Health commissioner: Conserve PPE

Staff and wire report

Editor’s note: The local COVID-19 case count is 16 as of Wednesday afternoon, according to numbers from the Champaign Health District. There has been 1 local death.

Champaign County Health Commissioner Gabe Jones led a community call on Wednesday to update organizations within the county about COVID-19 testing. He began by welcoming listeners to what is now the third month of the coronavirus response.

“The important message for the week is conservation,” Jones said. “Do everything you can to conserve personal protective equipment. I’m sure that we are more than complying with the new order that’s come out from the state. PPE is going to continue to be essential going into the near future, so continue to conserve that as much as you can.”

He continued, saying the governor is expected to offer guidance on opening bars and restaurants by the end of the week, and that beauty parlors will also be announced soon. He also said that there were work groups for every facet of businesses that are currently non-operational, and that they were working diligently to come up with a plan for reopening for each sector.

The virtual Emergency Operations Center continues to operate, but as of two weeks ago has scaled down to once a week meetings. Jones said he anticipates scaling down operations even more as they get more information.

Director of Nursing Stacey Thomas confirmed that the county is currently facing 15 cases of COVID-19 with one probable case. She also said she expects the probable case number to start going up shortly, as antibody testing has made an appearance in the area.

“We also have been notified by the Ohio Department of Health that some of the companies that are marketing antibody testing are marketing them to local businesses as a way to ensure that your employees have already been exposed,” she said. “Ohio Department of Health wants to make sure that you understand that most of these companies are not FDA approved, and the reliability and meaning behind each test isn’t proven yet, so to be wary of that and know that that might give you a false sense of confidence in your employees’ status.”

Social media coordinator Shelby Ballentine said that the Health District call center was still open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone with questions may direct them to 937-653-0110, or e-mail

State data

The Ohio Department of Health on Wednesday afternoon reported 495 COVID-19 cases, 79 deaths 147 hospitalizations and 33 ICU admissions in the most recent 24-hour span. According to the ODH weekly report on long-term care facilities, Champaign County had zero COVID-19 cases.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration did not host a briefing on Wednesday. The state continues its planning for reopening parts of the economy in measured steps.

Staff and wire report