MOUNT VERNON — Some good news in regards to Knox County’s COVID-19 positive case results is that despite 109 positive cases reported to Knox Public Health this month alone, the county remained orange Thursday when the Ohio Public Health Advisory System map was updated.
The county has withstood a total of 148 cases total since the first case was confirmed March 20, with more than 80 having recovered so far. The county could have gone “red,” meaning very high community exposure and spread, but did not. That indicates that hospitalizations of patients testing positive has leveled off, Knox Public Health spokesperson Pam Palm said.
That is despite a recent outbreak at Country Court Nursing Center in Mount Vernon, with most cases reported to KPH July 22 and 23. The Country Court outbreak has resulted in 30 residents and eight staff testing positive at last count, Palm said — in addition to five hospitalizations of elderly patients at Knox Community Hospital.
Knox County now has a total of 10 positive cases hospitalized, Palm said, with seven at KCH and three at Columbus hospitals.
Messages were left at Country Court and KCH seeking comment on patient conditions and care. Most Country Court patients remain in isolation at the facility, which Palm said involves an isolation area by way of the protocol.
Of the nine newest cases reported to KPH, which were tested July 14 by the Ohio National Guard, all have seen their symptoms improve, with their isolation period having expired, Palm said Thursday. So they are considered to be recovered. Two of those recovered are Country Court employees.
“In addition to the outbreak at Country Court Skilled Nursing Center, the Ohio Department of Health’s online dashboard showed two positive employees at Ohio Eastern Star Home with results received on July 26,” Palm said. “Both of the employees are Knox County residents and are included in the total number of positive cases.”
“The dashboard also indicates two employees from Country Club Retirement Center whose results were received on July 26,” Palm also noted. “Neither of these employees reside in Knox County and are not included in the total number of cases for Knox County.”
Despite not rising to the higher red level on the county-by-county Public Health Advisory System, Palm said KPH Commissioner Julie Miller remains concerned that people are not wearing masks or social distancing as they should. One area of frequent complaint involves churches, which are covered by the mask mandate for indoor locations that are not residences.
“An individual who is an officiant of a religious service, such as the minister or pastor is exempt from the order, but everyone else in the church should be wearing a mask and practicing social distancing,” Miller said.