ALLEN COUNTY — An Allen County resident who tested positive for COVID-19 has died, according to Allen County Public Health.
The agency identified him as a 92-year-old man who had underlying health problems.
“First, our thoughts are with the individual’s family,” said Kathy Luhn, Allen County Health Commissioner. “Sadly, however, these outcomes are expected as we continue to face a serious public health challenge.”
Personal details of the individual who died are not being released out of respect for the family.
“We’re taking some flak, frankly, on social media from a few vocal people that we’re not releasing information by ZIP code. We’re a small enough community still and it might not be the best idea because it could be identifying — plus, it gives such a false sense of security,” said Tami Gough, director prevention and health promotion services for Allen County Public Health. “Just because we would release that three people in this ZIP code have tested positive, we have no idea where they work, we have no idea where they’ve been to shop, so just knowing where they live isn’t really any safer than just knowing it’s in the community. So that’s how we’re handling it now.”
That may change in the future, though.
“Other counties are releasing it by ZIP code, and the state is really taking a close look at how to do it so we might down the road once our numbers increase. It wouldn’t be such an identifier if there’s like one in a ZIP code, but right now, we just feel that the message is we know it’s here, act like it’s here and protect yourself. It doesn’t matter where it is,” Gough said.
Luhn reminded the public of the public health orders and recommendations, specifically social distancing. Public gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people, with enough available room to maintain six feet of space between attendees.
“More so now than ever before, we must practice social distancing to flatten the curve. We will be consistently working for the benefit of our communities in these tough times that are before us.”
“Unfortunately, the number of deaths is going to go up,” Luhn said. “The medical community is taking steps to keep ahead of the curve and getting people the care they need in a timely manner. Everyone has a role to play, and if everyone does their part, we’ll get through this together.”
Residents are urged to visit coronavirus.ohio.gov for updated information. They can also find information at cdc.gov, allencountypublichealth.org and Allen County Public Health’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.