Collaboration helps speed emergency care

BATAVIA, OH — At 11:44 a.m. Feb. 20, an elderly male on a trail at Sycamore Park experienced difficulty breathing. He called 911 on his cell phone, unable to move from the spot several hundred yards off the main parking lot area.

Thanks to earlier collaboration among a number of governmental units, first responders pinpointed the man’s location and brought care within minutes.

Clermont County Public Safety Services, the GIS Division in Community and Economic Development, the Central Joint Fire-EMS District, Clermont County Water Resources and Clermont Soil and Water had worked together to bring more-precise digital maps to dispatchers and first responders.

Through sophisticated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), the GIS Division had collaborated with the other entities on the upgraded maps.

“It just goes to show that things that go on behind the scenes can have such a large impact,” said Greg Bickford, Assistant County Administrator. “Who would think that mapping out trails would someday lead to service by first responders?”

John Kiskaden, Director of Public Safety Services, said: “Dispatcher Daniel Cayse used the tools in our toolbox to locate the individual rapidly. One of these tools was that GIS went in and put river mile markers for us. Without these tools in the toolbox, the dispatcher had a harder time doing the job. This time everything worked correctly: The dispatcher got the call, they were able to use the river mile markers to narrow down where the distressed individual was. From the time we received the call to the time of the patient contact was 10 minutes. That’s pretty good. In this case, everything turned out OK.”

GIS Administrator Kelly Perry added: “The dispatcher was fantastic in knowing that they could attach the call to the closest verifiable point, which in this case was a river mile marker and not an address point. They were able to show that the patient was not at the main part of the park, near the entrance, but down a trail. The dispatcher realized if they attached to call to the address, that the responder would have to figure out where he was. They might have known he was down a trail, but the cell phone data allowed them to pinpoint where he was.”

Perry explained that prior to “river miles” being added to the system, the call would have been attached to the address point. River miles markers are digital map markers showing distances from the mouth of a river or stream. Having these markers in the CAD mapping serves to provide additional “verifiable locations” which dispatchers can use as the location for a call.

This change goes back to January 2020, when Joe Stoffolano of Central Joint Fire and EMS had asked GIS if they could get river miles into their system so they could practice swift water rescue. At the time GIS was shorthanded and didn’t have the time to digitize river miles. Perry found United States Geological Service (USGS) maps with river miles handwritten on them. She was able to overlay them, in pre-planning maps, but not in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD). So Perry asked Bill Mellman at Water Resources if he had knowledge of river miles or could digitize. He did some digging and found that Clermont Soil and Water had an intern from Miami University, who did the digitizing for GIS. Mellman scrubbed them and sent them to GIS. GIS Analyst Chris Bussell got the points added into the CAD.

“We’re on a statewide 911 system and we do quarterly updates for them,” Perry said. “Wouldn’t you know that the update had happened the day before, but we knew we didn’t want to wait. Chris Bussell reached out to a state contact and explained the situation. He made an exception and got them into the map right then.”

Perry recalled that Stoffolano emailed and thanked the team. She responded that river miles were great, but it would be better to have trail markers in the GIS and CAD system. Since then, Perry has reached out to Chris Clingman, Clermont County Park District, to get even more detailed location points into the system.

Kiskaden said the GIS Division works in unison with Public Safety Services’ CAD administrator Dominick Daulton and project manager Jessica Wiederhold to make sure that all 911 addressing is current and up to date with phone companies. They also work to make sure that mapping is updated for first responders’ mobile data.

“Location is key,” Kiskaden said. “If you don’t know where people are, you can’t help them. The longer it takes you to find them, it can be critical or life-threatening.”

Michael McNamara, Director of Clermont County Community and Economic Development, added: “The bottom line is that our behind-the-scenes work at Public Safety Services and in our GIS Division means a big difference when somebody is in distress. Departments working together, and our employees going the extra mile, make a big difference in the lives of Clermont County citizens.”

