SPRINGFIELD — A Clark County man recently discharged from Koester Pavilion nursing home in Troy is the first positive case of coronavirus disease linked to Miami County, as confirmed by Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson following a press conference held Wednesday evening at the Clark County Education Service Center.
“Unfortunately we’re here to bring some serious news to both of our counties and the citizens of the Miami Valley,” Patterson said. “We regret that we must inform you that we have our first positive test of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, of a Clark County resident. This is not unexpected, but we knew it was eventually going to happen, and today we do have those laboratory results.”
The Clark County Combined Health District held a joint press conference with Miami County Public Health, during which Patterson reported the male patient in his 70s, and a resident of Bethel Township in Clark County, was discharged from Koester early last week and admitted to the Dayton VA Hospital, where he began showing symptoms and was tested for COVID-19.
“We are not able to give you further details on the individual out of respect of their privacy,” Patterson said. “This is a real thing. All of the information you’ve been hearing is now hitting home for Clark and Miami counties.”
Miami County Public Health also reported the first “presumptive positive” test result for COVID-19 for a Miami County resident. The individual is a 62-year-old female resident of the Koester Pavilion nursing home, a Premier Health facility, who was taken to Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC). Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes said they are waiting confirmation testing from the Centers for Disease Control.
Both patients are currently hospitalized — the male patient at the Dayton VA Hospital and the female patient at UVMC — along with approximately three other suspect cases presenting respiratory symptoms linked to those two cases. Propes said Koester identified an additional 10 residents, six staff members, and one visitor who are considered “suspect cases,” who may have been affected by the coronavirus. The ages of those suspect cases range from 32 to 94. There are approximately a dozen female subjects and five male subjects.
“We have eight tests that are pending, and we should receive those results in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Propes said.
Propes emphasized how Koester has “done everything correctly” and have been cooperative in working with the public health districts.
“They were in compliance on the governor’s orders, and the amended order as well,” Propes said. “They did everything they were supposed to do, and it just underscores the very serious nature of what the governor was trying to prevent in his orders.”
Propes said they have given Koester, which is still in operation, recommendations on how to prevent the spread of the virus and illnesses, such as no communal meals or activities.
“This is what we’ve been preparing and planning for with all of our partners over the last several weeks and months,” Patterson said. “This is an example of how quickly the virus can spread from person to person. This is obviously a community transmission case and has healthcare and long-term care involved — all the things, of course, we feared.”
Patterson said they were being open about the information regarding these incidents to help people remain calm. Health officials also encouraged the public to be kind and compassionate to those affected by the virus.
“We certainly do not want the public to panic,” Patterson said. He encouraged the public to follow the advice of health officials regarding this virus, including washing hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth; covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing; clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces; and practicing social distancing.
Those at high risk for illness from COVID-19, which causes mild to severe respiratory illness, are those over 60 years old with chronic illness and/or a weakened immune system. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear with 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person, and the virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets.
“We understand there is hardship, and we’re sorry for that,” Patterson said, referencing state mandates that have forced a number of businesses to close until further notice. “But we’re even more sorry for individuals who are affected by this virus that’s insidious and has been spreading quickly across our country.”
Melody Vallieu contributed to this story.