Hamilton County residents should only leave home “for work, school or essential needs, such as food or medical care,” according to a stay-at-home advisory issued Thursday from Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman.
The advisory is just that, advice, and doesn’t carry any penalties, Kesterman said. But the fast spread of the virus in Hamilton County has Kesterman and others concerned. There were 4,000 new COVID-19 cases in the county last week.
“We’re at great risk of overwhelming the health care system,” Kesterman said. “We have a serious problem on our hands.”
Ohio counties issue advisories to stay at home amid rising cases
Hamilton County joins other counties across the state, including Franklin, Montgomery and Cuyahoga counties, in issuing similar advisories.
Hamilton County commissioners do not have the authority to issue anything stronger, said Denise Driehaus, president of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.
“This commission does not have the authority to do anything beyond what we’re doing here today,” Driehaus said. “But I do think it’s an important step to listen to the public health professionals, listen to the hospitals, listen to the business leaders in this community, and advise people to take this extra measure and limit their exposure.”
The advisory is in effect until Hamilton County is no longer on the “red” alert level on the state’s map of COVID-19 exposure.
“We just have a lot of work to get us back under control and hopefully we as a community can come together,” Kesterman said.
What does the Hamilton County advisory say?
COVID-19 Health Advisory
Issued: November 19, 2020
Hamilton County is experiencing exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases. Positivity rate has climbed above 10 percent and hospital staff and physical facilities are becoming taxed beyond capacity. It is more important than ever to follow guidance from local, state, and federal officials on how to stop and slow the spread of COVID-19.
As such, Hamilton County leadership urges all county residents to implement the following steps to prevent the spread of the virus, protect the lives of you and your loved ones, and preserve our acute and other healthcare services and capacity.
- Stay at home to the greatest extent possible. Only leave home for work, school or essential needs, such as food or medical care.
- Observe the state-wide curfew, issued November 19, from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. daily.
- Limit exposure in your home. Only immediate household members should be allowed in. Re-think your holiday plans to eliminate gatherings.
- Continue to follow all health orders and advisories, such as wear a mask, maintain at least six feet of distance from others; wash hands frequently and stay home when you are ill.
- All gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer. This includes both inside and outside of your home.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, including but not limited to new onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, body aches, or unusual fatigue, isolate and call your primary care provider for next steps.
- If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must isolate for 10 days from the date of symptom onset, or from the date of test collection (until you are not experiencing symptoms). In the home, sick or infected individuals should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom, if available. Don’t wait to hear from your health department – begin these steps immediately.
- Residents who have been identified as a contact to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 should quarantine for one full incubation period (14 days) from the date of last contact. Individuals in quarantine should stay home, separate from others, monitor their health, and follow all instructions from Hamilton County Public Health.
- Employers are strongly encouraged to accommodate remote working arrangements for as many employees as possible.
- Visit www.hcph.org for COVID-19 information and guidance.