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88 Counties in 88 days: Pandemic highlights concerns over limited medical options in Carroll County

In a county without a hospital, medical professionals say people are starting to come back for routine procedures

CARROLLTON, Ohio — Rosemary Brace is the manager at Mercy Medical Center in Carrollton. According to her, 26 of Ohio’s 88 counties don’t have a hospital. Carroll County is one of them. A local statcare is one of the few options nearby for medical treatment. Other than that, access to healthcare can be a stretch. Otherwise, Brace says, “you would have to drive 30 miles no matter which way you go.”

Mercy Medical Center is the only urgent care for Carroll County community members who need a surgery or special procedure done. 

“When you look at Carrollton, it's more rural,” said Barabara Frustaci, Administrative Director of Ambulatory Services at Mercy Medical Center. “We don't have an urgent care on every corner like you would see in Columbus or Cleveland.”

For residents like Kylie Harris, healthcare is important. She believes she would not be standing here today, with her son, without it.

“My healthcare has covered my medical expenses and my mental health expenses,” she said. “So if it wasn't for that I definitely wouldn’t be where I am right now.”

For other members of the community, healthcare and COVID-19 aren’t as big a concern. Trese Varney says she thinks the COVID-19 pandemic is one thing that probably will never get “fixed,” and that people need to, “open their eyes as to what’s going on.”

“The more we go along with what they want us to do, the more we’ll have other mandates,” she said. “Then you have to get a vaccine, then they’re going to want to do this to you then they're going to take your money away.”

Brace says at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Mercy saw fewer patients coming in. “I think they’re afraid sometimes,” Brace said. “They were in the beginning. But it’s gotten better.” Now, she says people are starting to come in at a steadier pace, especially for more routine screenings; screenings, Brace says, a lot of people really need.