We might be ‘done with COVID’ but COVID is not done with us

For months, we’ve been inside the frustrating grip of COVID-19. I’ve heard how people are “done with COVID” a hundred times – and even uttered it myself.

But, we’ve never been in the grip of COVID like we are right at this moment. Our ‘third wave’ is our worst one yet.

Since Nov. 1, Ross County has registered 940 new cases of COVID-19. On Oct. 1, the incidence rate was 69.13 cases per 1,000 residents. Today, it’s 426.53 cases per 1,000. Our incidence rate is four times the Centers for Disease Control’s definition of high incidence rate. Sixty-three Ross Countians have died due to COVID-19.

And, the odds are the numbers will get worse before they get better. That’s why the Ross County Health District made the following recommendations this morning:

  1. Schools are recommended to cease all extracurricular activities and youth sporting events. This includes school sports, club sports, travel sports, and other school-related activities.
  2. Community festivals, events, and gatherings should be suspended.
  3. Businesses and government offices are strongly advised to have all staff work from home and implement teleworking, as necessary.
  4. Churches and other houses of worship are strongly advised not to meet in person and to use online or “drive-in” options.
  5. Community, governmental, social, and other similar organizational meetings are strongly advised to be held virtually.
  6. All residents are encouraged not to gather with people outside their households.

Adena Health System provided even more sobering information during the press conference, which you can view here. We’re encouraging all of our businesses to protect your employees and customers by supporting the community effort to slow the spread of the virus.

With that in mind, the Chamber staff will be working from home for the rest of 2020, beginning Wednesday, Dec. 2. As we were during the March shutdown, we’ll be available, and our regular services will be up and running. You will be able to contact us through our wireless numbers, email, or call our offices and we’ll get the message. We canceled our in-person events through the first of the year and, more than likely, for the first quarter.

Beyond that, here is our initial guidance for businesses:

  • Everyone needs to make sure you enforce Ohio’s mask order inside your business. Signs indicated the mask requirement and the maximum number of people allowed inside at one time are mandatory.
  • Remember, the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew is still in effect. More information on the curfew is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
  • Offices: If you can find a way for your employees to work from home, you should do so. With technology, you can link up and still serve customers. If you need help with finding solutions, email us, and we’ll help.
  • Shops, restaurants, and bars: You are not under an order to close, but more people will be staying home. Now is the time to double down on what you offer for pickup and delivery or sell through an online store. Hit social media hard with what you are offering. Please find a way to do special deals and promote them vigorously. When patrons come to your location, they should know that you follow the recommended safety guidelines for employees and customers. You should also encourage your employees to follow the same safety guidelines at home and with loved ones.

As always, we will be available to help all businesses as they manage the new recommendations. Let’s stay in touch.