ORW staff reports first case of COVID-19


The Ohio Reformatory for Women recently reported its first positive COVID-19 test among staff.
According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), one staff member and one inmate at ORW are currently positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, the most recent day data is available.
One other inmate has recovered and three inmates are pending test results.
JoEllen Smith, communication director for ODRC, said contact tracing will be conducted following the positive tests.
To prevent further spread of the virus, she said ORW is “operating in cohorts.” The full institution, or 2,328 inmates, are in quarantine.
Smith added that staff and all incarcerated women undergo daily medical screenings, including the use of a pulse oximeter on the inmates. The device measures for low oxygen levels in the blood, which experts indicate can be a sign of COVID-19.
ORW is following “aggressive cleaning and disinfecting practices,” Smith said.
To ensure the virus is not spread beyond ORW, Smith said inmates are tested prior to their release.
According to the Union County Health Department, five new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday morning.
The county is reporting 65 cumulative cases, excluding those among persons living at ORW.
Currently, there are seven individuals who are actively ill and in isolation while 57 are considered no longer infectious and have been released from isolation. One death has been reported.
Hospitalization has been required during illness for four individuals. None are currently hospitalized.
The age of those affected ranges from less than one-year-old to 83 years. The median age is 38 years and the average age is 39.1 years.
The illness onset dates range between January 25 and June 17.
Following expanded testing orders from Gov. Mike DeWine, UCHD and Lower Lights Christian Health Center are partnering to offer COVID-19 tests to anyone who desires to be tested.
During the first three drive-thru events held over the past week at the Union County Fairgrounds, 69 individuals were tested.
Testing is hosted Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons.
Drive-thru testing is available to anyone, but recommended for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19, those with exposure to a known case of COVID-19 and individuals preparing to enter a congregate living setting.
Testing is free to uninsured individuals and covered by most insurances. A doctor’s order is not required for testing.
The health department specified the test is a diagnostic test for COVID-19, not an antibody test. It consists of a nasal swab within the nostril and results are typically provided within 2-3 business days.
Those interested may register online or by calling (614) 274-1455 and selecting option 1.

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