Mixed in with the bad news about the Coronavirus pandemic, there is good news as well.
After a year of staying at home, restrictions on travel and gathering, and mask requirements, statistics say new infections, death rates, and other measures are down.
For Fulton County alone, the number of new cases per day peaked on Nov. 30, 2020, when there were 61 new cases reported to the Ohio Department of Health.
The last Coronavirus-related death was Thursday, March 4.
Nursing Home Visits
There is another piece of good news as well.
An Ohio Department of Health Order was signed yesterday, Tuesday, which changed the rules for visiting nursing home patients.
Nursing home residents who have been vaccinated may now physically touch their visitors; in the past, touch was discouraged, and essentially prohibited.
Visitors may also meet with their loved one in their own private rooms, as opposed to the previous requirement that people meet in a separate, designated visiting area.
Previously, 30 minutes was the maximum amount of time allowed for visits, Now, 30 minutes is considered the minimum time allowed.
Mari Yoder, Fairlawn Haven Director of Development, said Fairlawn officials are waiting to see the new visitation requirements in writing before implementing them.
“We are very excited to have them (visitors) back,” she said.
“We feel this is so important” to residents and visitors.
Kim Cupp, Fulton County Health Commissioner, urged patience.
“I am encouraged by the number of individuals getting vaccinated. I feel the community’s anxiousness to get life back to normal,” she said.
But, “I am concerned that we move too fast and allow the virus to spread before we have the majority of people vaccinated.
“Our patience will make the difference between getting out of the pandemic or experiencing another surge.
“Nature causes us to want to gather together and celebrate together,” but she urged patience, to resist the urge to move too fast, “until we have greater protections” from the vaccines.
“That’s the determining factor,” she said.
Cupp agreed Fulton County has been lucky in a lot of ways.
With limited seating capacity and physical barriers, people have been allowed to return to local restaurants. Schools were back to in-person learning in the fall.
Cupp said she thought the number of cases in Fulton County and the number of deaths were “significantly high,” there were also a significant amount of precautions taken to keep those numbers where they were.
Fulton County did have impacts from the Coronavirus and from Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Cupp said people’s socioemotional health was hit.
“When you think about what families had to go through, their loved ones that were in nursing homes, deaths and the whole funeral that you did differently, the whole mourning process.
“All of these were significant impacts. . . negative impacts,” she said.
One member of the Fulton County Health Department board said offhand, the pandemic could have been much worse.
Cupp said she can’t “measure what you don’t see.
“Thank goodness people did wear masks, kept space (between them), and listened when events were cancelled.”