As a local health department, part of our daily routine includes investigating diseases that can spread throughout our community. Although we work daily to stop the spread of diseases, COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health pandemic. No matter how much planning we have done this is much bigger than any of us have experienced in our lifetimes.
Since January when the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the U.S. we have been preparing for the outbreak in our community. Here are some of the highlights of some of the other ways we are responding:
- Our nurses are conducting disease investigations for people who test positive and initially for people who were suspected to have COVID-19. These investigations involve doing an extensive interview and calling each person the patient came in contact with while they were contagious.
- We are in contact with healthcare providers daily answering questions and providing guidance and direction as we get new information from the Ohio Department of Health.
- We Participate in bi-weekly conference calls with the Ohio Department of Health to get the most up to date information.
- We are partnering with the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, local Fire & EMS agencies, local law enforcement agencies, Mercy Hospital – Clermont and other county and social service agencies. Routine virtual briefings are held with these partners to update each agency on all parts of response efforts.
- Coordinate testing between healthcare providers and the Ohio Department of Health laboratory. CCPH staff members are assigned to pick up samples daily from healthcare institutions and ensure they arrive in Columbus.
- We are calling non-essential healthcare facilities and private businesses to ask for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders.
- Holding donation drive events to collect PPE and sanitization supplies.
- Reorganizing our daily operations to allow more staff members to respond to questions from the public by phone or email
- Working with our EMA partners to respond to complaints about non-essential businesses still in operation, or businesses not following social distancing guidelines.
- Receiving shipments (3 so far) of PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile which houses the nation’s storage of medicine and medical supplies that can be used by local health departments during public health emergencies.
- Purchasing additional N95 masks for local healthcare workers and first responders.
It is a stressful and uncertain time for all of us, but the little things each of us can do daily like following the stay at home order, practicing social distancing when out in public and limiting our trips to the grocery store all add up to the main goal of easing the strain put on our healthcare system.
If you have questions about COVID-19, you can call the Ohio Department of Health’s hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (open 7 days a week).
You can also visit our website at www.ccphohio.org or call us at 513-732-7499 for more information, including an update on the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Clermont County. The Ohio Department of Health’s website has a lot of useful information and resources as well. Visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.