Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner confirmed Monday that the county has registered its first death from COVID-19.
In a news release, Warner said that out of respect for the family, the deceased would only be identified as a male in his 80s that passed away at a hospital.
The death had been alluded to during the Facebook Live news conference that was streamed starting at 12:30 p.m. Monday from the Highland County Emergency Management Agency and health department offices in Hillsboro’s North High Business Center.
Confirmation of the death came shortly after 3 p.m. Monday.
EOC Public Information Officer Branden Jackman updated Highland County’s COVID-19 status, stating that there had been a total of 13 cases in the county as of Monday, with eight cases having recovered and five cases still considered active.
The original format of Monday’s news conference was to be dedicated to sorting through the 14-page document that detailed the three-phase plan to re-open the state, a document that Jackman described as “reading like instructions to hook up a stereo.”
However, much of the discussion for the first half-hour centered on the various types of face masks that were recommended for employees, or people going into private business, health or government offices that mandated them.
Warner said the biggest questions his office had been fielding had to do with why the public was being asked to wear masks in the first place, which he explained was to protect those at large from being infected by those that were asymptomatic, meaning those that carry the virus but show no symptoms, which he said could potentially be as high as 25 to 30 percent of the population.
“Having that mask over your mouth and nose keeps me from making you sick,” he explained. “And then when you wear a cloth mask, that keeps me from getting sick from you.”
He said that mask guidelines contained in the “Stay Safe Ohio” order recommended masks that were either cloth or fabric that cover both the nose and mouth, and went under the chin.