As another week draws to a close, our community is slowly reopening. From haircuts to restaurant now to gyms and some sports next week, life is restarting
Each reopening signals a new phase in this pandemic and challenges us to adapt as individuals and as a community. It challenges us to learn to live with this virus and the risks it entails. My staff and I are asked daily by our family and friends, by our neighbors, and even by shop owners and colleagues – is it safe? Is it safe to meet friends at the park? Is it safe to go to a restaurant? Is it safe to go to a team practice? Is it safe to visit my parents/grandkids? Is it safe for me to go back to work? The answer is we must all make informed decisions about our own risk and the impact our decisions have on our loved ones.
As Ohio reopens, the virus remains. It will remain for several months to come. And yet, we must find a way to move forward. This does not mean a return to the “way things were.” It means reopening to the way things must be and an understanding that determining acceptable risk will be different for each of us.
Each of us must make calculated decisions about what is best for our families. We each must weigh the risks to ourselves, our loved ones, and those whom we choose to spend time with. The decision each of us makes will be different. Some will choose to move quickly and others will move slowly. We will struggle with knowing what is the right decision for our kids, for our parents, and when is the right time to reconnect with our friends.
For those in our community with an underlying medical condition or over age 65, there is a greater risk for severe illness. For those of us with loved ones with this heightened risk, the actions we take will have a critical impact on their risk. We urge residents in these vulnerable groups to continue to use extra precaution and stay home as much as you can.
There remains much we don’t know about this new virus. We learn more every day. Our commitment to share information with our community remains and we will continue to evolve our response to meet each new challenge. As your local health department, we will continue responding to your questions and concerns. We will respond to the cases that will inevitably appear. We will mobilize resources to respond to outbreaks within our community. We will continue to work with businesses to try and quickly contain the spread as cases are identified in the workplace.
Our community has put forth a tremendous effort to slow the spread of the virus and I thank each Union County resident for acting together to protect our community. Working together, as a community, we will learn how to resume life in a COVID-19 world.
Jason E. Orcena, DrPH
Union County Health Commissioner