City, County Announce Stay at Home Advisory
Beginning Friday, November 20 at 6 p.m., Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health are advising all residents in the city and county to stay at home, in an effort to mitigate the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the region.
Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Public Health Commissioner, gave an update on the numbers during a Wednesday morning press announcement of the advisory. Columbus and Franklin County are experiencing rapid increases in COVID-19 cases, from a seven-day average of 143 on October 1 to 742 on November 15.
The number of hospitalizations in the region is reportedly the highest number of patients at any time during the pandemic. In Franklin County’s adult health systems in the last two weeks, hospitals have seen an increase of 82% in COVID-19 patients. The Central Ohio region, referred to as Zone 2 by Ohio medical officials, surpassed 800 patients in its hospitals on Wednesday, November 18.
Dr. Roberts added that the community’s positivity rate was 3.7% two months ago. Last week, that rate was 12.5%.
“We are at a critical point in our fight against COVID-19. We must act now to reduce the number of cases and impact [on] our hospital systems,” she said.
The advisory follows and works in accordance with a curfew announced Tuesday by Governor Mike DeWine from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. However, the advisory is not just for the late-night hours set by the governor. Residents are advised to only leave home to go to work or school, and for essential needs such as medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, and picking up food.
“Work from home if you’re able. If you can, you must,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther, who said the city is in support of CPH and FCPH’s advisory. “Ask yourself if you need to go out or just want to.”
The advisory also asks residents to avoid travel in and out of the state and urges both indoor and outdoor gatherings to be limited to 10 persons or less. The advisory also “strongly discourages” gatherings at weddings and funerals, as well as extracurricular activities.
The advisory will not be enforced by local law enforcement and there is no financial penalty for not following it as of yet. It will be in effect for 28 days unless a change in guidance is determined to be needed sooner.
“This year’s celebrations have to be different,” said City Council President Shannon Hardin during the conference. “We need to stop the spread now, or the hospitals will not be able to handle the flood of patients.”
Hardin said City Council would be working with the mayor’s office, and local health departments to consider further action if it is “deemed necessary.”
For more information on COVID-19 in Central Ohio, visit columbus.gov/coronavirus or call Columbus Public Health at 614-645-1519.