PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (WJW) – Ottawa County health officials said results of weekend COVID-19 testing at Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island indicate there is not a hotspot on the island.
Local and state health officials and the Ohio Army National Guard conducted nearly 1,000 tests at the Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department on Friday and Saturday following an outbreak tied to island businesses three weeks earlier.
“This included employees, this could’ve included residents, it could’ve included tourists. We didn’t turn anybody away,” said Ottawa County Health Commissioner Jerry Bingham. “I think by doing this testing on Put-in-Bay, it gave us an idea of how many people could be positive on the island.”
Bingham said of 984 people tested, 66 tests were positive so far. That positivity rate is about 6.94 percent, which is only slightly higher than the state’s 7-day moving average of 6.1 percent. Bingham said results were still pending in 33 cases Tuesday.
“It doesn’t really indicate we have a true hotspot over there, which is good. And so now we’re able to focus on those that are positive and isolate them so we can get control of this disease,” Bingham said.
Bingham said the health department is asking people who tested positive and their close contacts to isolate for two weeks.
“There were quite a few people that were asymptomatic that tested positive,” Bingham said.
The pandemic prompted some Put-in-Bay restaurants to shut down as a precautionary measure after employees tested positive for COVID-19 or came into contact with people who had.
Frosty’s remained closed Tuesday after the restaurant said a few staff members were identified as contacts of positive cases.
The Boardwalk had reopened after shutting down for a deep clean last week when an employee there tested positive.
Masks are required aboard the Miller Ferry and Jet Express but not required on South Bass Island.
Bingham encouraged island visitors to take precautions and avoid large groups.
“It’s a beautiful island, I encourage people to go. We just have to do it safely,” Bingham said.
He said there are currently no plans to conduct additional testing on the island.
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