​Local COVID-19 cases likely underreported; Douglas fir seedling giveaway announced

By Angela Shepherd
Village of Greenfield

Local positive COVID-19 cases are likely not an accurate representation of the actual numbers, Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin reported at the village’s virtual council meeting on Tuesday, April 21.
Highland County is currently reporting seven positive, lab-confirmed cases and one probable case, the city manager said.
This is interesting because the definitions and tracking of COVID-19 cases has evolved a bit,” Wilkin said. “I think it is safe to say that since we have limited access to testing our numbers may actually be underreported. Some think the change in the definition is only a way to inflate the COVID-19 numbers, but I agree with Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner that the numbers of positive cases are probably underreported due to lack of testing.”
Greenfield healthcare provider Charley Roman recently acquired 100 rapid-test kits. He has used approximately 75 of those and had 19 positive tests -- four individuals with active symptoms and 15 individuals testing antibody-positive. It is important to note that the rapid tests are not officially FDA approved, however, the tests could be accurately reporting positives, Wilkin said.
The Health Department is working with Roman and reporting these tests to the state as directed by the state, Wilkin said. Roman said he has approximately 20 tests left, but is hopeful to receive 100 more by next week.
We are continuing to learn through this virus and have found different ways to lead through the crisis,” Wilkin said. “We don’t fully understand how the government will be re-opening the state and allowing commerce to commence, but we know we need to do it slowly.”
The city manager continues to meet daily via conference call with the Highland County EMA (Emergency Management Agency). 
The city manager in his report also touched on the village-wide event where, on April 20 at 8:20 p.m., people across Greenfield turned on their porch lights as a way to recognize the class of 2020 that is missing out on so many senior-year milestones due to the pandemic. During the event, the football field lights and lights at the softball field at Mitchell Park were also lit, and the Presbyterian Church played the McClain alma mater from its bell tower. Wilkin said the event was a testament to the community support.
What also occurred, though unknown to the village or school officials, was a group of about 50 or so seniors gathering on the football field to take a picture together. That photo has made the rounds on social media, and the village has received negative calls regarding it.
Wilkin, in his report, made it clear that neither the village or the school had any knowledge that anything like a group photo was going to take place. 
The village has been in contact with school officials regarding plans that are in development to hold some sort of graduation, and the village intends to accommodate wherever is needed to help the graduates be recognized, Wilkin said. However, it was noted that the action of so many students ignoring the social distancing recommendations underscores the need to be more cautious when carrying out these plans.   

Douglas fir seedlings to be distributed April 24
In other news, every year the village distributes tree seedlings to first graders in observance of Arbor Day. Since that annual event has been canceled this year, the Douglas fir seedlings will go to whomever would like them on a first come, first served basis. Tree Commission member Ron Coffey will be outside the city building on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested can drive up and receive their bundle of seedlings.
Coffey said he will park his green Chevy S-10 pickup truck near the city building where anyone interested can drive through Gen. Hull Place and take home the young trees. He will observe social distancing as required due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
These Douglas firs are pretty small and will need watering and some tender loving care,” Coffey said, “but we hope a good number of them will survive.” 
For those wanting seedlings but are unable to come in person, Coffey has offered to make delivery after 2 p.m. if they will call the city offices at 937-981-3500. Just leave your name and address. “I will be happy to bring them to your home if we have any left after 2 p.m.,” Coffey said.
Resources and tips for planting, watering, and caring for the trees can be found on the VIllage of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page. 

Village offices remain closed to public
As a reminder, village offices are closed to the public until at least May 1 when Ohio’s current stay-at-home order expires. Residents can pay their water and sewer bills by phone by calling 937-981-2082, online through a link on the village’s website at greenfieldohio.net, by dropping off your payment in either the drop box on the first floor of the city building or in the drop box in the alley behind the city building, or by setting up a recurring payment from a bank account with the water department. If there is other business to be handled with the village offices, call at 937-981-3500. For building department correspondence, email Holly Ellinger at hellinger@greenfieldohio.net. For questions about council meetings and/or committee meetings, email Roberta Karnes at rkarnes@greenfieldohio.net. To contact city manager Todd Wilkin, email him at citymanager@greenfieldohio.net
If someone has concerns about their health, they should call their healthcare provider and explain the situation. There are numbers available for people to contact to ask questions and seek out guidance if they are sick. Those are: the Ohio Department of Health, 833-427-5634; the Highland County Health Department, 937-393-1941; and the Adena COVID-19 hotline, 740-542-7233.
I want to thank our employees, the public, and our business partners through this tough time and for their patience and consideration,” Wilkin said at the conclusion of his report. “We are stronger together as a community, as a state, and as the United States of America. 
We hear so much information through the media that we struggle to understand all of it, but through it all, we are all human beings made in the image of God, and as long as we work together and pray, we’ll see better days.”    
A banner, donated by Hillsboro to Greenfield, reflecting the city manager’s sentiment is now hanging at the intersection of Jefferson and Washington streets.