Pike County General Health District

As of Monday, May 18, the Pike County General Health District was reporting six COVID-19 cases in Pike County, up from the five reported last week, with three of them listed as active cases and three of them listed as recovered. 

The age range of the Pike County cases is from 25 to 45 years of age, and the cases included three females and three males. As of Monday, the health district reported that there were seven tests pending in the county. 

Of the six cases, four are reported as confirmed cases and two are reported as probable cases.

“Per the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) definition, a probable case is someone who had direct contact with a confirmed case and became symptomatic, but the health care provider decided not to test. For example, if a person tests positive and then another member in that same household becomes symptomatic, they are counted as a probable,” according to the health district.

As of Tuesday, May 19, the Ohio Department of Health was reporting 29,952 cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 27,106 of them confirmed cases and 1,846 probable cases of COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded case definition for probable cases. The state reported that there have been 1,720 deaths from COVID-19 in the state, with 1,556 of them confirmed deaths from COVID-19 and 164 probable COVID-19 deaths according to the CDC expanded death definition.

At a press conference on Monday on the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that he is assembling an enforcement team to ensure that bars and restaurants are operating safely under the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

Bars and restaurants reopened to patrons for outdoor dining on Friday. Dine-in service is scheduled to resume on May 21.

"We know that many Ohio bars and restaurants are working very hard to comply with the safety guidelines, and I want to commend them for doing that," said Governor DeWine. "We did, however, receive several very troubling reports this weekend of bars and restaurants that were not complying with proper social distancing guidelines. We cannot allow the few bad actors to threaten the potential closure of other restaurants and bars."

"The enforcement team will operate as part of the Ohio Department of Safety's Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) and will conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants," according to the governor's office. "Businesses found violating the Stay Safe Ohio order will receive administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses. The OIU team will also work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against business owners who do not follow the order, which includes the requirement that patrons remain seated while eating/drinking and that parties stay six feet apart." 

“The protocols, the rules for reopening bars and restaurants, were laid down very, very clearly by the working group that we put together made up of health officials, but also made up of people who run bars and people who run restaurants," DeWine stated on Monday. "And the truth is that our economic recovery in the state of Ohio is tied directly to how successful we are in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“Stopping the spread, interrupting the spread of the coronavirus will determine how successful we are in opening up our economy. These two are tied together. You cannot have a successful reopening of the economy if we get surges in the coronavirus … We are talking about the slowing of the spread, and the basic facts have not changed. That can only be done by distancing … The more distance, the less spread of the disease.”

“So as we look at how our restaurants operate and how bars operate, the distance is absolutely the key thing,” he said.

He indicated that reports over the weekend showed that most restaurants and bars were doing a good or decent job, but he said that it is clear that there were some “outliers — ones who just were not doing what they should do.”

“If we’re going to make this recovery, if we’re going to bring the economy back, people are going to have to feel safe when they go out. They have to feel that the rules are being followed when they go to a restaurant. They have to feel that the rules are being followed when they go to a bar.”

DeWine reminded Ohioans that in bars and restaurants customers must be seated and that congregate areas of these establishments are still closed.

He indicated that people who own or run bars and restaurants have an obligation to control the environment.

“And if they cannot control the environment, they should make the wise judgement not to open or if they get into a situation where they can’t control it, they need to close," he stated. 

A list of mandatory and recommended best practices for restaurants and bars in Ohio can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Restaurants-and-Bars.pdf

More detailed information on the Responsible RestartOhio plan can be found at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ResponsibleRestartOhio

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, including tips for prevention of the disease and slowing its spread, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Email at mlucas@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @NewsWatchman.

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