Rural Northeast Ohio communities ask for more COVID-19 resources

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 7:52 PM EST
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TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The struggle for small rural towns to fight COVID continues. The lack of resources is the issue.

This holiday season, COVID spread like wildfire. Some people experienced mild symptoms, but some didn’t.

“They say it was a mild variant. But my experience at least it was not mild whatsoever,” said Harry Spring.

Spring and his Girlfriend MacKenzie Vance live in Tuscarawas County. He got a bad case of COVID right before Christmas. He wasn’t vaccinated. His terrifying fear of needles was holding him back from doing so.

“After about eight to nine days, my fever wasn’t getting any better. We went to urgent care, and they took a chest x-ray. I figured my COVID turned into Pneumonia in my right lung. It was the sickest I think I’ve ever been,” said Spring.

Tuscarawas County’s local hospitals and the health department have been tested over and over again by this pandemic.

“We can only do so much,” said Amy Kaser, the Director of Nursing at Tuscarawas County Health District.

It’s been an overwhelming two years for the healthcare world, especially in rural counties where resources and transportation are limited.

“And I feel a lot of times these pop-up clinics that have been going on in the bigger cities, we’re still here trying to do what we can be feeling like we haven’t had that support like some of the bigger cities have, and that’s been a hardship for us,” said Kaser.

Dr. Cody Turner is the Chief Medical Officer at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital.

“The problem that we’re really facing now is with a smaller hospital with resource limitations that some of the other hospitals don’t have,” said Turner.

With limited resources, Turner knows having people vaccinated will play out in the hospital and health departments’ favor.

“I think the place where the vaccines are incredibly helpful and most beneficial is your much less likely to end up in the hospital. You’re much less likely to end up in the ICU. And you’re much less likely to die from COVID if you’re vaccinated,” said Turner.

Spring is thankfully feeling much better and will face his fear of needles and get the shot.

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