Athens Co. Confirms 24 COVID-19 Cases For September 14

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Athens County has now had 532 total cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic after 24 cases were confirmed Monday.

The Athens City-County Health Department confirmed the news in a press release sent September 14.

Analysis of Ohio Department of Health data indicates 21 of these new cases involved people aged 20-29, one involved a person aged 30-39, one involved a person aged 40-49 and one involved a person aged 50-59.

The county’s recent increase in cases is largely driven by people aged 20-29 and comes several weeks after some students moved back to Athens to begin the fall semester at Ohio University.

Athens City-County Health Commissioner Dr. James Gaskell said the county’s spikes in cases have come shortly after certain event involving younger people.

“That’s what we saw in July, the students came back for 4th of July celebrations and shortly after that we had an increased number of cases…It’s not surprising.”

Gaskell noted that most young people who contract coronavirus will not get very sick. But because students are mostly around younger people like themselves, they may not think about the vulnerable people they come into contact with in the community.

“I think the students have a social conscience. I think they do care about the people around them,” he said. “But indeed as we get more and more students infected, it’s highly likely the infection will spill into the community at large.

There are 94 known active cases in the county as of Monday. There are 436 recovered cases, according to the local health department. A total of 25 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic. There have been two deaths related to COVID-19 in the county.

Gaskell urged people to take precautions the help slow the spread of the virus, including washing hands several times a day, social distancing and wearing masks. These “labor-intensive” measures are important because public health officials say they only have a few tools to combat the virus until a vaccine has been produced.

“What we’re engaged in here is a marathon,” Gaskell said. “I think it’s going to continue for a while until we get a vaccine and deliver the vaccine to a large number of people. I think we have to probably immunize about 85 percent of our population, maybe 85 to 90, before we have herd immunity and the pandemic will end.”

Anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms is asked to call their primary care physician, urgent care, or emergency department before arriving for care to let them know that they believe they are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 virus.

An age breakdown of Athens Co. COVID-19 cases for Sept. 14, 2020.
An age breakdown of Athens Co. COVID-19 cases for Sept. 14, 2020. [ODH]
The Ohio Department of Health announced 138,484 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide as of Monday at 2 p.m. There have been 14,378 hospitalizations and 4,419 reported deaths.

ODH makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio’s coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at