By Melody Vallieu
Miami Valley Sunday News
MIAMI COUNTY — The number of COVID-19 cases reported on Friday saw a spike of 31 cases in Miami County due to expanded testing.
There are now 176 total cases in the county with 27 deaths recorded. Hospitalizations remain at 49 cases.
Miami County Public Health (MCPH) officials said on Friday that as guidance continues to evolve during the COVID-19 pandemic, long term care facilities are now encouraged to test all residents and staff for the coronavirus. Until now, the testing capacity had been limited.
“Until now, residents and staff at Koester Pavilion and SpringMeade Health Center, with no COVID-19 symptoms, have been at a lower priority for testing based on previous guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health. Those guideline recently changed to now include testing for all staff and residents,” Miami County Public Health officials said.
Earlier this week, testing began on all residents and staff at Koester Pavilion and SpringMeade. This additional testing will help identify previously existing cases. The increased testing will result in an increase in positive COVID-19 cases for Miami County, according to MCPH officials.
“As increased testing is conducted, an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases is expected. With the reopening process, there will be more people interacting and that is why the safety precautions and recommended guidelines are so important,” said Miami County Public Health Educator and Safe Communities Coordinator Vicky Knisley-Henry. “We do not want to see a spike in cases due to people believing its OK to stop following safety precautions because businesses have begun to reopen. By following the guidance and precautions, we can continue to slow the spread of the virus. Community members need to be cautious and protect themselves and others as we move forward.”
Hospital networks said the return of some services has allowed the hospitals to return some furloughed staff back to work.
“Some displaced employees are returning to their regular positions as we have begun expansion of access to services consistent with phase 1 of the state of Ohio’s reopening with restrictions plan. We continue to manage and align our workforce with our census and volumes at the facilities we support. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an atmosphere in which we must responsibly flex our staff based upon workload. We have offered many of our employees the opportunity to take both paid and unpaid time off for short periods of time as we have finalized preparations for the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients,” Premier Health officials said.
In some targeted areas, Premier Health officials said they have temporarily released or furloughed some employees, such as non-essential or non-clinical employees and partners who are not providing direct patient care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the rapid pace of change that is occurring, we may recall employees quickly as business needs warrant. Benefits continue uninterrupted for these valued members of our team. In addition, our senior leaders have been doing their part to control costs by taking a temporary cut in pay,” Premier Health officials said.
According to Kettering Health Network Chief Clinical Officer Brenda Kuhn, KHN is in the process of bringing employees back to work as patient volumes return and hospital services are restored.
“With the decision to resume elective surgeries not requiring an overnight stay, we have been able to bring our operating room teams back from furlough, as well as employees from other departments who support this specialty,” Kuhn said. “We are anticipating that as patient volumes return to the hospital, we will continue this trend.”
In Ohio, there are 23,016 total coronavirus cases and 1,306 total deaths.
There have been 4,218 hospital admissions with 1,188 intensive care admissions.
Ages range from under the age of 1 to 106 years old with a median age of 51. There are 55 percent males affected by the virus and 45 percent females.
For more information, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call (833) 427-5634.