Pratt Industries driver positive for COVID-19, Van Wert Co. confirms first case

By Mackenzi Klemann -

WAPAKONETA — COVID-19 has arrived in Wapakoneta and Van Wert County.

Wapakoneta Mayor Tom Stinebaugh on Friday notified residents here that a truck driver for Pratt Industries has reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while a second employee has since been sent home to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Stinebaugh told The Lima News he learned of the situation from city employees who saw a sign posted at Pratt Industries. He says he has since talked with the Wapakoneta plant manager about the situation and is satisfied that the company, which makes recycled paper and corrugated boxes, is taking the necessary precautions that “isolated this problem from the very beginning.”

“They took this thing seriously from the beginning,” he said.

The Lima News could not reach Pratt Industries for comment Friday afternoon.

Stinebaugh said Pratt Industries is taking employees’ temperature and allowing some staff to work from home. He does not anticipate taking action against the company, which is classified as an essential service.

“We’re not having any problems out there,” Stinebaugh said. “We assume all of our businesses in town are following the governor’s orders. (The plant manager) assured me they started on that before the governor mandated it.”

The Auglaize County Health Department became aware of the case via Facebook and could not comment on the specifics of the individual, who is not believed to be an Auglaize County resident.

Health Commissioner Oliver Fisher said his department has not been notified of any positive cases in Auglaize County as of Friday afternoon, although there may be residents who are symptomatic and self-quarantining.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported by county of residence. Those local health departments are then responsible for contact tracing, a process by which individuals who may have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 are notified.

Separately from Auglaize County, a Van Wert County resident has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Van Wert County General Health District confirmed Friday evening. The health department did not release any personal information about the individual but said it is working to identify and notify anyone who was in close contact with the individual.

There were 1,137 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 19 deaths and 276 hospitalizations in Ohio as of Friday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

By Mackenzi Klemann

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

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