City of Kent and Portage county health centers work to counter COVID-19 cases

Rachel Karas, General assignment reporter Amanda Levine, Sports editor

County Level

There are currently 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Portage County. Three people are hospitalized; one is in their 30s and a second is over 80, according to an article written by the Record Courier

At least four of the cases are adults, said Becky Lehman, the director of health education and promotion and the public information officer of the Portage County Combined General Health District. 

The first reported case in Portage County was reported on March 22 and the first reported case in Ohio was confirmed on March 9, according to an article from

The Portage County Combined General Health District office has closed all walk-in services to help “flatten the curve and lessen the spread of COVID-19,” according to the Portage County Combined General Health District website. The office is still offering services but by appointment only, said Lehman. 

“We’re going to follow the Ohio Department of Health and Governor DeWine’s  recommendations as well as requirements. So, following that stay at home order that’s in effect right now, that’s imperative; we have to stop the spread,” Lehman said. “And we have to provide an infrastructure for our health care providers to be able to treat the patients with COVID-19 as well as the rest.” 

Lehman said they are also asking that people stay informed and reading information from sites like the Ohio Department of Health, the Portage County Health District website and the Kent State coronavirus update page.  

City Level

As of March 27, there is a confirmed case in the city of Kent. A 69-year-old male was hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Mike Anguilano, the accreditation coordinator and the public information officer for the Kent City Health Department, said that those numbers can change. Prior to the first confirmed case in Kent, a Kent firefighter, who did not reside in the area, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The firefighter has made a full recovery, is back to work and has been medically cleared, Anguilano said. 

Two weeks ago, Kent State students and residents of Kent participated in Fake Paddy’s Day, a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day the Saturday before the official holiday. Anguilano said it is unclear what the effects will be as social distancing wasn’t heavily enforced yet.

“College students, even if they get COVID-19, are likely to be asymptomatic;  don’t show anything or show mild symptoms and think it’s a cold,” he said. “So it’s hard to say the effects of St. Patrick’s Day specifically, but, it was very early on comparatively in this COVID-19 thing and a lot of people didn’t really know the effect of social distancing or how necessary it would be. But as we now know, it was pretty necessary.”

The Kent City Health Department will remain open and have 50 percent of their staff work remotely. The department will still perform vital statistical information like birth and death certificates. 

Portage County Health Department and Kent City Health Department have been working together to discuss any changes in regard to COVID-19. 

“They are a vital component to what we do and if anything happens in Portage County, we have to be aware. And if anything happens in Kent, they have to be aware. So we work together every single day,” Anguilano said. 

Amanda Levine is the sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].

Rachel Karas is a general assignment reporter. Contact her at [email protected].