Crase joins Clermont County as Chief Building Official

BATAVIA, OH — Bruce Crase returned to the Clermont County Permit Central on Feb. 22 as our new Chief Building Official.

Since 2013, Crase served as Chief Building Official and Senior Plans Examiner for the Hamilton County Building Department. In 2006-2013, he was Master Plans Examiner in the Clermont County Building Department.

Crase, a Clermont County resident, has been an architect since 2001. He studied architectural design at the University of Cincinnati and civil engineering at Shawnee State University. Crase brings over 40 years of design and construction industry experience to the county.

“Our entire team is excited to have Bruce at the helm of our Building Division,” said Mike McNamara, Director of Community and Economic Development.  “He has an unmatched wealth of knowledge and experience, and the Commissioners jumped at the chance to bring him here.”

Crase says he is happy to return to Clermont County and that we have a great team here that will enable us to provide the best customer service possible to the public.

How flooding could affect communities near river

BATAVIA, OH — A flood warning has been issued for the Ohio River in Clermont County until 1 a.m. Sunday, March 7.

Potentially impacted townships include: Pierce, Ohio, Monroe, Washington and Franklin. Villages: New Richmond, Moscow, Neville, Chilo and Felicity. See BCC Briefing 03.03.21 by Pam Haverkos, director, Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, for more details.

To see how the flood could impact the Village of New Richmond, see: http://www.newrichmond.org/flood-information.html

In the Village of Moscow, contact Andrew Gephardt, Village of Moscow Administrator 513.553.6870 or e-mail at agephardt@villageofmoscow.org.

The County GIS Interactive Map has the flood layers – https://maps.clermontcountyohio.gov/apps/FloodStages/.  It also includes road closures.

 

County receives early update on 2021 revenues

BATAVIA, OH — The Board of County Commissioners got an early look at 2021 sales tax revenues on Feb. 24.

Clermont County’s February sales tax allocation from the State of Ohio reflects a 4-percent increase when compared to the same month a year ago. Mary Rains, director of the county’s Office of Budget and Management, noted that the numbers are for November sales, as there is a lag until the county actually receives tax distributions.

Rains said that sales tax revenues are running better than the 2-percent increase budgeted for this year.

Tax revenue from auto sales was down 9 percent, but the use tax (which includes tax on internet sales) was up 34 percent year over year. A Supreme Court decision allowed states to charge tax on purchases made from out-of-state sellers starting in mid-2019, even if the seller does not have a physical presence in the taxing state.

Quick action by Animal Shelter team saves dog from gunshot wound

BATAVIA, OH — Thanks to quick action by the Clermont County Animal Shelter’s team, a pit bull mix named John Wick survived a gunshot wound.

The Animal Shelter became involved after receiving a call from a concerned citizen who had brought two stray pit bull mixes into her home due to inclement weather. The dogs, both over 2 years old, appeared to be siblings.

A neighbor had shot John Wick with a 45-caliber gun after he attacked her cat.

“The dog is friendly with people,” said Caleb Peterson, the shelter’s director. “But his natural prey instinct most likely led him to the cat.”

Deputy Dog Warden Aaron Horsley crawled under a porch to retrieve the injured John Wick. He took the dog to an animal hospital. Miraculously, no vital organs had been hit.

The shelter paid the hospital bill of almost $2,000.

Peterson reports that John Wick has been “sweet, interacting with everyone” while recovering at the shelter. He will remain at the shelter for the next couple of weeks, until drains and sutures are removed.

Once renovations are complete and a fee schedule is set, the shelter will open to the public. The dogs will become available for adoption. Until then, after a stray hold (giving owners time to claim the dogs) expires, a rescue can pull the dogs and make them available for adoption.

“We could have euthanized the dog, but we continue to strive to be a no-kill shelter,” Peterson said. “We do everything we can to prevent euthanasia, and have been 100 percent successful since opening on Jan. 1.”

Emergency program helps Clermont County residents with rent, utilities

BATAVIA, OH (Feb. 10, 2021) — Clermont County residents who have fallen behind on rent and utility payments (except telephone, cable and Internet) due to the pandemic can get financial help through a new program.

