Gallia reports second COVID-19 related death

Staff Report

GALLIA COUNTY — Gallia County’s second COVID-19 related death, is reportedly connected to an outbreak at a long term care facility.

On Friday night, the Gallia County Health Department stated in a Facebook post, “Unfortunately at this time we are announcing an additional death of a Gallia County resident from COVID-19. This individual was connected to our current outbreak at a long term care facility. We offer our deepest condolences to any of those who have recently lost a loved one.”

The post did not identify the facility or provide any other information about the deceased. Tyler Schweickart, spokesperson for the Gallia Health Department, stated the location was not specified due to privacy concerns.

The state of Ohio reports numbers of cases and names of long-term care facilities where residents and staff have tested positive for the virus but, at this time, reportedly does not release what facility a patient was living in when a COVID death occurs, also citing privacy concerns. When contacted by Ohio Valley Publishing on Monday about how the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reports deaths at and/or deaths associated with long-term care facilities, Melanie Amato, spokesperson for ODH, stated “due to a pending lawsuit” she wouldn’t have any further information to share until Tuesday afternoon.

On Friday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported it had filed a complaint in the Ohio Court of Claims “to obtain facility-level death information in addition to other records related to the COVID-19 response at long-term care facilities.”

To be clear, it was unknown if the Enquirer filing was the one noted by Amato.

On Friday, the health department also provided a breakdown of what it called “our current active cases as it relates to our current outbreak at a long term care facility in Gallia County.”

The breakdown is as follows:

As of 7 p.m. on Aug. 14

– 26 total (25 confirmed, 1 probable) (23 Gallia, 3 Meigs);

– 16 residents (all confirmed, all Gallia);

– 10 Staff (9 confirmed (7 Gallia 2 Meigs)), (1 Probable Meigs);

– 20/26 active (17 Gallia, 3 Meigs), (6 not active- 2 deceased Gallia residents, 4 recovered Gallia residents);

– 14 hospitalizations (13 residents (Gallia), 1 staff (Meigs)), of those 14, 11 are still hospitalized (10 Gallia, 1 Meigs);

– 3 deaths- 1 Unrelated to COVID, 1 listed as COVID, 1 Pending (pending death will still be listed as active until health department receives the death certificate).

“We’ve also updated the recovered section title to reflect those that were COVID positive but passed away from alternative reasons,” the post stated. “They will be listed as Not Active. We’ll continue to update numbers on a weekly basis as it relates to our current outbreak.”

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the second death reported in Gallia County related to COVID-19 was a person in the 80-plus age range. Gallia’s first COVID-19 related death, a person in the 60-69 age range, was reported in March.

Beth Sergent contributed to this report.

Staff Report