YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) -We’ve been following the number of new cases by the zip codes in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties.
Over the past two weeks, the 44514 zip code, primarily Poland, but also Brownlee Woods in Youngstown, has the most with 252 cases. That’s followed by Boardman, Austintown, Canfield, and northeast Warren and Champion.
But zip codes don’t always tell the whole story. Case in point – what’s happening in Salem.
Ask Salem Health Commissioner Alanna Stainbrook how the COVID-19 situation is, and she doesn’t mince words.
“We have a surge right now, as does everyone,” she said.
Salem is part of the 44460 zip code, which over the past two weeks has increased 134 cases or 22 percent. That’s not bad seeing that the East Liverpool-Calcutta area has increased 58 percent. But Stainbrook says the city of Salem itself has gone from 54 cases last month to 151 so far this month.
“With the population being a little over 12,000, that doesn’t seem like a lot but really it is,” Stainbrook said.
Stainbrook also has an idea of how it’s being spread.
“I would presume that it is just from families getting together because that’s mostly what I am seeing. The husband gets it then the wife gets it then the children get it,” she said.
After describing how COVID-19 cases are rising in Columbiana County, Public Information Officer Laura Fauss said many people are saying they just thought it was allergies until it was too late.
“Three days we had an average of 88 per day, and that’s compared to what we were seeing before,” Fauss said. “Whenever they thought they just had allergies, they were going out to work or doing whatever and so that is continuing that spread we see.”
In Salem, unlike in March and April, when some of those testing positive required ventilators, many of the cases they’re seeing now are people with minor symptoms.
“Yes, we have some hospitalizations, but they are not on ventilators. They just need to be hospitalized for oxygen,” Fauss said.
As for why Poland is so high, Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro says he’s heard of no one event, but he talked with Mahoning County health commissioner Ryan Tekac who told him Poland has several assisted living centers and also a high number of medical professionals, which may be part of the reason for the surge there.