The Board of County Commissioners today approved a Clermont County Job and Family Services’ contact with Clermont County Community Services to administer the Emergency Rental Assistance Fund. Clermont County received $6.1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for renters through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

This program covers rental payments that are late and overdue as well as utility payments, including gas, electric, fuel oil, trash removal, and water and sewer. Telecommunication services (telephone, cable and internet) are not eligible expenses.

Applicants must have filed their taxes this year, as their 1040 will be used to verify income eligibility. They must have been unemployed due to COVID-19 or experienced a reduction in income due to the pandemic.

Eligible renter households may receive up to 12 months of past due payment assistance with direct payments made to the landlords and utility providers. Landlords may apply on behalf of the renter with their consent. Funding expires on Dec. 31.

Clermont County residents can apply by emailing Support@CCCSI.org or by going to www.CCCSI.org .

“Thank you to the county employees who worked diligently on the specifics of this program,” said Claire Corcoran, president of the Board of County Commissioners. “This funding will not only benefit renters who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the landlords who have been impacted by the loss of income.”

Commissioner David Painter said: “This will bring much-needed relief to many families. Additionally, this will help avoid future eviction filings that would have otherwise overwhelmed our local courts.”

“I’m glad we were able to help those struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic,” Commissioner Bonnie Batchler added.

 

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Become a Skywarn Weather Spotter for the National Weather Service

BATAVIA, OH — Here’s a great opportunity for public service for individuals with interests in weather and communication: Take a 2-hour virtual class led by a National Weather Service meteorologist to become a Skywarn Weather Spotter.
 
Skywarn spotters volunteer to become the “eyes and ears” of the National Weather Service. Spotters serve their community by acting as a valuable source of information when dangerous storms approach.
Classes are free, open to the public, and require registration via the links provided in each course description below.
 
Each class lasts covers techniques and safety for severe weather spotting. Once you attend a class, you will receive instructions for filling out online registration forms to officially become a trained spotter and can report severe weather to your NWS office.
 
During the webinar, a National Weather Service meteorologist will teach you how to properly identify and report significant weather events that have an impact on the safety of your community, such as damaging winds, hail, heavy rain and tornadoes.
 
At this time, there are no in-person spotter training courses scheduled for the 2021 spring season.
 
The National Weather Service encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such as amateur radio, to participate as a Skywarn storm spotter. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.
 
Spotter Webinar 1: Friday, February 19, 2021 (1 PM – 3 PM):
Spotter Webinar 2: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 (7 PM – 9 PM):
Spotter Webinar 3: Thursday, March 4, 2021 (7 PM – 9 PM):
Spotter Webinar 4: Monday, March 8, 2021 (6 PM – 8 PM):
Spotter Webinar 5: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 (6 PM – 8 PM):
Spotter Webinar 6: Saturday, March 27, 2021 (12 PM – 2 PM):
This information and registration links are also available at the spotter training website — https://www.weather.gov/iln/spotter training schedule.

Calls to 528-SAVE crisis hotline increase

BATAVIA, OH — Ongoing stress due to the pandemic has contributed to increased calls to the Clermont County 528-SAVE Crisis Hotline the past several months. The Clermont County Crisis Hotline has seen a 21-percent increase in the number of calls in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020, as compared to the previous 12 months. The hotline has also seen an increase in the number of suicidal/crisis calls.

“The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to take its toll,” said Lee Ann Watson, associate director, Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board. “This has been a challenging time for nearly everyone, especially those with possible underlying behavioral health concerns.”

Clermont County has the second-highest suicide rate in Southwest Ohio and is 13th in the state per 100,000 for suicide deaths. Fortunately, there has not been an increase in suicide deaths in 2020.  People appear to be reaching out for help more than in previous years.  But there is still reason for concern. While the suicide deaths have decreased in 2020, one death by suicide is too many.

