Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude. We continue to extend our thanks to our residents and community for all they have done since March to slow the spread of COVID-19. Please remember to celebrate this Thanksgiving safely.
The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise at an alarming rate in Franklin County and across Ohio. Franklin County Public Health’s (FCPH) public health investigators, epidemiologists, and public health nurses are working tirelessly, seven days a week to keep up. However, this surge of cases is straining the capacity of staff to timely conduct all aspects of contact tracing. The steep rate of new cases has caused us to reevaluate how we will be temporarily conducting contact tracing while we are experiencing this surge.
In alignment with state guidance to best use our available resources and most effectively minimize the community spread of COVID-19, FCPH will temporarily focus exclusively on conducting the first part of contact tracing: interviews with confirmed cases of COVID-19. As FCPH completes those interviews, we will provide tools and guidance for them to identify and notify their close contacts. Additionally, FCPH will be providing guidance and tools to all sectors, including employers, schools and daycare centers to assist with identification of close contacts, which will include instruction to exclude close contacts for 14 days and allow return to work without quarantine letters from FCPH. More information for our residents is already on our website.
It is essential that we slow this surge of cases, so we implore everyone to continue to follow the Columbus and Franklin County Stay at Home Advisory. It is critical that we all stay at home to the greatest extent possible. Only leave home to go to work, school or for essential needs such as medical care, groceries, medicine and food pick up.
Finally, the holidays are an important time to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health. If you or a loved one need assistance, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call the Ohio COVID-19 CareLine at 1-800-720-9616 or visit Franklin County ADAMH’s website for more information.
Joe Mazzola, MPA
Franklin County Health Commissioner