Information courtesy of Madison County Public Health Commissioner Chris Cook
Public Information Release — Ohio has done a great job following state orders that led to flattening the curve. The work every Ohioan has done has made a difference. As much of the population looks to the future, it is important to continue to follow the guiding principles set by both state and local experts.
Here is what we know about COVID-19 and expect to see in the future:
- Social distancing and face coverings are as important as ever. With restrictions slowly lifted, the greatest protection each individual has is social distancing, face coverings, and hand hygiene. More openings lead to more risk, which means protective measures are critical! This is how we will live with the threat still hovering over us.
- Businesses remain a high risk for indoor exposure. Data has shown that the virus can stay in rooms for extended periods of times. This is why businesses have strict orders to protect employees and customers. However, it is just as important for businesses to not incentivize attendance which promotes sick people coming to work. Businesses should continue remote workforces where possible and work with Madison County Public Health (MCPH) when outbreaks occur; this is the most efficient way to have a healthy, reliable workforce over time.
- Mass gatherings will still be the last to be reinstated. Indoor activities are a bigger risk than outdoor events. Either way, a large number of people in any area still carries significant risk for exposures and outbreaks. The ban on mass gatherings will be the last order lifted.
- Small, well-planned outdoor events are likely going to occur in the near future. These small gatherings can only be successful if flow control, capacity limits, social distancing, symptom assessment, and limits on the length of events are used effectively, monitored, and enforced.
- Stay home if you have any (even one) symptom of COVID-19. COVID-19 affects everyone differently, including length of illness and symptoms. We do know that you can spread the virus if you have zero symptoms, one symptom, or all symptoms. The best thing to do is stay home and call your doctor to seek testing.
- If you are told to isolate, please follow the orders to stay home. MCPH staff, medical providers, and testing centers all deliver strict instructions to individuals to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are isolated because you are sick, or if you are quarantined because you had close contact with a COVID-19 case, follow our orders to stay home. There is no excuse to spread it to others!
- Watch periods show us how much the virus is spreading. Embrace and be patient with four-week watch periods. They allow public health experts to assess what impact relaxed orders have on COVID-19 spread. If there is minimal spread, then more things will open up. Slow steps forward are still progress.
- Continue to follow all the recommendations. We know that the limitations state and local experts set at the beginning of the year have been incredibly effective. As these orders are lifted, it is important to continue to follow all the recommendations. During this next phase of response to the pandemic, true success will be based on individual and collective efforts.
- Understand the need for a vaccine. A vaccine will be our biggest step forward towards normal life. Vaccines teach your body’s exceptional immune system how to attack COVID-19. When more people have this ability the risk of spreading the virus is reduced significantly.
- Madison County is still infected. COVID-19 is not gone. The treatment for this infection (like many medical treatments) is not fun. Our community-based treatment has been the limitation of our interactions with others. When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for a bacterial infection you don’t stop taking the medication when start to feel better. If you do this, the infection can return and become even worse. The same thing applies to our actions with COVID-19. If we stop everything that has been working so well we could see a large spike of cases and force us to implement closures again. COVID-19 will continue to be a threat. We all have an obligation to each other to take steps to limit the spread.
MCPH will continue to provide accurate local data on their website at covid.madisonph.org and on social media (@madisoncountyPH). If you have questions about COVID-19 you can contact Madison County Public Health at 740-852-3065 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call ODH COVID-19 Hotline for questions at 1-833-4ASK-ODH.