Watson asks people to recognize warning signs and know how to reach out for help.  It is important to know the warning signs and the resources to seek help because likely people who are depressed and at risk for suicide are not often motivated to seek help. Losses such as the end of a relationship, death of a loved one or loss of employment, all of which are situations that can be occurring during COVID-19, can increase the risk for depression.

Common Warning Signs of Acute Suicide Risk

The following are not always communicated directly or outwardly:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,
  • Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

Additional Warning Signs:

  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Giving away prized possessions or seeking long-term care for pets

(Source: American Association of Suicidology)

Help is available 24/7 through the Clermont County Crisis Hotline at 528-SAVE (7283).  The Hotline is staffed by trained and licensed mental health providers who can assist with connection to needed services.  There is also a crisis text line that can be accessed 24/7.  Text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741.    

High-risk groups: Men, those 65 and older
Middle-aged men and individuals over the age of 65 comprise high-risk groups in Clermont County, similar to national trends. Men have always had a higher rate of suicide death than females, but the number of males dying from suicide has significantly increased. During 2019, 37-percent of the suicide deaths were men between the ages of 40-59.  This is a 100-percent increase in the number of deaths in 2019 of this age group compared to 2018.  In 2020, 88 percent of the suicide deaths were men.  Of those, 23 percent were aged 40-49, and 26 percent were aged 60-69.

While it is often difficult for men to reach out for help, it is important for men to remember that now more than ever “it is ok not to be ok” and that feeling overwhelmed is not a sign of weakness.  Seeking help is a sign of strength.  Mental health professionals are available to assist with the specific needs and concerns of men.  Further, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Mental Health found that receiving support from a trusted and respected friend can be an effective suicide prevention strategy for men. Forming connections with other people who are going through the same thing can also be helpful.

The Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition is working to decrease suicide in our County through increasing knowledge of warning signs, and availability of treatment. If you are interested in joining the Coalition, please contact Lee Ann Watson at (513) 732-5400.

 

Number of overdose deaths decline; meth use increases

With regard to unintentional fatal overdose deaths, Clermont County has seen a decrease in deaths over the past three years.

The decrease in deaths can be partially attributed to the wide spread distribution of Naloxone to county residents. While the overdose deaths have decreased, nonfatal overdoses are still occurring in Clermont County, albeit less than in previous years.

Regarding non-fatal overdoses, the County was ranked 16th in the state in 2019 for the number of Naloxone administrations (387 doses; Ohio EMS, 2019). This ranking is based on number of administrations, not by population. For the first three quarters in 2020, Clermont is ranked 17th in the state for number of Naloxone administrations (315; Ohio EMS, 2020). The number of administrations is underreported since not all the EMS departments in Clermont County report the use of Naloxone, and the figures do not include the Naloxone utilized by law enforcement.

Clermont County saw a surge in nonfatal overdoses in the summer months of 2020, but the overdoses have now decreased to lower than in the previous year.  There continues to be “hot spots” in Clermont County where overdoses are occurring:  Union Township; New Richmond and Felicity.

Use of stimulants, particularly methamphetamine, has substantially increased in Clermont County. The degree of complexity related to stimulant misuse has impacted the county. A large portion of the homicides in 2019 were related to stimulant misuse. Individuals on meth can have extreme paranoia and often aggressive behavior, and difficult to engage in treatment.

The CCMHRB’s substance use disorder treatment provider has seen an increase in treatment admissions for stimulant misuse in the last year (14 percent), and the local hospital also reports an increase in the rate of admissions to the Emergency Department (ED) and the behavioral health unit due to meth misuse.

Individuals who are brought into the ED under the influence of meth most often have to be admitted to the behavioral health unit. Those stays are often long since it is taking several days for the individual to clear.

Clermont County Children’s Protective Services has also reported a substantial increase in the number of children in custody due to stimulant use disorders. In 2019, more than 30 percent of the cases were related to methamphetamine.  The number of cases has increased in 2020 as reported by CPS.

