is one of the positive cases from this outbreak. ACHD public health nurses are working closely with the assisted living facility staff to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the health department, the Ashland County index patient -- the origin of this outbreak –- attended a wedding and was exposed to a family member who was ill at the end of May. Several days later, those sitting next to the index patient attended a church service and developed COVID-19 symptoms on Monday. After that, another wedding was held where more individuals were exposed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to extend to 14 days, with a median time of four to five days from exposure to symptoms onset.
“The health department is actively working to ensure that everyone who needs to be tested is tested and that those who need medical treatment have access to health care," Reffett said. "The most effective measures that we have to prevent the spread of the virus is individual behavior as well as enforcement of isolation and quarantine orders. It is critical that those who have been exposed remove themselves from the general population.”
To contain the spread of COVID-19, individuals are urged to avoid large gatherings and ensure to stay home when ill, practice social distancing, wear a face covering when out in public, wash hands frequently, and disinfect surfaces often.
The current outbreak might have been avoided if these basic safety precautions had been followed, the release said. It went on to say, it important for our community members that work in health care and first response activities ensure to take extra precaution if they believe that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and/or have symptoms.
COVID-19 symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, diarrhea, vomiting, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. To minimize the risk of infecting healthcare workers, individuals should call ahead before seeking medical care to discuss symptoms.
Ashland currently has 31 positive cases. Of these, 24 individuals have recovered and seven are recovering.
In addition to the 69 individuals being monitored as part of the outbreak, ACHD is also working with another 72 individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19.
Additional information about COVID-19 is available at the ODH website, www.coronavirus.ohio.gov. ODH also staffs a Call Center 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. The number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
The following is a history of the number of confirmed laboratory cases of COVID-19 in Ashland, Ohio:
- Case number 1 was reported on March 18.
- Case number 2 was reported on March 27.
- Case number 3 was reported on April 2.
- Case number 4 was reported on April 9.
- Case number 5 was reported on April 10.
- Case number 6 was reported on April 26.
- Case number 7 was reported on April 27.
- Case number 8 was reported on April 30.
- Case number 9 was reported on May 1.
- Case number 10 was reported on May, 4.
- Case number 11 and 12 were reported on May 6.
- Case number 13 and 14 were reported on May 7.
- Case numbers 15, 16 and 17 were reported on May 11.
- Case numbers 18 and 19 were reported May 20.
- Case numbers 20, 21 and 22 were reported May 27.
- Case numbers 23 through 27 were reported June 12.