COVID-19 news, views updates for 7-30-20

Jul 29, 2020 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Ohio mandate to require face coverings in all 88 counties

A statewide mask mandate has gone into effect for all 88 Ohio counties.

“Our preliminary data indicate that the rate of increase in new cases has slowed in the high-risk counties where masks are already mandated, so we are cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread.”

All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

  • At an indoor location that is not a residence
  • Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
  • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include:

  • Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability;
  • Those who are actively exercising or playing sports;
  • Those who are officiants at religious services;
  • Those who are actively involved in public safety; or
  • Those who are actively eating or drinking.

Schools should follow the guidance previously issued pertaining to masks.

ODH designates 23 Ohio counties as Red Alert Level 3

New public health date has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 23 Ohio counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 emergency. The Level 3 designation means there is a public emergency, with very high exposure and spread of COVID-19.

In Northwest Ohio, Erie County was upgraded to Level 3. Lucas County remained at Level 3, and Wood, Lorain, Summit and Butler counties were downgraded to Level 2. Allen County was on Ohio’s Watch List because it is nearing Purple Alert Level 4.

“Overall, the downgrade in the risk levels in the four counties tells us that the measures to mitigate COVID-19 spread in red counties — including increased diligence in social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently and reducing interactions with others outside you household — may be helping to slow the spread in these counties,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “We are cautiously optimistic about this, but these are still high levels of spreads. Citizens across Ohio must continue to be vigilant.”

All of the Red Alert Level 3 counties are: Athens, Allen, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lucas, Montgomery, Pickaway, Richland, Scioto and Union.

Upgraded to Red Alert Level 3 by the ODH are Clark, Defiance, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Lawrence, Marion and Medina.

Ohio travel advisory requires self-quarantine for out-of-state visitors

A travel advisory has been put in place for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher.

Those traveling from one of the following states should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

The self-quarantine recommendation also applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.

“I know this will be hard and is a sacrifice, especially as summer vacations are in full force, but when we have a higher likelihood of being exposed, we should take precautions to limit the exposure of others,” said Gov. DeWine.

Ohio’s positivity rate, which is an indicator of the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has been around 6.2 percent.

FDA warns hand sanitizer products could contain toxic methanol

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

To see the FDA list of 75 hand sanitizers found to contain wood alcohol, go to the FDA website.

The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.

Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing.

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