Harrison County officials release joint statement on COVID-19

Coronavirus News Graphic

Harrison County Health Department Administrator Courtney Cross, Harrison County Community Hospital Chief Executive Officer Tina Gillespie, Bethany Mayor Jonne Slemmons, and Harrison County Presiding Commissioner Jack Hodge have provided a joint statement regarding COVID-19.

They report 106 school individuals have had to isolate or quarantine since Harrison County schools reopened for the academic year. Two schools went to remote learning for a period of time.

If a Harrison County school is contacted by the health department or parent that a positive individual has been present in a school building, a contact tracing process begins. Any student, teacher, coach, or other employees who have been in close contact with the positive individual must quarantine for 14 days. The health department contacts those individuals or parents of minor students who must quarantine. Close contacts who live with the positive case will have a longer quarantine period as it does not begin until the positive case isolation period ends, so the length could potentially be 24 days, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

In late August, the Harrison County Health Department dealt with an outbreak related to a church gathering of about 100. The Harrison County officials report the gathering resulted in 26 confirmed positive cases, and three of those were hospitalized. An additional four probable cases were identified. The Harrison and Mercer county health departments worked collaboratively with identifying and quarantining close contacts.

The positivity rate for Harrison County for the entire month of August was reported at 2.5%. The rate was 8.6% in the last two weeks of the month.