Acton Stresses Importance Of Social Distancing 'Coronavirus Is Amongst Us'

Mar 14, 2020

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio is now 26 and continues to climb, which was to be expected once community spread was detected. A big message from state health officials is that coronavirus is "amongst us" even if we don't see it.

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, says the coronavirus is spreading in the state, noting that epidemiologists predict up to 70% of people to get infected.

She urges that is why it's important for people to take the social distancing orders seriously.  

"We are not flying blindly. We have science behind us. We have pandemic plans. But we are now approaching that upsurge and we know that we must employ the mitigation strategies that we have," says Acton.

Health officials warned that mental health issues are bound to rise during pandemics, so the state lifted restrictions on telehealth so psychologists can meet with people on regular cell phones and video conferencing apps, like FaceTime.  

Lori Criss, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services director, listed tips for people experiencing fear and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ways to reduce fear/anxiety:

  1. Reinforce getting information from trusted resources
  2. Limit media exposure, plan time to catch up but also to step away
  3. Keep doing things you always do to release stress, such as exercise
  4. Pay attention to signs of stress in yourself, loved ones
  5. Avoid falling into unhealthy habits to address stress (i.e. eat well, get sleep)

On Saturday, there were 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 12 females, 14 males, and seven hospitalizations. The Ohio Department of Health says the age range for these cases span between 31-years-old and 86-years-old.

During a statewide update, Gov. Mike DeWine once again urged parents and guardians to take their kids out of daycare if they have the ability and means to do so.

DeWine left the door open for a possible public health order regarding daycares in the future. He also said there is likely to be more rules coming soon to possibly delay elective surgeries and to direct medical supplies to hospitals treating COVID-19 cases.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says there are ways people can help but still prevent the spread of the virus, this includes donating blood, donating to food banks, and checking-in on neighbors.

"If you're in a position to help, do so," says Husted.