NEW LEXINGTON — As the confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been increasing, active cases in some counties are starting to dwindle, according to the Perry County Health Department.

In a snapshot update posted by the local county health department on Monday, July 27, the active case count of COVID-19 is 17 cases. Overall, the health department has confirmed 67 cases in the county with five probable cases. A total of 54 individuals have recovered from the illness.

Of the total, 35 males and 37 females have been affected by the virus.

Across the state, more cases have also been reported. There have been 80,628 cases confirmed with another 4,549 cases being included by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Preventions definition being listed as probable.

The Ohio Department of Health has also reported a total of 10,285 hospitalizations in the state with 3,082 confirmed deaths. There have also been 2,466 intensive care unit (ICU) submissions.

The Perry County Health Department explained to community members the meaning of what a probable case is and what it looks like. The health department said that many people believe that a probable case is pending and that people are questioning why the county health department has been reporting numbers that are seemingly unchanged.

Probable cases are defined as a person meeting a clinical criteria and epidemiological evidence with no confirming results from a lab test done for COVID-19. A person must also meet presumptive lab evidence and either clinical or epidemiological evidence. Lastly, a person must meet vital records criteria with no confirmable lab test.

A probable case option was implemented and used earlier in the establishment of the pandemic when testing was not as accessible as it is now, according to the health department. Medical providers were requested to define a patient as probable if they had COVID-19 symptoms and it was of the opinion of the provider that the patient had the virus.

Since the testing for COVID-19 has been made more accessible to those who have symptoms, the probable case count has not been heavily reported. Further, the probable case numbers for Perry County are not “indicative” of tests pending results and are not to decrease at all.

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced additional data regarding the current public health situation. There are currently 23 counties being designated in the red alert level three public health emergency. Butler, Lorain, Summit and Wood counties have been downgraded to level two alerts.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced last week that Gov. DeWine signed a letter to leaders in Congress along with 20 other fellow governors from across the nation. The letter is asking Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Leader Chuck Schumer, and Leader Kevin McCarthy to create reasonable limited liability protections for businesses, schools, healthcare workers and governments as some continue to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter includes calling on leaders to make predictable, timely and targeted liability protections to shield employers from legal risk linked to the pandemic, as long as they are following the appropriate standards of care to protect employees, customers and students. The letter also includes specific requests that protections can be drawn in a narrow fashion as to not give license for gross negligence, misconduct or recklessness.

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