Update from the Seneca County Health Commissioner

Update from the Seneca County Health Commissioner
April 30, 2020

We have entered a new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic after six weeks of many businesses being shut down by the Director’s order of March 22. Starting May 1, a gradual process to reopen businesses and stores has been issued by the Governor.  The principles guiding the Responsible RestartOhio plan are protecting the health of employees, customers and their families, supporting community efforts to control the spread of COVOD-19, and responsibly getting Ohio back to work.

On May 1, hospitals may resume procedures which do not require an overnight stay by the patient.   Also, medical and dental offices and veterinarian offices may open.  One issue that has been a problem for some of these offices is the lack of personal protective equipment that is available.  Therefore, some offices may not open until they have the supplies that will protect them as well as their patients.

Beginning on May 4, 2020, manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses as well as general office environments are allowed to reopen if they meet the mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees  Those requirements include:

  • Face coverings are recommended for all employees and visiting guests
  • Daily symptom assessment of employees
  • Ensure minimum six feet distance between people, if not possible , install barriers
  • Daily disinfect desks and workstations
  • Stagger lunch and break times
  • Frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer
  • Work from home if possible
  • Establish maximum capacity which should be 50% of fire code

Beginning on May 12, consumer, retail and services may reopen as long as they can meet the same mandatory safety requirements as those listed above.

Based on all the studies that have been done since the outbreak of COVID -19, we at the health department promote the use of facemasks or some type of face covering  along with social distancing as one of the best ways to reduce the spread of this virus.  That is why we strongly encourage people to obtain face coverings and wear them every time they go out in public.  Face coverings also need to be washed every day in hot soapy water to make sure any virus that is there is eliminated.

One of the most important functions of the health department in this pandemic is to do what is called contact tracing.  Whenever we are notified of a positive case of COVID-19, a detailed interview is done with that patient to determine where they have traveled and with whom they have been in close contact over the past two weeks. A  close contact is someone who has been in sustained, close contact of less than the six foot distance of the patient.  We ask employers that if they have an employee who becomes infected, it is important that we speak with the employees in your business that have been in close contact with the ill employee.

The Seneca County General Health District is here to answer any questions you may have and provide resources as is possible.  Please contact us at 419-447-3691 or visit our website at www.senecahealthdept.org

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