LEWIS CENTER — Responding to record numbers of new cases of coronavirus in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine is asking local leaders to develop COVID-19 defense teams. In the case of Orange Township, it already has a written “Guidance Plan.”
Prepared by Fire Chief Matt Noble in March, the nine-page plan is specifically geared towards Orange Township employees and department buildings. However, some of the material may be of interest to the layman and is presented below.
“The virus has been named ‘SARS-CoV-2,’ and the disease it causes has been named ‘coronavirus disease 2019’ (COVID-19),” the plan says by way of background. The first reported case was in 2019.
The epicenter of the outbreak was in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, possibly at a market that sold seafood and live animals.
“The COVID-19 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS and SARS,” the plan states, referring to two other recent infectious diseases. “All three of these viruses have their origins in bats.
“On Jan. 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern,” the plan goes on to state. “On March 11, 2020, WHO characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.”
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department declared COVID-19 a public health emergency on Jan. 31.
The township’s plan highlights the following preventive measures asked of township employees:
• Maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from other individuals.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20-seconds (Happy Birthday song twice), especially after coughing or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
• Cover coughs/sneezes with your arm or a tissue (discard tissues in the trash).
• Avoid exposure to others who are sick, especially those sick with respiratory symptoms.
• Stay home if you are ill and avoid close contact with others.
• Get adequate sleep, eat well-balanced meals, and hydrate frequently to ensure a healthy immune system.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• While alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand sanitizers are acceptable, nothing replaces washing your hands often.
• Using disinfectant to clean common surfaces (door handles, light switches, buttons, keyboards, handrails, faucets, phones, tables, bathroom areas, etc.) should be done on a regular basis (i.e. daily). A disinfectant can be made with one-part bleach for every nine parts of water.
If someone is potentially exposed to someone who contracted COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and the Ohio Department of Health both recommend a 14-day at-home quarantine. Also, if you are experiencing symptoms such as body aches, chills, cough, fatigue, fever, headache, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, the plan said you should not report to work.
“Currently, the CDC recommends that employees remain at home until at least 24-hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin),” the plan states.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.