As life begins to return to some sort of normalcy with partial relaxation of the new coronavirus restrictions, Highland County Emergency Operations Center Public Information Officer Branden Jackman said local residents need to keep doing what they have been doing.
”Throughout all of this, it is the actions of the residents of Highland County that have made a difference. It’s your actions that have helped to flatten the curve and to not overwhelm local health care,” Jackman said in a Tuesday press release. “Now as we move into the phase where we start to see a glimmer of what life was before COVID-19 happened, we need to remain vigilant.”
He said that just like residents did in helping to flatten the curve over the last several weeks, now they are being asked to observe more guidelines as the dates of May 1, May 4 and May 12 approach.
”May 1st will allow for health care to start opening back up. Any and all procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed to be scheduled. This will greatly increase traffic and as such, our area hospitals are going to start requiring people to wear masks upon entering their facilities,” Jackman said. “Keep this in mind should you find yourself needing to enter Highland District Hospital or any of the Adena campuses.“
On May 4, all manufacturing, distribution and construction that was not already open will be able to reopen with stipulations.
”The stipulations to open are the points we’ve been talking on for weeks,” Jackman said. “All businesses that wish to reopen will have to maintain physical distancing either through physical space or barriers. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently. Sanitize high-touch surfaces. Stagger lunch and break times.”
Any employee that shows symptoms of COVID-19 should be isolated immediately, Jackman said, and the Highland County Health Department should be contacted right away. The health department’s phone number is 937-393-1941.
“These also apply to general office spaces as they attempt to reopen under this plan with the added requirement of limiting the number of people inside the building to 50 percent of their total occupancy set by the Ohio Fire Code. Your local building officials and fire departments are working diligently to try and obtain these numbers. If you don’t already know them, please be patient as we work through this process,” Jackman said.
May 12 will see the opening of consumer retail and services, some of which have been closed for more than a month.
”Those businesses will be subject to the same conditions as we mentioned for other sectors as well as limiting occupants of the building to less than 50 percent of their total occupancy allowed,” Jackman said.
He said local emergency personnel hoped to have more details from the written orders from the state, but those orders had not been released by late Tuesday afternoon.
If you are making cloth masks and would like to donate them to the Highland County Emergency Operations Center, Jackman asked that the center be notified by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to have them picked up. He said all donated masks will be return to the community through the center’s partners after being laundered and sanitized.
“As Governor DeWine mentioned, masks are not going to be mandatory, but just as many things have been throughout this, it is highly recommended to wear a mask to protect yourself and your fellow Highland Countians from spreading the coronavirus,” Jackman said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the public information officer said, Highland County had confirmed 12 total cases of COVID-19. Of those, six have been marked as recovered. Of the six that are actively sick, three are lab confirmed and three are probable cases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and one was hospitalized.
“Please remember as we prepare to start another month,” Jackman said. “We’re all in this together. Be nice.“