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Mahoning County tops state in virus deaths

COLUMBUS — The number of COVID-19 deaths in Mahoning County more than doubled in a day, and it now has more deaths — nine — than any other county in Ohio.

It also had 153 confirmed cases of the virus as of Tuesday , the third-most in the state despite being the 12th-most populous county in the state. It has the most cases per capita of any county in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Health reported nine virus-related deaths in Mahoning County as of Tuesday, up from four the previous day. The data lags as one of the five newly-reported deaths was from March 24, one from Sunday and three from Monday.

Sheriff Jerry Greene said Tuesday in a Facebook video: “I don’t believe enough people have been taking this seriously. This is very troubling to me.”

Greene said he didn’t know the reason why people aren’t taking the pandemic seriously, “but we need to take a good look at ourselves and make sure we’re only going out when it’s absolutely necessary.”

There were at least 55 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Ohio on Tuesday, including 14 in the Mahoning Valley. That’s up from 39 Monday statewide, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In addition to the nine Mahoning County deaths, there were three in Trumbull County and two in Columbiana County.

The third death in Trumbull County, confirmed Monday by that county’s board of health, is not listed among the 55 deaths reported Tuesday by the state department.

There were 2,199 confirmed cases of the virus in the state Tuesday, up from 1,933 Monday.

Also, there were 153 confirmed cases in Mahoning County with 70 people hospitalized from the virus, up from 117 and 53, respectively, Monday.

The nine deaths are:

∫ A woman at least 80 years old on Monday, a man in his 50s on Monday, a man in his 70s on Monday, a man in his 70s on Sunday, men at least 80 years old on Saturday, Friday and March 24; a woman at least 80 years old last Wednesday; and a man between the ages of 60 and 69 on March 23.

There were 51 confirmed cases in Trumbull County on Tuesday with 32 hospitalizations, up from 42 and 24, respectively, a day earlier, according to the county health district. The county’s numbers were a little higher than what the state reported.

∫ Two of the dead in Trumbull are a man at least 80 years old last March 25 and a woman between the ages of 60 and 69 on Friday. There is still no information on the third dead person reported by the county Monday.

Trumbull is tied for the fifth-most COVID-19 deaths among Ohio counties and has the 10th-most cases. It’s the 15th-most populous county in the state.

In Columbiana County, there are 15 cases Tuesday with nine hospitalized, up from 13 and eight, respectively Monday.

∫ The two dead are a woman in her 70s on Sunday and a man at least 80 years old on Thursday.

STATE IMPACT

In addition to the dead in the Valley from the virus, the other fatalities in Ohio as of Tuesday are: six each in Cuyahoga and Miami, five in Summit, three each in Franklin, Lucas and Stark; two each in Lake and Lorain; and one each in Athens, Brown, Darke, Delaware, Erie, Gallia, Greene, Huron, Medina, Montgomery, Portage and Seneca counties.

Statewide, 585 people were hospitalized as of Tuesday because of COVID-19, up from 475 Monday.

There were 198 people in intensive-care units with novel coronavirus Tuesday, up from 163 a day earlier.

“In regard to physical distancing, we have to keep it up,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “Most people are doing great. It’s buying our medical community additional time to get ready. It makes a difference.”

Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said, “Social distancing is essential.”

“I’m asking you to think as much as you can about essential activities,” DeWine said. “Every trip to the store, every time you go get medicine, you want to minimize even that. You can do this. We need you to do this. It is so important that we minimize our exposure to each other.”

STATE ORDERS

On March 22, DeWine ordered the closing of nonessential businesses and for the public to stay at home, effective at 11:59 p.m. March 23, through next Monday with exemptions. DeWine said he hasn’t chosen to extend that yet, but “I’ve given every signal” that he will.

There were some state orders given Tuesday.

So the state can keep track of ventilators if there is a shortage, Acton issued an order requiring weekly online reporting of ventilators by entities in the supply chain from creation through end use.

Examples are manufacturers, producers, wholesalers, transporters, distributors, retailers, physicians, clinics, hospitals and medical facilities.

This will allow for the identification and redistribution of machines from health care providers no longer performing elective procedures and help hospitals by giving them information on the availability of ventilators, DeWine said.

Exemptions include ventilators in the possession of people for personal use and ventilators in transit across the state that are being delivered from and to other states.

The other order came from the state Environmental Protection Agency to not shut off people’s water during the pandemic and to reinstate service to those who’ve had water turned off this year as long as that person contacts the water provider.

DeWine also directed state agencies to assign as many of its employees to work remotely.

He said there are about 18,000 state workers working remotely as the result of a March 12 order he gave. He extended that order to at least May 1.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said in response to people having problems with the state unemployment system that 100 workers were added to its call center.

“But I said, ‘That isn’t enough. We have to do more,'” he said. “I was assured that they are putting 180 new people in the call center. They must first be trained.”

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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