Allen County Public Health

Update as of March 21, 2020

  • Situation Update
  • COVID-19 Information
  • Employer Guidance
  • Community Guidance
  • Links to Additional Resources – e.g. for schools, for businesses, for healthcare providers, for community members

 Situation Update

 Ohio

  • There are 169 confirmed cases in Ohio in 28 counties. There has been 1 death attributed to COVID-19.
  • The Ohio Department of Health is working with CDC and local health departments to effectively identify suspected cases of COVID-19 and maintain infectious disease monitoring to prevent the spread. 

 Allen County

  • Allen County Public Health, in coordination with Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring COVID-19.
  • There are currently no confirmed cases in Allen County. However, due to the scope of COVID-19 in Ohio, ACPH believes that the coronavirus is in Allen County. Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Department health advises everyone to behave as if they do have the virus and act accordingly to keep from spreading the virus by following the guidelines listed below.
  • When ACPH is made aware of a positive case we will inform the public.

 COVID-19 Information

 You can only get sick with COVID-19 if you come in contact with the virus. Generally it is spread person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

  • Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled in the lungs.
  • The novel coronavirus causes the disease known as COVID-19. Persons with ethnicities from high risk areas without travel history to those high risk areas are not a risk for spread of the disease.
  • There are several identified coronaviruses already in existence, just as there are several flu viruses. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning it is new, and has not been seen in humans before this outbreak. Previous diagnosis of a coronavirus infection did not involve this novel virus.
  • COVID-19 seems to cause the most serious illness in older adults and adults with other health conditions. Some people may only have a mild illness and can be cared for at home. Current data is showing that younger adults may be experiencing a higher risk in the United States than has been experienced in other countries. Please continue to monitor CDC.gov for information about the risk for various age groups.
  • Because the virus is new and there is little immunity against it, everyone can do their part to plan for reducing community spread. 

 Employer Guidance:

 Please keep in mind this is a rapidly evolving situation and guidance may change as we learn more about the virus. New information is highlighted.

 The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Runny nose, sore throat and sneezing is rare. If you believe an employee has symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC recommendation is that you send them home. If they have serious symptoms, they should call their health care provider. The CDC recommends employers do not require a health care provider’s note to validate the illness or return to work of employees sick with acute respiratory illness. Health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.

 In addition, do not require employees with symptoms to be tested for coronavirus before returning to work. Current testing guidelines limit who is eligible for testing to the sickest and/or the most at risk of serious illness. An employee with mild symptoms may not need medical care and may not be suitable for testing. If you have an employee who has been seen by a health care provider and told to stay home for a period of time, they should follow the health care provider’s orders.

 When a person tests positive for COVID-19, a public health nurse follows up with them to identify close contacts to recommend self-quarantine.

 On 3/18, Governor DeWine announced recommendations about employee health. The following statement is from the Governor’s webpage:

 Governor DeWine today encouraged business owners to begin taking the temperature of employees when they arrive at work in an effort to identify anyone who is becoming ill. If this is not feasible, Governor DeWine asked that employers require workers to take their own temperatures prior to arriving at work. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher should self-quarantine with members of their household.

 You may find it beneficial to develop a policy to ensure employees understand what is expected of them, whether it’s to allow you to take their temperature or to self-monitor their temperature.

 In addition, employers should take steps to make sure the workplace is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly.

 Here are some resources for you to navigate this difficult and unprecedented time.

 Community Guidance

 1. Be informed.

  • Look to reliable sources for the most up-to-date information, such as Allen County Public Health, Ohio Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • COVID–19 is rapidly changing.  We are experiencing community spread in the United States and Ohio. Ohio experienced its first death from COVID-19 on March 21, 2020.
  • We expect guidance will change as the situation develops and we learn more about the virus.

 2.       Be prepared. 

  • Households should have a good supply of important items on hand, such as soap and hand sanitizer, and practice good hygiene at all times. Plan for all family members –keep extra medicines and pet food on hand. Families should have a plan of action in place if schools or childcare centers are dismissed.
  • Everyone must practice social distancing – only leave your home for essential activities. If you must go out, maintain at least 6 feet between you and other individuals at all times, and do not be present at gatherings where more than 10 people are present. Telework and telecommunicate whenever possible.

 3.       Protect yourself.

  • Take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs.
    • Stay home if you are ill.
    • Stay home if you are not ill too – practice social distancing.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
    • Cover coughs/sneezes with your arm.
    • Avoid exposure to others who are sick.

More information and planning resources are available at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov, or

Ohio Department of Health Call Center:   1-833-4-ASK-ODH

CDC.gov

www.allencountypublichealth.org

Facebook:   @AllenCountyPublicHealth

Twitter:   @ACPublicHealth

After Hours Emergency:  419-228-4457

Links to Additional Resources

  • Ohio Department of Health Call Center:  1-833-4ASK ODH

 

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