MOUNT VERNON — Since Friday, Knox Public Health has been notified of 12 new COVID-19 cases in the county, which can be considered a small “surge” bringing the total up to 52 positive cases as of Monday.
Nearly all the cases can be attributed to community spread, KPH Spokesperson Pam Palm said. All of them were also symptomatic at the time of testing.
And what’s more, since the cases were tested before the July 4 weekend — with six cases made known initially on Friday, followed shortly thereafter by another five and then one Monday — cases involving anyone who became symptomatic on the fourth have yet to see those results show up through testing. Many of the newest 12 cases were tested June 30 or July 1, at locations including Knox County Health Department and Knox Community Hospital.
Palm said the state’s lifting of stay-at-home orders and reopening of nearly all businesses, which started in early May, have been factors in the rising number of cases. Cases in Knox County had inched along before that point, she noted, with more than a month between the county’s first case reported March 20 and its 10th case, which was not reported until April 12. And wearing masks — or choosing not to wear them — is a factor as well.
Contact tracing is well underway regarding the newest cases and there was no one major “superspreader event,” like a massive party, Palm noted, which might otherwise have accounted for some of the spread.
“We’re not surprised at the increase due to most activities and locations being open to the public, plus the increase in private gatherings of people,” Palm said. “We have noticed more people wearing masks at retail locations, but that’s probably not the case at private gatherings or at outside locations.”
As for even more positive cases in clusters that could stem from the July 4 holiday weekend, “that’s a possibility because there are more get-togethers. I guess we’ll have to wait and see,” Palm said.
Five of the six cases reported to KPH Friday are considered community spread cases, with one being a healthcare worker from Knox County who works in Licking County. Four of the six involved females, with two males including a 14-year-old teen. Three cases were from Mount Vernon, two from Howard, with another from Gambier. All six involve home isolation.
The cases reported Saturday involved one 43-year-old woman and four males ages 40, 50, 74 and 77. Three were from Howard, one is from Fredericktown, and one is from Mount Vernon. One is hospitalized with four others isolated at home. The 52nd confirmed case reported Monday to KPH is a 69-year-old female in home isolation, and is also attributed to community spread.
“It’s summer,” Palm said. “People get outside more and let their guard down.”
Knox Public Health Commissioner Julie Miller has emphasized that she is not empowered to direct all Knox County residents wear to wear masks or facial coverings in public, despite less chance of community spread if all would. Individual municipalities, like the city of Columbus, have mandated masks to be worn in public.
Last week, the state issued a four-color Health Advisory Alert System, assigning one of four colors to each Ohio county, based on the level of COVID-19 exposure. Knox County, thus far, is coded yellow, the color for counties deemed to have the least amount of community spread. Four neighboring counties — Delaware, Holmes, Licking, and Richland — have a higher level of exposure to community spread than Knox, according to the state health advisory map.
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|Results||Age||Gender||Tested in||Details||Current Status|
|3/20||28||Female||Franklin||Works in Franklin County; Not Hospitalized||Recovered|
|3/23||71||Male||Knox||Traveled from Florida; Hospitalized at KCH||Recovered|
|3/29||38||Male||Licking||Works in Franklin County||Recovered|
|3/30||72||Female||Franklin||Hospitalized at KCH||Recovered|
|4/1||90||Male||Florida||Hospitalized in Florida||Deceased|
|4/5||72||Female||Knox||Exposed to a confirmed case in another county||Recovered|
|4/8||28||Male||Knox||Works in Marion County; Not hospitalized||Recovered|
|4/10||77||Female||Knox||No Known Exposure||Recovered|
|4/12||22||Female||Knox||Works in Knox and Franklin County||Recovered|
|4/15||54||Male||Knox||Works in Marion County||Recovered|
|4/19||37||Female||Knox||Works in Richland County||Recovered|
|4/21||39||Male||Knox||Exposure to another confirmed case||Recovered|
|4/22||54||Male||Knox||Works in Knox County||Recovered|
|4/23||45||Male||Knox||Healthcare worker in Marion County||Recovered|
|4/29||79||Female||Knox||Recently returned from Florida||Recovered|
|5/1||58||Male||Franklin||Works in Franklin County||Recovered|
|5/1||32||Male||Knox||Works in Franklin County||Recovered|
|5/3||30||Female||Knox||Works in Licking County||Recovered|
|5/6||56||Female||Knox||Healthcare worker in Mahoning and Knox County||Recovered|
|5/15||56||Female||Franklin||Healthcare worker in Franklin County||Recovered|
|5/17||2||Male||Franklin||Tested at Children’s Hospital; Exposed to positive case||Recovered|
|5/18||53||Male||Knox||Works in Marion County||Recovered|
|5/28||29||Female||Knox||Exposed to a positive case||Recovered|
|5/29||63||Male||Knox||Works in Union County||Recovered|
|6/6||65||Female||Knox||Tested at KPH drive-thru||Recovered|
|6/7||75||Male||Knox||Tested at KPH drive-thru||Recovered|
|6/8||31||Male||Delaware||Healthcare worker in Franklin County||Recovered|
|6/9||72||Male||Richland||Tested prior to medical procedure||Recovered|
|6/10||74||Male||Knox||No Known Exposure; Community Spread||Recovered|
|6/10||56||Male||Knox||Healthcare worker; No Known Exposure||Recovered|
|6/11||31||Male||Knox||Works in Licking County||Recovered|
|6/14||44||Female||Knox||Healthcare worker; Works in Ashland County.||Recovered|
|6/20||62||Female||Cleveland Clinic||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Recovered|
|6/24||22||Female||Centerburg KPH Drive Thru||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Recovered|
|6/24||34||Female||Centerburg KPH Drive Thru||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Recovered|
|6/26||50||Female||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|6/26||28||Male||Delaware||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Recovered|
|6/30||68||Male||Knox||Exposed to a positive case.||Home Isolation|
|7/2||38||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/3||47||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/3||66||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/3||76||Female||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/3||34||Female||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/3||14||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/3||31||Female||Knox||Healthcare worker in Licking County||Home Isolation|
|7/4||40||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/4||74||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/4||43||Female||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/4||77||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/4||50||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
|7/6||69||Male||Knox||Exposure contributed to community spread.||Home Isolation|
SOURCE: Knox Public Health July 6, 2020 @ 4:19 p.m.