Even small towns affected by COVID-19

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ohio farm

“In sharing the journey of life, travel with the humble person on the quiet path.” 

— Anonymous 

This is a time in history that many of us will remember in very different ways. I have, over the past six months, been even more grateful than ever to live on a quiet and secluded farm.

My very small hometown has always felt like my port in the storm, no matter what went on in the larger world. We felt so safe from the ravages of this worldwide pandemic as we watched it march from China to Italy and beyond, then to the United States.

One of my daughter’s life-long friends told me recently, “I’ve begged my grandparents to let me shop for them, or to just get what they need at the little store in Jeromesville … I do everything I can to keep them safe from this virus.”

Local

Our little village of Jeromesville, Ohio, is now in the local news and on the Cleveland news for an outbreak of COVID-19. The origin of the cases has been traced to the village’s small American Legion. I personally know seven people here who have tested positive. It would be hopeful and naive to think it will remain a count that low.

The health department estimates another 55 people have been exposed through the initial five people known to have contracted it at the American Legion.

Not a hoax

There are still people who call this a hoax. It is not. Symptoms can be very mild, or nightmarish enough to beg for breath.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, it is here, and no one wants to suffer the roll of the dice on how it will impact each individual. I believe we have to be wise enough and humble enough to respect its power and its possibilities.

Some people are saying “all the tests they run are positive.” That also is not true. I know several who have tested negative. One husband tested positive, his wife negative; they are the grandparents of the girl I had talked to a couple months ago about her desire to keep them safe.

Another couple both ended up taken to the hospital by squad and have suffered terribly. A man in his 40s was perhaps the first of this outbreak to be hospitalized for a long week. He finally was able to go home, only to return to the hospital that night, transported by the emergency squad.

Just when a patient needs comfort the most, everyone must stay away.

Comments

It bothers me to read comments from people who do not know the facts and probably have never even visited our community after the Cleveland Fox 8 news carried the story of Jeromesville’s outbreak.

“News media hypes everything,” one woman wrote on the Facebook posting that carried the news clip. “It even said one man died of Covid and was really killed in a car wreck.”

Not true

Not one bit true. Another woman wrote that all the people who had tested positive knew it and went to a meeting at the Legion anyway. This is not true even in the slightest. From my hometown of about 600 people, one man is dead, more are suffering and even more will be tested because they are experiencing symptoms. That is our truth in my close-knit community.

Just when my town would normally turn out to support and comfort one another, we must isolate and be mindful that this virus can land anywhere.

Another truth, I would argue, is this virus might be “no big deal” until it hits someone you love. The day I received a text from my sister telling me her husband is one who tested positive is a day I won’t forget. Even more crushing, my sister who has been the great protector since the day I was born, let me know a week later that she, too, is positive.

History

The experiences of our country fighting the Spanish flu of 1918 show us there was division among citizens then, as now. Wearing gauze face masks was legislatively mandated in San Francisco. Those who refused were known as “mask slackers” and the battle raged over quarantine orders.

People had far less to entertain themselves at home then than we have now, and still people complain of being asked to isolate at home as much as possible.

Our present pandemic is a story unfolding, and only time will provide clarity. We have no idea of long-term health implications, even in mild cases.

We humans are an interesting bunch, some accused of over-reacting while others refuse to act at all. Kindness and consideration is what this world needs, and it costs nothing to give. I wish you all much better days ahead, and may your community remain safe as we weather this storm.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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