CDC marks Columbiana Co. ‘high’ level of spread after system glitch reporting COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

(WKBN) – The problems started last week, when workers with the Columbiana County Health Department noticed a sudden, big jump in local COVID-19 cases on the state’s online dashboard.

“It appears that the laboratory reporting system had some type of electronic glitch where cases for the last five months were not entered into the state database,” said Laura Fauss of the Columbiana County Health Department.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Health confirmed there was a problem earlier this month where more than 240 cases were not properly counted across the state — with nearly a third of those in Columbiana County.

When the corrected figures showed up on the state dashboard suddenly last week, the national Centers for Disease Control listed the county as having a “high” level of spread.

“Yeah, it showed 69 cases in one day,” Fauss said.

In reality, Fauss says the county recorded just 35 new cases for the period ending this past Monday, providing an average of five a day.

That compares to just over three new cases a day between July 9 and 16 and 1.4 cases a day between June 25 and July 2.

This new listing from the CDC comes as the Columbiana County Fair is set to begin next week.

Health officials don’t expect any issues. In fact, they’ll be offering vaccines there, hoping that will improve the county’s vaccination record.

With only about 35% of the county’s population vaccinated, officials hope the news will encourage more people to get a shot.

“Even though this is a bad situation, it’s a good time for education,” Fauss said. “So people understand what’s going on and then we can push that message.”

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