The Powell City Council passed a resolution Tuesday requesting that the Ohio Department of Health provide pertinent data to the Delaware General Health District (DGHD) relating to the number of COVID-19 cases in Delaware County.
The resolution, similar to what the City of Delaware passed in September, is aimed towards getting a more accurate representation of the positivity rates in the county based on how many tests are being administered in the county, as well as the number of tests specific to Powell. Such information was intended to be delivered to counties on Aug. 1 by the state health department, but as it currently stands, the DGHD has been left to make its best recommendations with the data available.
In an email to council, City Manager Andy White said of the resolution, “Adoption of this resolution is intended to encourage the Ohio Department of Health to provide additional information regarding the collection of health data related to the positive COVID-19 testing to ensure local governments establish an improved understanding of the virus and to implement the best policies to preserve quality of life in their respective communities.”
“The resolution is an expression,” Councilman Brian Lorenz told council Tuesday. “We’re having cases, data, and things of that nature come out, and we’re not getting accurate numbers…”
Lorenz said the inaccuracies in positivity rates are “hampering our ability to provide economic development,” citing the limited capacities and hours of businesses in the community.
“I want the best possible numbers to make the most sound decisions that we can possibly make,” Mayor Frank Bertone said.
Councilman Tom Counts said he has been impressed with DGHD Health Commissioner Sheila Hiddleson throughout this pandemic, and the best thing to do is to continue to lean to her and the experts when making decisions.
“If I’m trying to make a decision, I’m going to be consulting the experts, and Sheila has been very forthcoming on all of the information that she has available. To me, consulting the expert is the best thing you can do rather than to simply get data because, frankly, I’m not a health professional and data doesn’t mean much to me. You can ask for this (data), but I’m not sure that it’s all going to help.”
Vice Mayor Daniel Swartwout clarified that the intention of the resolution isn’t necessarily meant to better inform a city government. Rather, the resolution seeks to have the information shared with Hiddleson and the DGHD so that they, as the experts, can make more informed decisions around Delaware County.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-o904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.