City of Galion, health department take lead role in effort to keep residents healthy


By Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer



GALION — The City of Galion and the Galion City Health Department are doing their parts to keep area residents

healthy.

As of Tuesday morning, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Galion or Crawford County. Richland County has at least four positive test results.

Galion mayor Tom O’Leary, and Trish Factor, head of the Galion City Health Department, talked last about the battle being staged in Galion against this coronavirus.

Factor said health department receives a lot of information daily from the Ohio Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and other sources. There is information on the website, https://galionhealth.org, about the coronavirus and other information pertinent to Galion-area residents.

The health department provides a bullet-point update on its Facebook page daily.

Factor talked about the reason for social distancing and staying at home.

“Public lives are being shut down, or conducted in a different way, so the health system is not overwhelmed,” she said. “Before you go out, ask yourself ‘Do I absolutely have to go out?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ stay at home.”

Social distancing is also a big part of that effort.

“Imagine you are inside a six-foot bubble,” Factor said. “Other people need to stay out of your bubble.”

And don’t forget to wipe down areas in your home and work place that others may use. That includes, keyboards, pens and pencils, telephone, door knobs, hand rails, remote controls and more. This should be done several times each day.

She and O’Leary both stressed that even though some personal hygiene products and disinfectant wipes say they are flushable. All of them are not. Better safe than sorry. Throw them in the trash, not in the toilet.

“If you are sick, even just a little sick, stay at home,” Factor said. “Don’t expose others. We need to think less about ourselves and more about others in the community.”

If you are healthy, and you know seniors or other who are not, offer to do some shopping for them, or fix something for them to eat.

The Galion City Health Department does not do testing. Tests include a nasal or oral swab, and must be done by a health care provider. Specific criteria has to be met before a test is administered,

“There are not enough tests available to test everyone with the sniffles,” Factor said. “That’s not likely to change.”

She said most people who have the virus will recover and their symptoms will be similar to other flu. For that reason, most people don’t need to be tested.

“If you think you have this, even if it is just moderately affecting you, assume that you have it … and stay home,” Factor said. “It may just feel like a really bad allergy day. If so, you don’t need tested. Assume you have it and go with it.”

That’s the time you need to self-quarantine.

And don’t leave home until you’ve been free of raised temperate for 72 hours. That means your temperature is normal without the help of medicine.

“It is time for drastic action,” Factor said. “People don’t need to panic, but you need to fellow the recommendations. We can assume it will get worse.”

When an individual’s symptoms worsen and lead to higher temperatures and a shortness of breath, its time to call your doctor or health care provider for clarity and instruction.

Although there are no positive test results here, “We should assume that someone in Galion does have it,” Factor said. “It should not be a surprise to anyone when the first one is confirmed. We will respond to cases as they occur. The main goal is to isolate the person who is ill and monitor those who have been in close contact.”

O’Leary said the city is doing all it can do to keep workers healthy and the community operating efficiently.

“We are attempting to be compliant with what the governor says and what the president is suggesting.” he said. “We are doing what we can to keep this business running. If police or fire goes down — those core businesses — basic services will be interrupted.”

He said the will take the temperature of employees — even if they show no symptoms of being sick — daily to make sure all are healthy and no one is spreading COVID-19 to other employees.

First responders know addresses of infected patients and take precautions if needed.

“We are taking firefighter and, police temperatures daily to make certain their is no fever,” the mayor said. “At this time we have enough PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for firefighters and other EMS responders.”

First responders also will be made aware of people in Galion who are infected or who are being quarantined

“But, if exposed members of our safety forces will be isolated for 14 days,” O’Leary said.

He knows work and school closures are going to harm the local economy. But the city is doing what it has to do to be compliant, and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

O’Leary urged Galion-area residents to do the same.

“This is not the time to be a rebel,” he said. “This is a time to suck it up and be compliant. This is a bad time to be testing your luck.”

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By Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer