GREENVILLE – COVID-19 concerns over containment of the coronavirus has prompted Governor Mike DeWine and the administration at the state level to make decisions that not only affect the state, but Darke County, as well.
At the urging of Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the Darke County Board of Elections has moved two of its polling locations for the March 17 Primary Election. On Tuesday, the board announced it would move its polling place in the Brick Room at the Brethren Retirement Community. Later in the day, the board revealed it was moving a second polling location in Union City.
Precinct 25 will be moved from the Union City Medical Center, 622 E. Elm St. to the Evangelical United Methodist Church, 117 N. Franklin St. They also encouraged voters to take advantage of Ohio’s ample early voting opportunities. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the March 17 election is noon on March 14. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted, or you can drop it off at the Darke County Board of Elections on March 17 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For additional information about early voting, visit https://www.boe.ohio.gov/darke/ or call the board office at (937) 548-1835.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine issued an order in relation to nursing home and assisted living visits. The facilities must provide a single point of entry and, effective immediately, visitors are limited to one per day per resident. Visitors must log in and everyone will be screened for temperature and illness.
The families of local wrestlers that have advanced to the state tournament are also being affected by the state’s decision to limit spectators at events. The OHSAA announced Tuesday that a limit of four family members for each of its regional and state championship events would be allowed to attend their respective events. More information on OHSAA’s decision can be found on the sports page in Thursday’s Daily Advocate or on online at DarkeCountyMedia.com.
Numerous public meetings have been canceled, including the open house at the Ohio Department of Transportation in regards to proposed improvements to U.S. Route 36 and State Route 121. More information will be released soon on the online open house that will be held.
The National Weather Service is postponing the Storm Spotter Class scheduled for Monday, March 16 in Greenville. They intend to develop a recorded presentation that will be available on You Tube and courses could be rescheduled for this fall.
Don’t make plans to go to the NCAA tournament in Dayton. The NCAA released a statement the games will be played in front of essential staff and limited family. “This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” said Mark Emmert, NCCA president. “We recognize the opportunity to compete in an NCAA national championship is an experience of a lifetime for the students and their families. Today, we will move forward and conduct championships consistent with the current information and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.”
On Wednesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D. MPH, recommended that large, indoor gatherings in Ohio be canceled or postponed due to the potential for coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure. On Thursday, that recommendation became mandatory. DeWine tweeted, “I thank those who have already chosen to limit large events in response to yesterday’s recommendation. For the others, there will be an order.” The rules were unavailable at press time.
Meetings for state officials are also being canceled after Governor DeWine issued an order on Monday prohibiting all in-state, non-mission-critical travel for state employees due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.
In Ohio, there are four confirmed cases and 21 people under investigation. This situation is rapidly changing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises all Americans to prepare for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their communities. Symptoms, which generally appear 2 to 14 days after exposure, include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Most people who become sick do not require hospitalization, but older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to require more advanced care.
The Darke County General Health District (DCGHD) is closely monitoring the situation and has been participating in conference calls with the Ohio Department of Health. The DCGHD continues to be prepared for a local increase in disease by exercising their plans and policies. The DCGHD is also working closely with community agencies to provide education in order to minimize the spread of disease and keep residents healthy.
If you have any questions, contact the Darke County General Health District at 937-548-4196 x235.
While most universities and colleges have already elected to conduct classes online, Governor DeWine said he has not yet made it mandatory for the K-12 schools, however he warned on Twitter, “I’m not ordering to close schools. We may get to that point – but not today. If it comes that, we’ll work with the legislature and schools to seek to waive testing requirements if schools need to be closed.”
DeWine also previously recommended that all religious institutions consider limiting practices that could spread germs, such as shaking hands or sharing a communal cup of wine during communion. Those in faith-based communities who are high-risk should consider staying home. Faith-based communities should also consider appropriate outreach to those who may not be able to attend regular services.
Governor DeWine has ordered that visitations at Ohio’s adult and juvenile corrections facilities be suspended. Contractors who are not critical to the workings of the facility will not be granted entrance. Those who are permitted into these facilities will be screened for symptoms of illness and must submit to a temperature reading.
Although influenza viruses and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, the risk of catching the flu in the United States is far greater. Because both diseases are spread via respiratory droplets, the following precautions will help to protect against both: frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home while you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid close contact with others; cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing; get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system; and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For more information on COVID-19 and ODH’s recommendations on prevention and preparation, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Keep watching DarkeCountyMedia. com and The Daily Advocate and The Early Bird for additional cancellations.