The Vinton County Health Department (VCHD) has been investigating a recent outbreak of COVID-19 linked to Locust Grove Church, which is located on Locust Grove Road a Creola.

In a news release issued Saturday afternoon, Oct. 17, VCHD reported that to date, there have been 11 COVID-19 positive cases associated with this outbreak. The affected individuals reportedly attended services in the period from Oct. 7-10. VCHD says the COVID-19 positive individuals reside in Vinton, Jackson and Highland counties.

According to a post of the Locust Grove Church’s Facebook page, a Fall Revival was conducted at the church Oct. 7-10, with the general public invited to attend. On Saturday, the church suspended services for the remainder of October and posted the following message: “Locust Grove Church is suspending services until Nov. 1st as a precaution due to positive COVID in the church community. Please call Pastor Bill or Jimmy for prayer requests. May God Bless you all!” The post ended with a Bible verse: "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you".1st Peter 5:7.”

“We have contacted the identified close contacts and they have been given instructions to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms,” a VCHD spokeswoman said. “VCHD will be in contact daily with these individuals for monitoring of temperatures and symptoms. VCHD is urging all attendees of services during this time period, to conduct daily symptom assessments. If symptoms do develop, please isolate and contact your primary care provider immediately.”

The Locust Grove Church has a long, long history in Vinton County as it was founded in 1848, two years before Vinton County was established.

Vinton County currently has a total of 85 cases, with 25 active cases. “This is the highest number of active cases that we have experienced,” the VCHD spokeswoman noted. “COVID-19 can present with a wide range of symptoms including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting or loss of taste or smell. Any person who develops new symptoms should stay home, limit their contact with others, and immediately contact their healthcare provider.”

According to VCHD, people can protect themselves and help prevent further infections in our communities by:

Staying home when you are sick.

Avoiding contact with people who are sick.

Washing hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.

Covering your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, then wash your hands.

Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Cleaning and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces often.

• Avoiding close contact with others.

Wearing a facial covering that covers your mouth and nose when in public areas

VCHD would like to remind the public that it does not conduct COVID-19 testing. Testing is available at all area hospitals. VCHD is sharing information as it becomes available on the VCHD Facebook page, Twitter (@VintonCoHD) and on our website: www.vintonohhealth.org. Information is also available on: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus, www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

For questions regarding COVID-19, residents can call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center, 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).