Dear Council Members:
This morning, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, along with Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, hosted a webinar for Ohio trade association leaders to provide an update on the novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Leaders at both the state and local level are taking this rapidly developing situation very seriously and are asking us to reinforce this with our members. Governor DeWine just announced the first case of community spread in Ohio with the positive diagnosis of a Stark County man in his mid-50s, with Dr. Acton adding that community spread is almost certainly occurring in other parts of the state as well. This is exactly why the Governor has already banned public attendance at certain sporting events and is discouraging Ohioans from attending events drawing a large number of people because of the risk of person-to-person community spread. Many government-sponsored events have been canceled/postponed and some entertainers have canceled/postponed tours and events.
The Governor wants to emphasize that this is not an overreaction to a simple virus. COVID-19 is a complex, highly contagious and sometimes deadly illness. Those who have been infected can be carriers with no symptoms. Most people infected will show symptoms within 11.5 days. The majority of people infected will have mild symptoms while those who are older and those with serious underlying health conditions are much more susceptible to developing acute symptoms requiring hospitalization. The burden that the virus has placed on health systems in heavily affected countries is tremendous, diverting resources needed to treat those with other types of serious health conditions.
Governor DeWine is urging businesses to take precautionary measures to protect all employees. The hope is that implementing such measures will lessen the severity of the human and economic impacts through prevention. We are aware that many members are taking extra steps in regard to disinfecting highly-touch areas and a few have shared contingency plans for employees who have fallen ill to the virus. All businesses are being urged to develop contingency plans. In addition, meetings, conferences, and social gatherings should be postponed. Disinfecting of high-touch areas, both at work and at home should be done numerous times daily. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces should be avoided. Employees who show symptoms of fatigue, coughing and/or fever should be encouraged to stay home. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
During the webinar, the Lieutenant Governor expressed the importance of hearing from Ohio businesses on what steps they are taking to prevent the spread of the virus and what, if anything, the state can do to assist. We would like to hear from you as far as what precautions you have put in place and any suggestions or requests you have of state government to assist you. Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 614-221-7833. Let’s collectively do everything we can to curb the spread of this harmful illness for the good of all Ohioans.
Lastly, please follow this link to read a letter from Governor DeWine that he has asked we share with all our members concerning the Coronavirus outbreak.
As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have and most importantly, please share with us suggestions or requests for state government.
Gordon M. Gough
President & CEO