YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With new cases of COVID-19 across Mahoning County, the City of Youngstown Health Department is sharing its perspective on how it’s handled the pandemic so far.
So far, there have been 3,910 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a total of 287 deaths in Mahoning County to date.
For a few weeks now, the county has been on the verge of hitting the state’s highest level for COVID-19 positivity rates.
At one of the city’s weekly drive-thru testing sites, city health commissioner Erin Bishop said she’s happy with how her team and the rest of Youngstown handled the constant changes the virus has thrown at them.
She said the entire process has been a collaborative effort between every city department and the health department.
This week, they’re starting to give out money to people under quarantine from the federal coronavirus relief bill, the CARES Act. They’re hoping to bring some financial relief to people who may be having money troubles due to their situation.
“Rent and utilities, and we’re hoping that will help some people because so often when our contact tracers call people and tell them they’re on quarantine for 14 days, they’re upset,” Bishop said. “They’re worried, ‘My job.’ You know what I mean? So this is something we can help them with and saying, ‘Yes, you’re going to miss two weeks of pay but let us help you pay your bill,’ or something like that.”
There is concern Mahoning County could soon turn from “red” to “purple,” especially with the holidays approaching. Gatherings of family and friends will be starting this weekend with Halloween.
“You’re with people you love, you know, you trust. You let your guard down. You’re looking to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, all these different celebrations through this holiday season. We just have to make sure that you’re wearing your mask, staying apart. If you are in the house, you need to make sure you’re keeping distance from each other,” Bishop said.
Every Thursday, the city health department is hosting a free COVID-19 drive-thru testing for Youngstown residents. The next one is today at St. John’s Episcopal Church.