County residents urged to ‘stay home’

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By Carol McIntire, Editor

Carroll County officials are urging county residents to “stay home” as they prepare for an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in the near future.

“This is the calm before the storm,” Health Department Director of Nursing Kelly Engelhart told county commissioners April 2. “I encourage people to stay home. Don’t go to essential businesses just because they are open to walk around. There is going to be a surge in cases.”

Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Cottis reiterated Engelhart’s words, adding, “I can’t stress social distancing enough. Harrison County is the only county that borders us without a case. It’s coming.”

Cottis noted he will not make future updates in person to commissioners, they will be made remotely from his office.

Engelhart said the number of cases remain the same as earlier in the week: three in Harrison Twp., one in Rose and one in Center. She noted two of the three who were hospitalized are now home.”

The department has been monitoring the people who were in contact with the cases to monitor them. She noted most have been released without showing any symptoms.

Amy Campbell from the health dept. said they continue to work with local health care providers and those in long-term nursing facilities to prepare for an increase in the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the community.

“A very limited supply of equipment that includes masks, gloves and gowns was received from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). We are pushing it out to those who need it,” Campbell explained.

Cottis shared some good news about the need for PPE.

“Bob Alsept from Buckeye Career Center called me and said they had supplies in the labs at the school; to come and get them,” Cottis said. “We picked up the items and took them to the health department. The items included gloves, gowns and masks.”

Engelhart noted guidelines for testing have been changed and symptomatic health care workers and first responders as well as long-term health care workers are now being tested.

In response to the question from Commissioner President Bob Wirkner about updates on the “Stay at Home” order, Engelhart said she expected Governor Mike DeWine to present new guidelines in his daily press conference at 2 p.m. April 2.

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