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COVID-19 cases continue to rise in county

At their meeting on Tuesday, the Lawrence County Commissioners discussed the COVID-19 situation with Lawrence County Health Department director Georgia Dillon.

On Nov. 22, the number of positive COVID-19 cases went over 2,000. It took from March 25 to Oct. 24 to hit 1,000. From Oct. 24, it took 29 days to reach 2,023. There have been 40 people die of COVID-19 and the health department has done 8,641 COVID-19 tests.

Dillon said the cause continues to be community spread, which is that someone gets infected with a disease but don’t know where they got it or who they got it from.

“The problem is that it goes straight through families,” she said.

Dillon said there are some positive things to report including that in a call with Gov. Mike DeWine, he announced that vaccines will be available for Lawrence County nursing homes and first responders.

“And we are excited about that, it will be the beginning of our vaccine campaign,” she said. “He will give further guidance on how to delineate it, it may be people over 65 in that population. But that is good news, it says that this may be over soon.

“We know that a lot of people will not take this vaccine, so that could just mean more for other people, I guess. But that is going to be their choice, but at least this is something we can do.”

Dillon said that area hospitals are still at capacity and that King’s Daughters Medical Center is going to open a 68-bed unit to help with the situation.

Dillon said the health department continues to work with the schools, but the spread of COVID-19 is not coming from the schools.

“We know it isn’t the schools, it is really not. It is activities of families afterwards,” Dillon said. “The transmission at the schools is very minimal. We hope to continue to have the schools open so the students can be in-person. Some students really, really need that.”

She said the health department continues to put in long hours to do contact tracing of those who have come into contact with people who have COVID-19 and to get people with positive cases to stay home.

In other items on the agenda, the commissioners approved a donation of $2,500 to the Coal Grove Lions Club and $5,000 to the Lawrence County Museum.