County marks two years since the first case of COVID-19 | News, sports, jobs
County marks two years since the first case of COVID-19 |  News, sports, jobs

County marks two years since the first case of COVID-19 | News, sports, jobs

LISBON – Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of the first known case of COVID-19 being found in Columbiana County.

Currently, only 22 cases were found in a week from Wednesday, which is a return to a lower number as the county has dropped from the Omicron variant.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 24,322 cases in Columbiana County, which has a population of just over 100,000. It is not known how many of these cases are recurrent cases for the same patient.

Since the county’s first death on March 26, 2020, 476 residents of the county have sadly died after testing positive for COVID-19. In addition to the number, many people have lost loved ones due to a virus that few thought or knew about before 2020. The state of Ohio also lists 1,060 people hospitalized in Columbiana County due to COVID-19 due to the virus.

This time last year, nearly half of the county’s residents received or waited for their age group to be called for vaccines that were hoped to stop or at least stem the COVID-19 tide. The Columbiana County Vaccine Complex built in 2020 at the county fairgrounds began providing vaccines on January 22, 2021.

To date, 48.9 percent of Columbiana County residents have received at least one dose of one of the three vaccines that have been rapidly developed in response to the pandemic. Of these, 45.2 percent received a second dose. The county has had nearly 23,000 receive an extra dose. Vaccines are still available, and from the end of February, the Center for Disease Control began encouraging some immunocompromised individuals to receive a fourth dose.

From the early days of shutdown to flatten the curve, a chart over the past two years resembles the hilly road it has been with three distinct bumps, then showing the increase in numbers from Delta, followed by Omicron.

The Columbiana County Commissioners declared a state of emergency on March 25, 2020, and by the end of that year, December 12, 2020, the county had seen 5,000 cases. By January 8, 2022, the county had 20,000 cases.

But as of Wednesday, the mask mandate for those working in the local health department was officially lifted, unless the employee in question works directly with a patient.

While no one absolutely knows what’s next, a break in cases and a two-year anniversary is a good point to look at what we’ve learned and where to go from here.

“Through this pandemic, it has become clear how strong the sense of community is in Columbiana County,” said Laura Fauss, public information officer at the Columbiana County Health Department. “Residents, businesses and local partners have worked together with great determination as we faced these unprecedented challenges together over the past two years. In a time of darkness, this was a light that shone brightly and we should be proud. “

County Health Commissioner Wes Vins points out that their employees and their partners have learned a lot about working together and that they are able to make these quick transitions from their current roles in the organization, without leaving the most important work they do either.

Since 2002, when emphasis was placed on having a contingency plan for public health, the health department and county offices have made plans in case of emergencies.

“Our staff was able to make these movements smoothly,” said Vins. “This management team was able to go from normal to an increased crisis response and back to normal. We have done that up and down the department, and we appreciate the work of all our community partners.”

At this point, Fauss said they want to encourage residents to take care of the healthy habits they may have let go over the past two years. The county is lagging behind in the number of vaccines given against other infections. People may not have gone to the cancer screening or regular appointments.

“Public health is our focus every day,” Fauss said, “but to succeed in maintaining a healthy community, everyone must be committed because we are all in this together.”

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