Press Release

Contact: Jennifer Thrush, Public Information Officer

Office Phone: (937) 645-2047

Cell Phone: (937) 243-2987

Email: jennifer.thrush@uchd.net

Mar. 17, 2020                                                                                                    For Immediate Release

Union County Health Department Working to Enforce Public Health Orders

As public health orders and directives from the state of Ohio continue to be issued, the Union County Health Department is working to ensure these orders are understood and, when necessary, enforced within Union County.

Since the middle of last week, statewide public health orders have been issued for long-term care facilities, restaurants and bars, mass gatherings, jails and detention facilities, and schools. Each of these orders is quickly followed by local public action by the Union County Health Department and partner agencies.

Local health departments, in conjunction with local law enforcement partners, are responsible for enforcing public health orders issued by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton.

“As each order has come down from Director Acton and Governor DeWine, our staff is working as quickly as possible to notify affected parties and help to clarify questions regarding the implementation of the orders,” said Union County Health Commissioner Jason Orcena, PhD.

“Though it creates many challenges, we are finding that our community partners and businesses are trying to protect our community by complying.”

If voluntary compliance does not happen, state law requires all public officials to enforce the orders of the Director of Health.

“Thus far, we have received only a handful of reports where further direction and guidance was needed to implement the spirit and legal parameters of the orders,” said Health Commissioner Orcena. “We know it is difficult for our residents, businesses and partner agencies to keep up on the mitigation strategies being implemented in Ohio. However, these strategies are being put in place in an effort to delay the spread of the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19.”

Health Commissioner Orcena further elaborated that the steps being taken are part of a layered approach being used to, “flatten the curve”.

“Flattening the curve refers to efforts at slowing the surge of cases in an outbreak by delaying the rate of new cases. This is important to prevent a crushing, rapid influx in severe cases that would overwhelm our healthcare system,” said Orcena.

Health Commissioner Orcena urges all residents to follow the steps being laid out by public health officials.

“I urge people who are sick to stay home until their symptoms are resolved or they are cleared by a health care or public health official. I urge people age 65 and older to stay home and only go out if necessary. I urge people with underlying medical conditions like heart disease, COPD, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer to avoid public settings and stay home as much as possible. For healthy adults and children who are at lower risk for serious complications, you must consider that you could be or could become an asymptomatic [have no symptoms] carrier or experience mild illness. You must be aware your mild illness could lead to a much more serious illness in an at-risk person if you are not cognizant of social distancing.”

Health Commissioner Orcena further reminds residents to frequently wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue and wash hands right away. Non-essential travel should also be reconsidered at this time.

“I am hearing from those in our community who are afraid and don’t know what to do. Fear is a natural reaction to the unknown. Please know that we will continue sharing as much information as we have. The information and research we have tells us that, as a community, we are not helpless. If we all take the actions being urged right now, we have the opportunity to slow the spread, to lengthen the wave of disease, and ultimately protect our community.”

To see the latest COVID-19 information from the Union County Health Department, please follow the Union County Health Department on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/unioncohealthdept/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/unioncohealth), or at www.uchd.net. You can also call the Union County Health Department at 937-642-2053. Please be patient as the Health Department is receiving a high call volume. Please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as we can. For general questions about COVID-19 visit Coronavirus.Ohio.gov or call the Ohio call center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.