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Photo: CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health; public domain.

Photo: CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health; public domain.

First case of COVID-19 in Yellow Springs confirmed

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The novel coronavirus has officially reached Yellow Springs.

Late on Tuesday, April 7, local authorities were informed of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the village. And on Wednesday, April 8, a family member posted the news on a local Facebook group.

Village resident Matthew Huntington, 50, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to his sister, Laura McDonald, in her public post.

The patient, whom McDonald has identified as her brother, was transported from his South High Street address to Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek on Sunday, April 5, according to Miami Township Fire Chief Colin Altman. Altman was later informed that the man tested positive, per hospital policy.

“We were notified by Kettering Health Network at about 10:35 p.m. [on Tuesday night],” Altman said. “They contacted us right away.”

As of Wednesday morning, Huntington was in the intensive care unit at Soin and on a ventilator, according to McDonald, who the News reached by phone.

McDonald said that her brother believed he contracted the virus while working at a Spectrum call center in Columbus, where he handles high level customer support cases. Huntington returned to work there on March 22 after a vacation, after which “he was scrupulously careful not to interact with anyone else or do any shopping,” McDonald wrote in her post.

“He didn’t go anywhere else in town or out of town,” McDonald told the News. “He went straight back and forth to work.”

Three days after returning to work, however, Huntington developed his first symptoms, McDonald said.

The MTFR squad first attended to the patient on Saturday, April 4, but he did not want to be taken to the hospital at that time, according to Altman. Altman added that the local squad protected themselves during their two interactions.

“Our crew took all the precautions that they had to,” Altman said.

McDonald said she went public because of the speculation on social media around possible local cases.

“There has been so much misinformation, we would just rather put it out there,” she said.

Altman said he hopes news of the first local confirmed case might “strengthen people’s resolve” to wear masks in public, avoid gatherings, wash their hands and stay home when possible, which he believes are “relatively simple steps” to help prevent the spread of the disease.

“If nothing else it would let people know that we’re not a bubble in Yellow Springs. And that it’s here and there’s probably going to be more cases,” he said.

Village Manager Josué Salmerón was also notified of the case on Tuesday night, when local dispatchers were called by Greene County Public Health and a family member of the man.

Salmerón urged villagers not to panic about the news, but to continue to be diligent about following social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines. Salmerón said he was not surprised by the news.

“It’s the first confirmed case, but we’ve had people who are sick in town,” Salmerón said. “I’m under the impression that we’ve had COVID-19 cases, but that they just never rose to this level.”

It is unclear whether Huntington’s case was part of the 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Greene County as of Tuesday, April 7, according to Ohio Health Department figures. Those figures also included six hospitalizations and one death. Statewide, there were 4,782 confirmed cases of the disease, with 1,354 hospitalizations and 167 deaths. More than 50,000 Ohioans have been tested, according to the state.

In response to a question about how widespread COVID-19 may be in the village at  Monday’s Virtual Town Hall, Altman said it was hard to tell. He added that of the previous 10 patients the squad had seen, about eight believed they had COVID-19. However, Altman noted that because it’s allergy season and many symptoms can be similar, those patients may not necessarily have the illness.

In addition, because testing remains limited and those with mild symptoms are usually told by their physician to stay home, many local cases will not be confirmed or counted, at least in the short term, Altman explained.

“The vast majority of people who have COVID-19 don’t have to be treated anywhere,” he said. About 20% of known cases lead to hospitalization, according to state figures.

At the town hall, Melody Kingsley, a village resident with Greene County Public Health, advised villagers to “treat everyone as if they’re positive.” The county health department has asserted previously that they believe COVID-19 to be present in every jurisdiction in the county.

Kingsley also said that according to county modeling, the peak of the illness in Greene County is estimated to end around April 10, but that the county was re-evaluating that date. 

“We believe this is not the end of it,” she said.

According to Altman, more confirmed cases are likely in the weeks ahead.

“There’s still two to three tough weeks to come. But we’re ready.”

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7 Responses to “First case of COVID-19 in Yellow Springs confirmed”

  1. David Winnick says:

    I am sending my sincerest wishes for a speedy recovery to my classmate, Matthew Huntington. I hope he overcomes this illness and is able to return to family and friends as soon as possible. Yellow Springs has a strong community, I hope villagers living close by also reach out to directly support his family however they can. – Dave Winnick, former YS resident, class of ‘88.

  2. Tawn Singh says:

    For the RECORD, I want NO life saving measures, NO RESUSCITATOR, NO CPR, NO SKIN GRAPHS! You don’t want my organs!!!! I wouldn’t want to curse anyone else with whatever is running through my veins!

  3. Jocelyn Marie says:

    Are you seriously giving medical advice over the internet?????? That is reckless and should be deleted.

  4. Mark Hoffman says:

    Where did he go on vacation? Article states that he got sick 3 days after returning to work after vacation. I have read that incubation of Covid19 is 5 to 14 days. I don’t think he contracted it at work.

  5. Barbara White says:

    I’m hoping this young man will make a full recovery as I know all of the village is.

  6. Patty Keys, Pharm.D. says:

    All recent contacts of the patient, in addition to self-isolation and symptomatic treatment, should start the oral Zinc regimen described above.

    The patient, now recognized as being on a ventilator can be treated with Zinc Chloride 2.5-4mg IV daily x5 days infused over no less than 2 hours (IVPB or smallest possible volume in fluid restricted patients). Monitor zinc & copper serum levels.

    Unfortunately, IV formulations of the ionophores (Resveratrol & Quercetin) are not available.

    This represents adjuvant therapy and is not intended to replace other therapeutic strategies.

  7. Patty Keys, Pharm.D. says:

    Please tell them to take Zinc 50mg daily for 5 days, then off of 2 days, then repeat. Take with Resveratrol supplement (or 1/4 cup of raisins) and 1 cup of green tea (which contains Quercetin) and 500mg of Vitamin C.

    There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that Zinc modulates (diminishes) cytokine storm. Cytokine storm is the body’s overly aggressive immune response to the virus and is responsible for causing pneumonia and potentially life threatening lung damage.

    Vitamin C, Resveratrol & Quercetin help give Zinc access to the cells that are infected with COVID-19.

    Start this regimen ASAP. Don’t wait. It can reduce the severity of the COVID-19 illness.

    I am a 1976 YSHS grad, clinical pharmacist w/38 years practice experience and a healthcare outcomes researcher.

    Selected sources:
    1. Zinc Modulates Innate Immune Response thru IL-1, TNF-Alpha, ICAM-1.
    2. Prevalence of Zinc deficiency in the elderly:
    3. Zinc Deficiency Magnifies and Prolongs Lethal Immune Response to Sepsis.
    4. Zinc helps against infection by tapping brakes in immune response. This research is out of Ohio State University

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