YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, Mahoning County is now one of the worst in the state for those coming down with the disease.
Mahoning County had the most deaths in the state with nine.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 153 positive coronavirus cases in Mahoning County and 70 people in the county are hospitalized.
Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer at Mercy Health Youngstown, said he has no idea why the number of cases and deaths are so high in Mahoning County.
He said it could be that Mahoning County is closest to New York City, but it’s just a guess. Kravec said we could have a better idea once it’s over and there’s time to analyze the data.
On Tuesday morning, the county’s health commissioner, Ryan Tekac, told reporters the community as a whole needs to be doing a much better job curbing COVID-19. He said people need to be smart about the choices they make — whether it’s going to the store or meeting friends and socializing, especially among teenagers and young adults.
“Staying at home and avoiding large groups is not only protecting yourself, but others in the community that can’t necessarily protect themselves such as grandparents, infants, your neighbors, your friends who have chronic illnesses or a compromised immune system,” Tekac said.
He stressed that parents need to keep their kids at home and people need to show more responsibility in helping combat the virus.
Kravec gave no indication Mercy Health was short on PPE or ventilators, saying they’re on top of things and doing everything they can to handle the patients.
“This is a big deal,” Kravec said. “We have a lot of patients. It’s something I haven’t seen before in my medical career but we have a wonderful team. The doctors, nurses, staff are coming together great. We are planning and working with our community partners. I wouldn’t say we’re overwhelmed. I would say that we’re prepared for this and we’re taking it day-by-day.”
He said things are changing so quickly and that can be frustrating.
“Guidelines from the [Ohio Department of Health], guidelines from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] that I’m following can change. If I tell someone — if I tell you a guideline today, there’s a good chance it’s going to change tomorrow.”
Kravec said he’s been on numerous calls with Gov. Mike DeWine and ODH director Dr. Amy Acton. He has not spoken with the governor personally, but he has exchanged texts with Acton. He said both are doing a wonderful job and he is listening to them.
As of Tuesday, Trumbull County had 51 confirmed cases of coronavirus — 22 males and 26 females, ranging in age from 25 to 86 — with 32 hospitalizations. The county has recorded three deaths.
Columbiana County had two deaths, nine hospitalizations and 15 total cases, according to the State Department of Health.