As we approach the unofficial mid-point of summer and celebrate the 4th of July, many of us are looking forward to spending time with friends and family. To go out to eat. To watch the kids or grandkids play sports. To find more ways to be together. Things we haven’t had the chance to do the last few months. We all want to return to normal. In order to do that, we must remain vigilant regarding COVID-19.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have started increasing in Franklin County and we are seeing daily case counts that mirror some of our worst days back in late April and early May. In total, as a county we have had more than 9,000 cases and 1,000 hospitalizations. Sadly, we’ve seen more than 400 of our residents pass away from COVID-19 -more than 100 in our health jurisdiction. That is why we must keep the same level of urgency that we had when the pandemic first started.
As the summer continues and we head back to school in the fall, the use of face coverings, along with proper handwashing and social distancing, is the best way to keep everyone safe and our businesses open. We appreciate the state’s efforts to make informed decisions regarding the reopening including the development of the Responsible Restart Ohio initiative. But as the data suggests, we need to be more cautious as that reopening continues. Franklin County Public Health believes Ohio should require all residents use a face covering when inside a business or other public area. The Franklin County Board of Health has passed a resolution supporting our local municipalities in taking steps requiring face coverings in our local communities and appreciates the state’s support of that happening. It’s our strong and consistent adherence to these public health strategies that will allow us to not only stay healthy, but keep our economy strong as well.
This virus is with us. And though we have made incredible progress in terms of therapeutics and treatment, COVID-19 will continue to be a significant public health threat until a vaccine is developed. We acknowledge the dynamic nature of this pandemic and stand ready to work with the state to make recommendations and decisions to protect the health and safety of our residents. We encourage the state to provide local communities the ability and resources needed to continue our response commensurate with the circumstances we see here in Franklin County. Ultimately though it’s up to us, the residents, business owners, educators, elected officials and employees of Franklin County to stay informed and engaged and play our part to protect the health of everyone in our community.