DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Officials with Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County held a news conference Wednesday afternoon with an update on COVID-19 response in the area.
Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper was joined by Mayor Nan Whaley, Public Health’s Food Systems Project Manager Haley Carretta, and Sarah Hackenbracht with the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.
Cooper says caches of PPE donations have come into Montgomery County from both citizens and other health systems in the area totaling over 150,000 items. This sum is made up of over 50,000 n95 respirators, 25,000 surgical masks, 72,000 gloves, and other supplies. We’re told those items have been forwarded to those health care workers and first responders who need them.
“It’s not the full amount that we need, but at least we have some ability to protect those individuals,” he said.
Cooper also touched on those who could be at a higher risk of contracting the virus, including smokers.
“There’s never been a better reason to stop,” he said. “You do not want to be infected with this virus if you are a smoker or someone who vapes, because whether you like it or not, you have reduced lung function to begin with.”
Mayor Nan Whaley says that as we get into Holy Week, the city is reaching out to faith leaders in the community to encourage them not to have in-person services. She also mentioned that city officials have been receiving complaints about social distancing not being properly practiced at ice cream trucks. According to Cooper, the trucks can remain open but if complaints continue to pour in, Public Health will issue a cease and desist order if need be.
Whaley says that throughout Dayton Public Schools’ effort to make sure students stay fed during the closure, they have delivered or distributed 193,480 meals to children.
She says cloth mask donations are also being accepted for frontline workers at City Hall in the atrium.
Haley Carretta, Public Health’s Food Systems Project Manager, says that 17 percent of the community was considered food insecure before the pandemic and there are over 70,000 residents on the SNAP program. Those numbers are growing each day.
“We’re seeing more people experiencing hunger for the very first time,” she said. “If this is you or someone you know, I want to encourage you to reach out for assistance. It’s okay to ask for help.”
She offered the following resources for those who may need such assistance:
- Visit The Foodbank’s drive-thru pantry
- Call United Way’s Helplink 211
- House of Bread remains open and is offering to-go orders
- The Area Agency on Aging has received special funding from the state for congregate and home-delivered meals
- SNAP participants can now order groceries online for drive-thru pickup in order to reduce exposure.
- The Montgomery County Food Equity Coalition continues to identify needs and bridge gaps for those in need of food assistance.
Carretta urges the public to consider volunteering with one of these organizations if they are healthy enough to do so, and for the average shopper to cut down on their own food waste by only buying what they need for the week.
You can also support local farmers by purchasing a Community Supported Agriculture box.
According to state numbers, there are 147 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County leading to 43 hospitalizations and two deaths. Cooper has previously said this number is likely higher as many residents will treat their symptoms from home with no complications.
Sarah Hackenbracht of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association commended the public’s participation in flattening the curve, but stresses that our work is not yet done. She says if the surge in cases winds up being lower than predicted, it can give the hospitals a chance to bring back furloughed workers who can then help treat these patients.
As of Wednesday, there are 5,148 cases reported in Ohio leading to 1,495 hospitalizations and 193 deaths.
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