Today, we pause and remember all who were lost on September 11, 2001. Our country and community changed forever that day. Public health changed as well with a new focus on emergency preparedness and response. September is National Preparedness Month – an opportunity to remind our residents to remain informed and prepared for emergencies of all kinds. We will never forget and always appreciate the sacrifices and service of our first responders and public servants who work to protect us every day.
To help residents stay informed during the pandemic, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) continues to evaluate our local COVID-19 data and provide timely guidance to our schools. The per capita case rate for Franklin County over the last two weeks has increased placing us in the top 10 of all counties in Ohio. In order to remain at Level 2 (orange) in the Ohio Public Health Alert Advisory System, our residents and businesses need to remain vigilant and adhere to face covering requirements, avoid large gatherings, maintain social distancing expectations, and stay home when sick. As our K-12 schools continue to transition to hybrid/blended in-person learning, FCPH remains committed to working closely and ensuring an open and ongoing dialogue with our school partners. Over the past week, we have worked to expand resources and technical assistance particularly in the area of reporting cases and following state guidelines.
Finally, it is important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health. Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day. The pandemic has affected not only our physical health, but also our mental health. In alignment with our community health improvement plan, FCPH is working to increase access to care in our community by specifically working to support our schools and mental health agencies to provide the needed services for our community. If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call the COVID-19 CareLine at 1-800-720-9616
Joe Mazzola, MPA
Franklin County Health Commissioner