UPDATED: Stay-at-home order begins at 11:59 p.m. Monday; Ohio now has 440 cases, 6 deaths


State issues order; county has first confirmed case

By Tom Barr - tbarr@wnewjs.com



CLINTON CO. – A laboratory confirmed a case of COVID-19 in Clinton County, it was announced Saturday morning by the Clinton County Health District, Board of Health and County Commissioners. A day later, Gov. Mike DeWine issued a “Stay at home” order for Ohioans.

The Clinton Countian with coronavirus is in their 30s and currently isolated at home. Out of respect for the patient’s privacy, no additional identifying information has been released, the CCHD stated, and they will monitor the patient during their isolation period. (The News Journal on Saturday, through the CCHD, requested an interview with that person, but has not heard back as of Monday afternoon.)

CCHD will be in daily contact with this individual and in conjunction with its partners at the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). They are taking every precaution to stop the spread of this virus. CCHD is identifying close contacts of this confirmed case, all of whom will be advised to self-quarantine.

Close contacts may include family members, co-workers, medical providers and others.

“Preventing the spread of diseases is the cornerstone of public health, and it is what we do every day. We investigate communicable disease on a daily basis to protect the health of those who live, work and play in Clinton County,” said Pamela Walker Bauer, Health Commissioner.

Across the state

As of Monday afternoon, Ohio has more than 440 cases and six deaths across 46 counties. Two nursing homes, in Troy and Tipp City, have confirmed coronavirus cases, while Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton confirmed its first case over the weekend.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration on Sunday enacted a stay-at-home order that would be enforced beginning Tuesday by local health departments and local law enforcement, and last for at least two weeks.

“This is a health order, it’s not a health suggestion, and so we would expect people to comply with it,” DeWine said at a news conference at his office.

He said the order includes things he’s already been asking residents to do, such as stay at home except for essential needs.

It also includes a list of businesses that are classified as essential and allowed to stay open, he said. The order is reasonable, he said, and keeping people at home and preventing transmission of the virus can help buy time so that the state’s hospitals do not become overwhelmed.

“If everybody cooperates, we’re going to save a lot of lives,” he said.

Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, said there is “an incredible shortage of testing,” so the available coronavirus tests are being conserved for the highest-risk patients.

DeWine’s order prohibits all gatherings, public and private, outside a single household, except for certain exceptions.

People may only leave their homes for reasons related to health and safety, to obtain necessary services or supplies, for outdoor activity, to take care of others or to perform a job deemed essential.

Leaving home for an ineligible reason is punishable by a second-degree misdemeanor.

Essential sectors designated by DeWine were broad. They include working in health care and government functions, including emergency management, law enforcement and human services. Grocery stores, hotels, funeral homes, laundromats, gas stations, pharmacies, hardware stores and banks are to remain open.

Jobs in transportation, utilities, municipal services construction and building and maintenance are also deemed essential.

However, businesses deemed essential must undertake measures that include social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and having separate opening hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.

Also, on Thursday, day care or child care centers will be subject to additional rules, including having no more than six children in a class.

A look at other coronavirus-related developments in Ohio on Monday:

The state is limiting testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers. The Ohio Department of Health says people with suspected symptoms should call a medical provider first, but seek immediate help if symptoms are serious, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.

Economy

Last week, nearly 140,000 Ohioans filed unemployment insurance claims in one week. State officials say these numbers dwarf any previous unemployment claims.

The previous high for a month came during the recession in December 1981, when 205,159 claims were filed for the entire month, according to the Department of Job and Family Services.

Elections, schools

Over the weekend, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose proposed a plan by which postage-paid absentee ballots would be sent to every Ohioan who hadn’t already voted in the March 17 primary, along with postage to return the form. LaRose also wants continued discretion to allow in-person voting on June 2 if Gov. Mike DeWine’s “stay at home” order is no longer in place.

The fate of the remaining school year, including graduation requirements and state-mandated testing, are among the top issues before lawmakers planning a return to Columbus this week to address challenges posted by the coronavirus.

What you can do

Social distancing is one of the most important things we can do to help slow the spread of this virus, according to the Clinton County Health District. During this difficult time, remember that we all share the same goal of decreasing illness and death from COVID-19.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or allow to air dry.

• Use at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

• Cover your mouth with a tissue or cough into your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

• Avoid touching your eyes, noses, or mouth with unwashed hands.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with people who are sick. Stay at least 6 feet away from each other.

• Clean “high-touch” surfaces often. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, desks, and tablets.

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State issues order; county has first confirmed case

By Tom Barr

tbarr@wnewjs.com