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County has several locations for short-term hospitals

Though the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington County did not rise Monday, planning and orders for additional supplies are already in place.

The first case in the county was reported over the weekend. The Marietta woman, in her 50s, is being monitored.

“Suspected cases aren’t reportable,” explained Crystal Earley, Southeast Regional Public Health Coordinator for 11 southeast Ohio counties. “The guidance seems to be changing daily on what’s reportable and quarantinable, but we haven’t hit bad numbers yet.”

That guidance, she said, comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health.

But if the area were to see spikes in cases of the virus, she said, there are measures already in place to meet the need of adding beds for quarantine and treatment.

“Each county health department has cots ready,” she said. “I have cots here (at the Washington County Health Department) and we’ve already received from the state cache two additional ventilators for every hospital in the state.”

She also noted a trailer positioned in the Mid-Ohio Valley ready to be deployed with a large medical blue tent for additional medical needs.

“It’s a huge tent with heating and cooling and cots,” she described. “I have it on a trailer and at my disposal if we should need it… We’ve already set up one for a testing site in Zanesville.”

If the other is required, say to house those presenting symptoms, the first location she’d look to position it would be at the Reno Business Park on Ohio 7 near the Ohio State Highway Patrol outpost.

“It can run similar to how we’ve run the drive-thru shot clinic there,” she explained.

Meanwhile, the Washington County Emergency Operations Center has not been fully marshaled, past order coordination for local hospitals, nursing homes and local emergency medical technicians for supplies.

“The plans for a pandemic or other health crisis are held at the health department level,” explained Rich Hayes, Washington County’s emergency management director. “We work with them and the hospitals as the requesting agency through the state.”

Hayes explained that masks, gloves and hospital gowns have all been requested for Washington County hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities and local EMS units.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks also weighed in on operations planning, noting that memorandums of understanding with local schools and the American Red Cross are in place if housing needs grow in the county.

“All of that first depends on the needs of the hospitals, though, and would be coordinated between the health department and the operations center,” he said.

In a press release Monday afternoon, the Marietta-Belpre Health Department noted that community spread locally means approximately 600 county residents may already have been exposed to COVID-19.

“It’s safe to assume there are roughly 600 local residents, (approximately) 136 people in Marietta, (approximately) 64 people in Belpre, and (approximately) 402 people elsewhere in Washington County with COVID-19, and they are unintentionally spreading it to others,” read the release.

Mincks also said one block of the county jail has been cleared and is ready for quarantine needs should the projected increase in cases hit the jail population or others arrested throughout the crisis.

Janelle Patterson can be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

By the numbers:

• 442 confirmed cases in Ohio by 2 p.m. Monday.

• The onset of illness between Feb. 7 and March 23.

• Age range: less than 1 year to 93 years old, median age 52.

• 104 hospitalized.

• Six deaths.

• 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties reporting community spread.

Source: Times research.

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