12/3/20 - For the fourth week in a row, Knox County has met the Level 3 criteria on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.
Staying at Level 3 – also known as the “Red” level - indicates that there continues to be very high risk for exposure to COVID-19 in Knox County as confirmed by nearly 1,000 reported cases in November.
State and local health officials indicate that the continued increase in cases and hospitalizations could put Knox County at the highest level – “Purple” – if the situation does not improve. At the “Purple” level, travel and public activities would be highly restricted in the county and residents would be advised to only leave home for supplies and services.
According to Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller, the recent surge in cases is attributed to household situations where an infected family member causes other person in the household to become sick, plus sport activities and social gatherings where the lack of basic preventive measures such as facial coverings and social distancing contribute to spread of the virus. “We know many families changed their holiday plans to avoid large gatherings and people are trying to be safe, which we really appreciate,” said Miller. “Yet, the numbers keep increasing. If there is a surge from Thanksgiving, we will see it next week.”
Knox County’s current numbers indicate a total of 1,650 positive cases since the pandemic began in March. There are 253 active cases with 26 residents hospitalized and 41 deaths attributed to complications from COVID-19. There are 303 people being monitored as close contacts
In response to new recommendations from the CDC regarding the criteria for quarantine, Miller said Knox Public Health has modified its requirements. “We still strongly recommend that all close contacts complete the full 14 days for quarantine to rule out any presence of COVID-19,” said Miller. “However, in accordance with the new recommendations, if a close contact has no symptoms, they can be now released earlier.” A close contact who is symptom free for 10 days can be released from quarantine. If the close contact is symptom free and tests negative for COVID-19, they can be released after seven days. The new criteria goes into effect next week.
Miller said the higher risk level has prompted a modification in facility operations for both Knox Public Health and the Community Health Center. “Anyone entering the building for a medical, dental or counseling appointment or for immunizations, is asked to call from the parking lot and then wait to be notified when to enter for their scheduled appointment,” said Miller. The process limits waiting and personal contact in the lobby areas. The WIC program has been using the process since the spring,
Those visiting the health department for other services such as water samples, birth certificates and death records, can still enter the building without an appointment. However, birth certificates and death records will not be available during the lunch hour from noon to 1 p.m. As has been the case since the spring, everyone entering the building is required to wear a mask.
COVID-19 testing for anyone with symptoms is available free of charge by appointment. To make an appointment for testing or to ask a COVID-19-related question, call the Knox County COVID Call Line at 740-399-8014.