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Barnesville High goes remote as county COVID cases, deaths spike

Staff Report

BARNESVILLE - Classes at Barnesville High School switched to remote learning the week of Nov. 9 operating on Level 3 while elementary and middle school students remained on Level 2 or hybrid schedules.

Barnesville joined Union Local, St. Clairsville-Richland City Schools, East Richland Christian, and Shadyside Local schools on remote learning operations.

All high school athletics were also canceled.

During his weekly briefing for county commissioners, Deputy Health Director Robert Sproul reported three more deaths, now 28, .04 percent of the county’s residents. For months, the number stood at 25. The three were in their 60s, 80s, and 90s. For months, the death toll stood at 25, including nine who were inmates at the Belmont Correctional Institution.

Sproul reported 1,271 positive cases with 751 recoveries and nine hospitalized last week. He reported a large spike in positive tests, as is the case throughout most of the state. Halloween events, funerals, weddings, and workplace infections are the primary causes of the infections. The spread is all over the county and all sectors of the population, Sproul reported.

At a press conference last week, sister publication The Columbus Dispatch reports “Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine took action to curtail the exploding COVID-19 epidemic on Wednesday, threatening to close restaurants and bars, imposing a revised mask order that could briefly close businesses and cracking down on post-event gatherings.”

DeWine said businesses will be held responsible, and potentially closed for 24 hours, if they allow employees to not wear masks and permit customers to enter without wearing masks.

Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation agents will check compliance, with a first violation resulting in a warning and a second violation bringing an order for a business to close up to 24 hours.

The governor also said bars and restaurants could be ordered closed in a week from last Thursday if cases continue to increase.

"I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and the owners. But, these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus," he said. DeWine also said a new public health order will be issued in a few days to place “significant restrictions” on banquets, wedding receptions and gatherings following funerals.

“Specifically, open congregate areas can no longer be open. This requires everyone to be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks and prohibits things, such as dancing and games,” he said.

DeWIne warned that Ohio is at the most-crucial phase amid dramatically spiking cases. We are now seeing our third spike. But, this time, things are much different. We had been warned that when it got colder and drier and people were indoors more, the virus would rise up again. And it certainly has."

"This surge is much more intense, widespread, and dangerous. As of today, every single one of our 88 counties has a high rate of virus spread, and areas of our state that were previously untouched -- our rural areas -- are being hit especially hard," DeWine said