Hamilton County Will Use 'Common Sense' For Stay-At-Home Order
Hamilton County officials, like those in Cincinnati, will be enforcing a statewide "stay-at-home" order that begins at 11:59 p.m. Monday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Health Commissioner Amy Acton announced the order Sunday and it will last until 11:59 p.m. on April 6.
County Commission President Denise Driehaus said law enforcement will be using common sense when enforcing the order, and the goal is to prevent people from congregating in the county.
"I spoke with the sheriff this morning. He is the expert in the field. He's consulting his staff," Driehaus said. "I spoke with the head of the police chiefs' organization to make sure that we're all on the same page. And so we will continue at the county to rely on the experts in the field to guide us as we move through this, and rely on their expertise to figure out how we are going to go about enforcing the stay-at-home order."
The clear message from all officials is to stay at home unless it's absolutely necessary to be out to gather supplies, pickup carryout food, seek medical attention or go to jobs at businesses that are considered essential.
"Should teenagers be hanging out at your house? And the answer is clear: it is not the time for that," said Interim County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman. "In addition, while there is an exception for weddings and funerals, these events, if you're gathering people together, create an opportunity for illness, it might not turn out in a great way. Right now, we should make those tough sacrifices so we can protect our community."
Kesterman said it's OK to be outside for exercise, but you should maintain distance with others while doing it.
The Hamilton County Health Department is notified immediately when there's a positive COVID-19 case in its service area. Kesterman said that prompts officials to begin working the phones.
"We call the individual that tested positive, and we find out everyone that they have been involved with," Kesterman said. "We talk to the company in which they were working and we find out who that individual worked near. From there we go and actually make a phone call to each individual that might have had contact with this person, and they are required to stay at home for 14 days to monitor for symptoms."
Hamilton County, like Cincinnati, is only testing people with severe symptoms or underlying health problems.
People who haven't been tested but with symptoms are being encouraged to presume they are positive for COVID-19, and to stay home and avoid going out at all.