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Lawrence County sees rise in COVID-19

Virus being spread at community events

In their meeting on Tuesday, the Lawrence County Commissioners went through their items on the agenda in about two minutes since all that was on it was approving the minutes of the Oct. 6 meeting and approving appropriations and transfer of funds.

The commissioners then got a report from Lawrence County Health Department director Georgia Dillon on the county’s current COVID-19 situation.

She said they have been very busy dealing with several outbreaks in the county.

“Our numbers are going to continue to rise,” Dillon said.

She said the schools have seen outbreaks and they “are doing a very tremendous job. And they are trying to work with us and we are very proud of them.”

On the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, under the school section, on Oct. 8, there were several cases in Lawrence County including one staff member at Chesapeake Union School, Dawson-Bryant had five students, Ironton schools had three students and two staff members, Collins Career Technical Center had one student, Rock Hill had two students and one staff member, South Point had two staff members and Sugar Creek Academy had one student.

Dillon said that in a conference call with Gov. Mike DeWine they learned that many of the cases are coming from after-hours activities

“We know that eating in the same room or socializing after school is driving these numbers up,” she said and called on families to limit contact. “Don’t have people over, don’t have bonfires, dances.”

She also warned people to be cautious as events like funerals.

“Be very, very careful at funerals, because we all want to comfort the loved ones who have lost their family member and we want to hug them and we want to provide food. And those activities are one of the greatest risks for receiving this virus.”

Dillon said the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 is from direct physical contact like shaking hands or being within six feet, eating in the same room, riding in a car or sharing a bathroom with people that have that have the virus.

“You need to be very cautious with those activities,” she said. “We want the people of Lawrence County to please wear a mask.”

Commissioner Deanna Holliday asked Dillon about the county being put on Red Level 3 alert by the state last week.

Dillon explained that over the two previous weeks, the county had seen a sustained increase in the number of positive cases with a total of 89 new cases.

“It is not in a congregate setting like a nursing home, these are all in the community,” she said. “We know that we had it in four schools but it really runs through families.”

She said the children with COVID-19 are doing alright but that they visit grandparents and they don’t do as well with the virus.

The red level status doesn’t mean schools or businesses are closed but Holliday pointed out that everyone needs to follow the directives that state issues.

Commissioner Dr. Colton Copley reminded people to stay safe and to be aware.

“I appreciate our health department and the stresses that they have been under with the high number of cases,” he said. “Stay safe for your community and stay safe for your family.”
Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. asked people to be safe and pray for the county.

“Try to abide by the rules and hopefully, we will get through this thing,” he said.

Holliday gave a shout out to Buckeye Rural Electric which set up a WI-FI hotspot in their office parking lot in Linville for students who are doing virtual learning. The hours are from 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

“We certainly appreciate Buckeye Rural and their willingness to cooperate and give a WI-FI opportunity to be a good partner with Lawrence County. Thanks so much.”

The Lawrence County Commissioners hold their meetings on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. on Facebook live because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing. The commissioners take questions from the public during the meeting via the comment section.