This week we find ourselves concerned about trends we continue to see here in Franklin County. Yesterday, Franklin County moved back up to the Level 3 (Red) in the Ohio Public Health Alert System. We now meet 4 of the 7 indicators, including the number of new cases per capita (126/100,000), percentage of cases in non-congregate settings, increase in emergency department and outpatient visits with COVID-19 symptoms. While we haven’t met the indicators related to hospitalizations, central Ohio has seen an upward trend.
So, there remains significant concern for us. We ask our residents to be cautious and remain vigilant. These trends come at a time when colder weather is here and flu season has already started. All too often we are seeing cases result from social, informal gatherings when individuals didn’t take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and others. Given this community case spread, in addition to taking the standard precautions of masking, social distancing and hand washing, we also ask our residents to decrease in-person interactions with others, consider necessary travel only and limit the gatherings attended, regardless of group size.
At the same time, many schools and districts are now in the process of transitioning or considering a transition from the hybrid or blended learning model to “all-in” or full in-person learning. As these discussions move forward, FCPH sent a letter this week to our educational decision-makers to inform those conversations. That letter is available on our website.
Finally, we are excited to announce a new campaign to continue our messaging. Our new “Spread Love, Not COVID” campaign, is aimed at kids K-12 and young adults aged 18-30 to create an environment of understanding around the best ways to stay safe, and above all else, to spread not love instead of COVID. We want to encourage them to engage and help them to become advocates of the cause. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears out for our social, tv and radio ads that are coming soon. In the meantime, visit the website at www.spreadlovenotcovid.info.
Joe Mazzola, MPA
Franklin County Health Commissioner