Lucas joins six other Ohio counties in urging residents to stay home

Lucas, Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Summit, Montgomery, and Mahoning counties are issuing warnings amid rising cases.
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:33 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - “Stay at home.” That’s the message from seven of Ohio’s most populated counties on Wednesday, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state. Wednesday’s total one-day reported cases topped 10,000 for the second time just this week (though the Ohio Department of Health has been dealing with a testing backlog and delay), and deaths and hospitalizations are up across the board.

With Thanksgiving just a day away and Christmas a month later, health officials are worried that holiday festivities, especially those the cause people to travel to visit family and gather in large groups even in their own homes, could lead to a massive spike in cases in just a few weeks. That’s why officials from Lucas County say they’re joining with Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Summit, Montgomery, and Mahoning counties to issue a joint Stay at Home Health Advisory.

The advisory is encouraging residents to stay home as much as they can due to the rapid rise in cases and hospitalizations, leaving only for necessary trips including school, work, medical care, groceries, and the like. Residents are also strongly advised to refrain from traveling out of state in an effort to contain the spread.

The advisory mirrors those that have been issued by local health departments in the last week, as county health officials and hospital administrators warn that an unchecked spike in cases could overwhelm existing resources.

“This week presents a major challenge to our state as we try to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Zgodzinski. “All of our actions could affect the health of our families and members of our community. Our best bet this week is to avoid in-person gatherings with people outside of our homes.”

The Lucas County Regional Board of Health voted on Wednesday to issue an order closing school buildings through the start of January and requiring all students in 7-12 grades to switch to remote learning.

Meanwhile, four more counties were elevated to the highest possible alert level on the state’s Coronavirus Advisory Map, while 11 others, including Wood County, were placed on an alert level. If cases remain at the levels they are now, those counties will be elevated to the fourth “purple” level next week.

“We’re in a fight to save lives here,” said Franklin County Board of Commissioners’ President John O’Grady. “This week kicks off a season of celebration, but each of us needs to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect our loved ones and community. The guidance is clear- wear a mask, keep your distance, don’t travel, and we’ll all get through this together.”

“Cases and hospital admissions are at the highest levels we have seen during this pandemic, by far,” said Denise Driehaus, Hamilton County Board of Commissioners President. “These county health advisories reflect the urgent need for all of us to protect ourselves and our families to stop the spread of this virus.”

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