Dayton, Montgomery Co. health officials give update after DeWine announces restaurant, bar closures

Public Health sunday presser

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Officials with Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County held a news conference Sunday evening regarding coronavirus response after DeWine announced that all restaurants and bars in the state will be closed to dine-in customers starting at 9 p.m. Sunday night.

The Ohio Department of Health says 37 people have tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus as of Sunday afternoon.

ODH says 361 people are now under investigation and 134 have tested negative.

Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper says the focus is no longer about when Montgomery County will see its first confirmed case, but rather imparting a sense of urgency in the community about proper precautions.

“The virus is circulating within Montgomery County. We have community spread. That means that people you know, people you interact with, are very likely carrying this virus,” he said.

Cooper stressed the importance of social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus, citing concerns over the healthcare system trying to treat a mass amount of coronavirus patients in addition to those with other illnesses or injuries. 

Mayor Whaley says that while DeWine’s Sunday announcement may have come as a surprise to some, it goes to show the serious nature of the state’s operations over the next few weeks.

“We know that this is among us. That is why we’re encouraging this physical distancing. It is so important, even if you are young and feel fine, that you are making the decisions to help your community by staying home and only doing what is exactly necessary,” she said. 

She is encouraging citizens to check on their neighbors through phone calls or texting, especially those in high-risk groups, to make sure they have what they need.

Shannon Cox, Superintendent of the Educational Service Center, took a moment to address an uptick in concern after Gov. DeWine eluded to the possibility of schools staying closed the rest of the school year.

“His original plan of calling school out at the end of the day tomorrow [Monday] as the last bell rings until our reevaluation, until April 3, still stands. However, we have known from the beginning that was going to be reevaluated, probably sooner than April 3, but April 3 is the time they are giving us,” she said.

Cox went on to say that they will continue taking precautions in planning measures on the chance they will be out longer than April 3.

She also addressed graduation plans, IEP services, and providing meals to students:

Sarah Hackenbracht, President and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, addressed newly-implemented visitor restrictions at their hospitals.

“Each hospital will work with patients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that patients receive the support needed, especially in situations where end of life may be concerned,” she said.

Helen Jones-Kelley with Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services shared new information regarding expanded telehealth options available to citizens who have mental health needs during this stressful time.

“This is really key, really huge. Because now we’re talking about being able to deliver those services through a phone, making it much more accessible during an important time,” she said.

DeWine’s restaurant and bar ban will go into effect at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

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