Coronavirus: Numbers in Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Warren counties ‘worrisome,’ DeWine says

Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio is generally on a downward trend for coronavirus cases, with the exception of southwest Ohio -- including Montgomery, Greene, Clark and Warren counties.

“The trend lines we are seeing in these counties are worrisome,” he said.

The governor said with the outbreaks, the state is utilizing two tools: informing people of hot spot ZIP codes and surging testing in those ZIP codes.

The top three ZIP codes for coronavirus cases in Montgomery County include parts of Riverside, Huber Heights and Trotwood.

Greene County also is seeing a significant spike in cases in Xenia and Fairborn.

In Clark County, the Dole Fresh Vegetables Co. plant in Springfield and an outbreak at a nursing home are a part of the spike in that county. Ninety-five percent of the cases at Dole involve people that live in Clark County, DeWine said.

“We are going to see hot spots,” he said. “None of this should come as a surprise.”

DeWine said the state is taking action in southwest Ohio, which includes:

  • National Guard will assist with testing at different sites, working with area hospitals.
  • DeWine is asking people living in the hot spot ZIP codes to get tested for coronavirus
  • Hot spot ZIP codes will have pop-up testing sites announced for those areas in the coming days.
  • Hot spot ZIP codes in Montgomery County: 45424, 45417, 45426
  • Hot spot ZIP codes in Greene County: 45324, 45385
  • Hot spot ZIP codes in Clark County: 45505, 45506, 45503
  • Hot spot ZIP codes in Warren County: 45036, 45040

Pop-up testing sites will open at Greene County Health Center, 360 Wilson Drive, Xenia on June 24 and at the Samaritan Health Center, 921 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd., Dayton on June 25.

DeWine said the actions he is taking today will be the same actions that will be taken in other counties if hot spots develop.

Other announcements from the news briefing:

  • Contact practice and scrimmages for all sports can resume June 22. This is the second phase of resuming athletic competitions. Football, lacrosse and other contact sports can resume scrimmages and full training regiments as long as safety protocols are observed. Local sports organizers and school leaders will decide when to proceed into the second phase for their individual groups.
  • There is an increase in the percentage of children testing positive for COVID-19 at Rainbow Babies in Cleveland, said Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease doctor and associate medical director for infection control at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. “What we’ve really been seeing recently is an increase of the percent of tests that are coming back positive, particularly in symptomatic children - meaning that for kids who have symptoms of a respiratory viral disease, a larger percent of them are coronavirus than earlier in the pandemic,” Dr. Edwards said. “It’s to be expected as the state opens that we’re going to start to see more positive kids, but that rate has been going up, and it is something we’re keeping our eye on. It hasn’t gone up dramatically, about 5 - 6 percent or so, but it has been a steady increase, and it has not stopped increasing as of yet.”
  • DeWine announced the creation of a new Hospital PPE Readiness Stockpile, which will be compiled and stored by Ohio hospitals throughout the state. Items in the PPE stockpile will be distributed to residents and staff at long-term care facilities should there be an increase in COVID-19 cases. Hospitals have begun to build a 30-day reserve of PPE based on several calculations, including the state’s surge models, number of residents and staff at Ohio nursing homes, as well as recent FEMA PPE allocations to each Ohio nursing home. Each hospital will have a different amount of stockpile calculated specifically for the region.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said that because most of Ohio’s economy is now open, the coronavirus.ohio.gov/JobSearch website will transition back to Ohio’s regular job search website, OhioMeansJobs.com. OhioMeansJobs.com currently has more than 120,000 job postings, with almost half paying more than $50,000. Approximately 76,000 jobs require less than a bachelor’s degree, while 36,000 require either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Approximately 77 percent of the job openings are considered in-demand.

Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County provided an update on the county’s response to the pandemic and “the recent rise in cases linked to increased testing and businesses reopening.” Here are the highlights:

  • Disparity in testing outcomes: While the increase in the number of Montgomery County cases was not unanticipated, Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper said, the disparity in outcomes is worrisome. Since May 12 in Montgomery County (the last time Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County held a news briefing about the pandemic), there has been one case for every 556 residents. That breaks down to one case for every 347 black residents and one case for every 886 white residents. “Clearly, we have a disparity in testing outcomes for races,” Cooper said.
  • Montgomery County cases: On May 12, there were 433 Montgomery County cases and 1,118 as of Thursday, Cooper said. That represents a 150% increase in Montgomery County cases, 200 of which are linked to an official outbreak.
  • Outbreaks charted: Since April 13, the health department has confirmed outbreaks (or clusters) representing 173 cases at 13 locations in Montgomery County including Community Blood Center, Hospice of Dayton, Energizer Global Auto Care, Chewy Fulfillment Center in Vandalia, Friendship Village retirement community in Trotwood, Fuyao Glass America in Moraine, Dryden Road Pentecostal Church, Crocs Distribution Center, Franklin Iron and Metal, St. Leonard CHI Living Communities, Respiratory and Nursing Center of Dayton, Sugar Creek Brandworthy Food Solutions and the Montgomery County Jail. “It’s not just about those locations,” Cooper said, it’s about the health department doing the necessary things to help businesses and people remain healthy in the COVID-19 environment. Outbreaks “could easily happen at a restaurant, or a big box store or any other location,” he said.
  • Wear your face mask: The wearing of face masks was strongly emphasized as a way to cut down on spreading the virus. Cooper, Mayor Nan Whaley, Warren County Health District Commissioner Duane Stansbury, Deputy Health Commissioner Noah Stuby with Greene County Public Health and Sarah Hackenbracht, president/CEO, Greater Dayton Hospital Association all pushed the wearing of face masks in public. “It’s been over 100 days that we’ve been asking people not to go places,” Whaley said. “You need to ask yourself: Is it worth me getting COVID to be at that event?”
  • Get tested: Each of the public health officials as well as Whaley and Hackenbracht also urged people to get tested as the number of sites in the region will continue to on the increase.

Things you should know about the pandemic today, Thursday:

  • An online petition against wearing masks at Kings Island has garnered more than 9,000 signatures.
  • The Dole Plant in Springfield is a hot spot, Gov. Mike DeWine said, following the report that 100 employees have tested positive for coronavirus after 825 tests were administered at the plant last Saturday. DeWine said the state is working with Clark County officials to contain the spread there.
  • University of Cincinnati Health has been chosen to provide clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
  • REOPEN Downtown Dayton grant money totaling more than $719,000 has been invested in 119 downtown’s small businesses, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Dayton Partnership said. The grant program issued individual awards of $1,000 to $10,000 as a form of gap funding.
  • The College of Wooster plans to return to in-person classes Aug. 19. Plans include COVID-19 testing for all members of campus, social distancing rules, the universal wearing of face masks and more to adhere to the state’s guidelines on how to stop the spread of the virus.
  • Friday openings: Casinos, racinos, amusement parks and water parks will be permitted to reopen, provided they follow the guidelines on social distancing, crowd control as well as the other state-mandated requirements to stop the spread of the virus. Officials at Miami Valley Gaming are preparing for this week’s resumption of business.
  • Pop-up testing: The ramp-up to expand testing throughout the state has begun. Here’s the map with locations.

LATEST STATE DATA: As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 43,122 confirmed or probable cases in the state, 2,633 deaths, and 7,104 hospitalizations, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Ohio has an estimated population of approximately 11.7 million, census records show.

Of the state’s positive cases, 12% are from Ohio’s prisons. At those prisons, there has been an increase in testing.

[ Local cases, deaths reported to Ohio Department of Health ]

There have been 596,875 people tested for coronavirus in Ohio.

In the state, 6,255 cases are health care workers, which is 15 percent of the cases.

What else you should to know today: