Richland County courthouse

Richland County Courthouse

MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners, again frustrated at a lack of communication from Gov. Mike DeWine regarding COVID-19, asked Thursday morning for the state to clearly state its goals for the pandemic.

Commissioner Tony Vero cited statistics Wednesday from the Ohio Dept. of Health that showed there have been 117,684 total positive cases since COVID-19 reached Ohio in March.

"We have had 97,823 presumed recoveries and 4,044 fatalities.  Subtract those from the total number of cases and that means there are 15,717 current active cases in Ohio.

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"The state has a population of 11.69 million ... so that means 0.1 percent of the population currently has the virus," Vero said. "The numbers are even better in Richland County."

According to the ODH website, there were 77 active cases in Richland County on Wednesday, or .0006 of the county's 121,154 population.

Commissioner Marilyn John said she participates in a conference call each Tuesday morning with local medical officials, including Richland Public Health.

"I asked this week if anyone on the call had been notified by anyone from the state on what the plan is moving forward?  What goals are we trying to reach in order that these restrictions on society can be lifted even more than is being done?" John said she asked during the call.

"There was silence on the phone. There is no communication (from the state) on the goal to be reached in order to eliminate the mask requirements, get full occupancy in buildings and allow attendance at sporting events," John said.

"Remember when we talked about 'flattening the curve?' Why don't we talk about that anymore?" John asked.

Vero, who said the state's positivity rate has remained flat at 4 to 4.2 percent for weeks, criticized the state health department for not placing more emphasis on the number of patients who have recovered from the virus.

"I had a conversation with ODH for an hour. They said they don't look at recoveries. They are all about spread, spread, spread, spread," Vero said.

"They don't take recoveries into account.  The governor has been telling us to stop the spread. Are we spreading? In Richland County for the past two weeks, we have had more recoveries than we have new cases," Vero said.

Commissioner Darrell Banks said, "There is a political bias somewhere and that's why we are not getting any information. The conclusions someone is coming up with down there don't match the facts. I think COVID is the wrong name. It should be the Chinese political virus."

Also on Tuesday, commissioners approved a $162,010 contract with low-bidder PDK Construction from Pomeroy, Ohio, to replace guardrail at various sites around the county.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"