Assessing the risk of holiday get-togethers

Staff writer

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in Ohio, health officials are encouraging residents to take a quick quiz that assesses the risk of hosting get-togethers on Thanksgiving.
“We can protect our friends and family and make our traditions safer by taking a layered approach with a series of precautions,” said Benjamin Robison, Wood County Health Commissioner.
The health department’s COVID-19 website includes a link to the survey along with other resources for planning holiday celebrations. The quiz can be accessed at
The quiz asks respondents to answer questions about the number of households getting together, how tables will be set up and food served, guests attitudes about face masks and distancing, what will be the response if someone has COVID-like symptoms on Thanksgiving and other factors.
“With smart actions like masks, social distancing, limiting the size and number of social gatherings, and good hygiene, the activities we want to do are safer and less likely to be impacted by COVID-19,” Robison said. “By taking these steps, we can protect our schools, businesses and health care facilities as we continue to fight COVID-19 during this pandemic.”
He said the safest gatherings will only include members of households. If hosting guests, plan ahead about how to keep them safe.
The health department website also includes a PDF guide including factors to consider when deciding whether to travel or gathering with family and friends.

Monitoring data
Wastewater data from Bowling Green show higher indicators for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are consistent with the increase in cases in the area.
A network across the state is studying wastewater samples for fragments from the virus that causes the disease, according to the health department, and an increasing trend of viral gene copies has been detected in the Bowling Green water pollution control facility, which services the Bowling Green and Portage communities.
Levels in the Bowling Green community increased 7.5 times, from 1.5 million gene copies per person per day on Oct. 25 to 11.3 per person per day on Nov. 4. Based on the most recent sample collected Nov. 8, current levels are 5.6 times higher than they were on Oct. 25.
The results come in the same week as Wood County being elevated to Level 3 (red) in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The county had been at Level 2 (orange) for several weeks due to increasing cases, with the majority coming from within the community and not in congregate settings. Officials attribute the elevation to Level 3 to more residents going to health care providers with symptoms and receiving a confirmed or suspected diagnosis.
The increase in cases in communities is usually tracked by testing people with symptoms – an indicator that lags behind the actual spread of the disease.
However, research has shown that non-infectious RNA (ribonucleic acid) from the virus can be detected in wastewater as many as three to seven days before those infections lead to increases in reported cases or hospitalizations. That leads researchers to conclude monitoring of raw wastewater in sewage systems can provide an early warning of disease in a community.


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