Across our state and nation, local public health departments are doing their job to contain the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, just as we do for any communicable disease. At Allen County Public Health (ACPH), our mission is to protect and promote the health of our community. I have an amazing staff at ACPH and, if working 24/7 was required to stop the threat we are all facing right now, I know my dedicated staff would somehow find a way to do it.
Unfortunately, that is not the answer.
COVID-19 is spreading across the globe faster than any public health system by itself can stop.
We need your help. We need everyone to do their part to slow the spread and flatten the curve, which will lessen the surge of patients needing hospital care. The threat is real. The time is now.
Ohio has taken the lead by issuing recommendations, and now Orders, all for the purpose of protecting us from COVID-19 and to spare lives. Everyone, absolutely everyone, can help by following these orders. The directions are easy to understand: If you do not have to be at work in an essential business, or are on an essential errand, stay home. The point is not to look for a loophole for your business or activity to be considered essential — the point is to get as many as people as possible away from each other.
Ohio has the chance to show the world what we can do through our coordinated efforts.
Staying home is not hiding out – those who are following the Orders, and are staying home, are the heroes who are helping us slow the spread of this disease. While we know that people over age 60 and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, and heart or lung disease are at highest risk, in the US we are also seeing younger age groups impacted. In Ohio, COVID-19 has been confirmed in people from age 1-94. Everyone is at risk. We know what to do to protect ourselves and each other – we CAN control our future.
We’re all in this together. It’s not often that everyone has a chance to be a hero and save lives. Whose life can you save by staying home?
Kathy Luhn is the Health Commissioner for Allen County Public Health