County agency officials share information, phone numbers for assistance

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By Carol McIntire, Editor

Officials from five county agencies laid out plans and available services during an afternoon press conference March 23.

Commissioner Jeff Ohler noted the purpose of the session was to “collectively come up with a plan to meet the needs of shut-ins who don’t have their own means of transportation to purchase food, prescriptions and other basic needs.”

Tonya Myers, director of the Senior Friendship Center, which delivers meals on wheels, said her employees and volunteers are doing grocery shopping for those who can’t do it on their own as well as making deliveries.

“We have an arrangement with Sanders where we take in a grocery list for a person, the person calls and pays with a debit or credit card and will pick up the groceries and deliver them,” she explained. Those who would like to use the service should call 330-627-7017.

The center continues to provide grab-n-go meals for seniors at the center, located at the county fairgrounds, for seniors. To order a meal, seniors should call the center by 9 a.m. each day. Meals are ready at 10:30 a.m. She also plans to continue delivering meals through the meals on wheels program as long as possible.

Kate Offenberger, director of the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), noted the department of protective services continues to work around the clock, as required by law.

As much as possible, public assistance requests and meetings are done by videoconference while employees work from home. The lobby of the office, located on E. Main St., remains open where information on programs is available. Limited staff is available onsite.

For information on benefits, residents can call 1-844-640-6446 or visit Information can also be emailed to [email protected].

The resource room, where residents can file for unemployment benefits, remains open with four available computers. The site is wiped down after each visitor leaves. She noted the mass layoff claim number residents should use when filing is 2000180, which will bypass the one-week waiting period for benefits to begin. Residents can also call 1-877-644-6562 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Residents in need of services will be able to dial 211 within the next couple days. They are to state their need and the operator will put them in touch with a service to meet that need.

County Health Commissioner Wendy Gotschall noted as of Monday, the county had two confirmed cases, with additional cases expected to come. Plans are to provide updates on cases on the health district’s website.

“I can’t say it enough – this is serious. It is not a hoax. We need to take the emotion out of the situation and put faces in. We need to do what we can to protect our community,” she said.

An order of N-95 masks, gowns, surgical gowns and gloves was expected to arrive later in the day from the state to supplement the supply already on hand.

Any business owner with questions on what businesses are considered essential and permitted to continue to operate, can call the health department at 330-627-4866, extension 1530, for information. (A list of essential businesses, according to the order issued Sunday, is listed in this week’s Messenger, available on newsstands Tuesday afternoon).

Ohler noted hours the courthouse is open the public will be reduced beginning March 26. Hours include:

Tuesday: CLOSED

Monday and Friday: 9 a.m. to noon.

Wednesday and Thursday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The courthouse will be open Tuesday through Friday from 8-9 a.m. for seniors over the age of 65 and others with a compromised immune system or who are handicapped.

Times may change, according to orders issued by Governor Mike DeWine.

Economic Development Director Chris Mondranski noted a list of resources available to businesses affected by coronavirus will be posted on the county’s website, under the economic development tag. He asked businesses experiencing an increase or decrease in employees to share that information with him by sending an email to [email protected].

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