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Summit County Emergency Blog

Emergency blog
Activated during disasters and emergencies to provide critical public information. Administered by the Summit County Office of Emergency Management.

May 21

CTC & COVID-19 Interview Series

Posted on May 21, 2020 at 3:22 PM by Jason Lederer

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting each of us in different ways. Communities that Care (CTC) is working with Summit County to launch a series of short, weekly videos featuring guest speakers from throughout the community. These short videos, recorded in both English and Spanish, discuss everything from opportunities and resources for youth, to recreating safety on local trails. Tune in weekly to learn more.

Summit County Communities that Care, formerly known as Healthy Futures Initiative, is an evidence based prevention planning system designed to bring community members and community partners together to address youth substance use. CTC implements evidence-based prevention strategies to address Summit County's unique risk and protective factors. Functioning as a community coalition, CTC consists of a key leader board, a community board, and a youth coalition who drive the progression of our work.

May 18

Cloth Face Coverings Required in Public Spaces

Posted on May 18, 2020 at 10:43 AM by Michael Wurzel

One important part of Summit County’s Roadmap to Recovery is the new requirement that all individuals must wear non-medical cloth face coverings over both mouth and nose whenever indoors in public spaces, and outdoors whenever 6 ft. of separation cannot be maintained. This requirement is based on new evidence showing that persons without COVID-19 symptoms can spread the virus without knowing it. The virus is believed to be spread person-to-person, through respiratory droplets. A cover over the mouth and nose can intercept those droplets before they potentially infect another person. As some physical distancing restrictions are lifted, and businesses being reopening, it is important that we increase measures like wearing face coverings in order to avoid a surge in the disease.

What Kind of Face Covering is Approved?
 Face covering styles

A variety of cloth face coverings may be used when entering indoor public spaces. It does not have to be a professionally made mask or N-95 respirator, in fact CDC guidance recommends reserving those for reserved for health care workers and medical first responders as they are still in short supply. Anything from a sewn face covering to a bandana or a scarf wrapped around your face works. Even an old T-shirt can be made into a face covering. The most important thing is that both the mouth and nose must be covered. 

Exceptions to the Requirement

There are exceptions to this requirement. According to CDC recommendations, cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, sleeping, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the covering without assistance. Children under 5 should be supervised while using a face cover.
Even though the CDC recommendation states that children older than two may wear a face covering, we suggest that parents and caregivers evaluate each child’s readiness, since even older children might encounter potential problems when wearing a face covering. For a face covering to serve its purpose, a child should understand not to touch the inside or outside of the face covering with their hands, not to touch their face, and how to take it off. If they cannot understand or follow those guidelines, a child may be too young to wear a face covering.
The best way to limit a child’s exposure to COVID-19, or to limit the possibility of them spreading the virus if they are asymptomatic, is to stay home and avoid public areas with your children. If you must leave your home, for example, to go to a doctor’s appointment for vaccinations, and your child is under 2 years old, we recommend draping a blanket over the raised handle of the car seat or carrier, so that it is not touching or near your child’s face. 
Normalizing Face Covering Usage

If you see someone out in public who is not wearing a face covering, you may wonder if you should say something to that person. There are many reasons why a person may not be wearing a face covering, including one of the exceptions noted above. Aside from those health related situations, it’s also important to remember that wearing a face covering is a new habit for our community and society and many people are still adjusting to it. A person may not be wearing a face covering because, as a person of color, racial bias and stereotypes of criminality have created real fears about going into public spaces using face coverings. A person may not be wearing a face covering because she/he/they have experienced domestic abuse and have post-traumatic stress disorder associated with face coverings. A person may not be wearing a face covering because she/he/they have been unable to procure one yet.

Some people have been critical toward persons that are wearing a face covering. Use of a face covering is not only required in indoor public places per the amended Summit County Public Health Order, but it is also a way of respecting and protecting those around us as we build a healthy community. Remember that it has been shown that asymptomatic people can spread COVID-19, so even if you don’t currently have any COVID-19 symptoms, wearing a face covering can protect you from unknowingly spreading the virus. Use of face covers will help reduce the spread of COVID in our community and enable businesses and events to get back to normal more quickly. 

So while it’s important to wear a face covering, we also must remember that judging, shaming, or criticizing someone for not wearing a face covering is not the appropriate response. Let’s set a good example, normalize face coverings by always wearing one yourself, and encourage your friends and family to take precautions and to follow the recommendations. We can support each other in productive ways, since we’re all in this together.

See more information about washing, wearing, and making Face Coverings here.

May 18

Summit County Launches Online Symptom Tracker

Posted on May 18, 2020 at 10:36 AM by Michael Wurzel

Summit County has launched an interactive, online symptom tracker to help provide a more complete picture of the spread of illness in our community.

Summit County has confirmed community spread of COVID-19. But due to a national shortage of test kits, local health care providers are not able to offer comprehensive testing of the community – they are only testing health care workers, first responders and people who have serious illness.

The County is asking all Summit County residents who have experienced symptoms of illness since March 1, 2020, to report those symptoms in the Symptom Tracker. Residents' responses will help County and state officials dedicate resources to Summit County to ensure our needs are being met. All personally identifiable information is protected and will not be shared, sold or used to contact respondents.

On the Symptom Dashboard, community members can view anonymous aggregated data from all respondents and sort the data by ZIP code. Data displayed on the Symptom Dashboard includes responses by age group, responses by ZIP code, a symptom onset timeline and symptoms by ZIP code. Symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and shortness of breath.

Any resident of Summit County who has had any symptoms of illness since March 1, 2020, is strongly encouraged to report them anonymously on the Symptom Tracker. 
Summit County residents should complete the online symptom reporting form in the tracker for each person in their household who is exhibiting symptoms or has exhibited any symptoms dating back to March 1.

The form should be completed once for each separate illness. Take, for example, a person who was sick with nausea, vomiting and fever on March 1, and then sick with fever, cough and sore throat on March 20. On March 10, her daughter was sick with fever and cough. She would complete the form three times, once for each illness.