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As a new strain of coronavirus (covid-19) sweeps through the world, stay up-to-date on the latest preparedness plans, school closings, changed polling locations, and more in the Tri-State.

Hamilton County Health Officials Stress Importance Of Social Distancing

social distancing
Sue Ogrocki
On March 27, a grocery store in Oklahoma City reminds customers via the floor at checkout to stay apart because of concerns over the COVID-19 virus.

Hamilton County health officials are again stressing the importance of social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They recommend maintaining at least six feet of spacing with others when you have to leave your home. 

Interim County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said you need to decide if a trip out of the house is necessary.

"You are going to the hardware store today. And you walk in and it's crowded and you're feeling like it's crowded. It's really time to go home," Kesterman said. "Really before you even leave your house, it's time to think about if that trip is important, and if you should do it. I want to challenge each of us to really take that initiative and make a decision because your actions will protect others."

Kesterman said social distancing is not necessary with those who live in your household. But with anyone else you need to be mindful of keeping your spacing.

"So, if I'm going somewhere with my wife or my kids, we can all hang out real close together because we're doing so all the time," Kesterman said. "But if you're taking a walk with some neighbors, that's awesome, but leave six feet. That six-foot rule applies to anyone not as part of your household when we're in business settings and wherever we may be, try the best you can to leave that six feet distance, and that will keep you safe. Otherwise, if one household gets sick and they don't know they have symptoms yet and are spreading COVID-19, they're making another household get sick at the same time."

Experts say social distancing and staying apart will help keep you from getting infected, and perhaps keeping the number of serious cases to a level that won't overwhelm the local health care system.

As of Tuesday at 2 p.m., there were 124 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hamilton County, and 22 of those involve hospitalizations.  There have been no deaths from the virus in the county.