Stimulant misuse differs greatly from opioid misuse.  Due to the nature of the drug, individuals actively using stimulants are often not able to engage in discussions related to treatment, and therefore outreach to attempt to engage them in treatment is not successful as it has been for individuals using opioids.  Further, many individuals with a stimulant use disorder do not believe they have an addiction, and therefore do not voluntarily enroll in treatment.  The CCMHRB’s contract substance use disorder treatment provider reports that in 2019, 21 percent of clients identified stimulants as their primary drug of choice, while 34 percent identified opioids as their primary drug of choice.

 

Wolff to lead statewide suicide prevention effort

BATAVIA, OH — Mary Makley Wolff has been named associate director for the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, starting Feb. 8.

Wolff, a Miami Township trustee, for the past six years has served as director of the Coalition for a Drug Free Clermont County.

“I’m proud of the work we are doing building the coalition in Clermont County, including getting funding for years 1-5 and now 6-10,” Wolff said. “And now I’m looking forward to helping build a robust statewide suicide prevention coalition.”

Wolff sees parallels between her work for the drug free coalition and the suicide prevention foundation.

“We want to make sure our communities are responding as best as they can, now that we are in the COVID-19 era,” Wolff said. “It’s such a rough time for people with the isolation associated with pandemic.”  Strong communities have strong community level prevention activities and policies happening everywhere.

For example, Wolff said teens are getting shamed if they test positive and cause a whole team to quarantine. They can find themselves under attack on social media.

“We know social media is both good and bad,” Wolff said. “It provides connection, but cyber-bullying and too much screen time make a problem worse.”

Her main focus at first in the new job includes: Seeking grants for capacity building and furthering a partnership with the Voinovich School at Ohio University and Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services to build an understanding of how to build a coalition. She will assist OU and local staff in building an advocacy group among coalitions to see if policy or law changes need amending so more people may be helped.

With assistance 30 partners across the state had developed the first Statewide suicide prevention plan. The plan focuses on prevention, intervention and “postvention.”

Postvention involves helping survivors or family members who lost someone.

“We’re really good immediately after a tragedy,” Wolff said. “It’s the weeks and months later, when people have stopped bringing the casseroles and the survivor or family member has to grapple with this alone that provides the biggest challenges.”

Support groups have worked well in recovery from addiction and managing grief. Research shows that it helps to talk with someone who has walked the same path.

The plan identified three key groups with the strongest need: veterans, older male adults and youth.

“But we want to build a network inclusive of everybody,” Wolff said “I’m really looking forward to it. It builds off of work have done with drug prevention coalition. We all need to be prevention people: Faith community, law enforcement, educators…. We’ve got to share the message of being healthy and safe.”

For those interested in helping locally with either the Coalition for a Drug Free Clermont County or the Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition contact Lee Ann Watson, associate director of the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board at 732-5200.

Where you can go in Clermont County to get the COVID-19 vaccination

Submitted by Clermont County Public Health

Where can you get vaccinated?

Under Ohio’s vaccine plan, older adults can receive the vaccine according to the following schedule.

January 18 – Ohioans 80 years of age and older
January 25 – ages 75 and older and those with severe congenital or developmental disabilities
February 1 – ages 70 and older
February 8 – ages 65 and older.

Clermont County has several vaccine providers in the county where you can make an appointment.

HealthSource of Ohio
register online at www.healthsourceofohio.org
or call 513-732-5081

Kroger pharmacy
register online at www.kroger.com/ohiocovidvaccine
or call 866-211-5320

Meijer pharmacy
to register, text COVID to 75049 or visit https://clinic.meijer.com/
or call the pharmacy directly for assistance registering
Miami Township Meijer – 513-576-5510
Eastgate Meijer – 513-943-5710

Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital
call 1-866-624-0366 to schedule an appointment

Clermont County Public Health
to get on the waiting list and be contacted when an appointment is available, visit: https://ccphohio.org/covid-19-vaccine-info/ For assistance signing up for the waiting list or questions about COVID-19, call the Clermont County COVID-19 hotline at 513-735-8500.