GALION — The first positive test of a Galion resident with COVID-19 was announced Monday.
During a Monday Facebook chat with Trish Factor of the Galion City Health Department and Mayor Tom O’Leary, that positive test and more were discussed.
“There will be other positive tests,” Factor said. “This should not be a surprise to anyone. That makes what? Five in Crawford County.”
It also makes obeying Ohio’s state-at-home order and practicing social distancing even more important.
“People are doing a pretty good job of staying off the streets, of minimizing your trips,” O’Leary said. “But we are seeing more positive results. There is community spread happening. We want control that spread. You do that by staying at home, by practicing social distancing. The message hasn’t changed. Just stay with it.”
While most area residents are doing as instructed in wake of the state’s emergency declaration, Galion can do better.
“If someone asked you how you are doing with stay-at-home or social distancing, would you be proud or embarassed by your answer,” Factor asked. “Everytime you go out, you need to consider what you’re doing.”
Who will you be in contact with? Who has that person be in contact with? And what contacts have those people had?
Those most at risk are someone who has come within six feet of an infected person for a 15-minute period.
Everyone one you are in contact with could be infected. They may not have symptons, but they could still have the virus. That’s why the need for the stay-at-home order is so important.
It’s a small sample size, but of the five people with positive tests in Ohio, three are younger that 60.
“They said the older generation is most at risk, but in Crawford, that’s not the result we’re seeing right now,” O’Leary said. “That myth is being busted. Yes, older people should stay at home. They should be concerned about who visits.
“On the other hand, young people must be aware. Their peers are getting sick.”
No one is immune to COVID-19.
“I’m getting tired of being shamed by people urging us to stay at home, but that is still needed,” O’Leary said. “Geez folks, wake up out there! I know you essentials, you need to get food, you need to get gas, but it is so important to reduce contact with other others.”
Playgrounds in Galion are closed, as are public basketball courts. But there have been instances of kids on playgrounds and groups of people playing basketball at Heise Park.
“I’m still surprised everytime I see a family out shopping together,” O’Leary said. “We’ve heard reports of sleepovers and people inviting others over to their house. Why?”
Area residents are encouraged to get outside, to walk, or ride a bike, or take a hike. But keep practicing social distancing.
“Maintain those six-feet distances,” Factor said.
Galion EMS, firefighters and police are kept aware of anyone who is being quarantined at home and who is undergoing testing. Still, they are in contact every time they come in contact with the public.
“We must protect our first reponders,” O’Leary said. “Stay at home. These are punishable offenses. We don’t want our police to worry about chasing people off playgrounds or basketball courts. When they do that, that puts them at more risk of coming in contact with someone who may be infected. We need to keep our safety workers available for other things.”
Factor added: “People are still having heart attacks, people are still having babies. We need to have our health-care providers available to take care of those things.”
Most who get the virus will not be tested, and don’t need to be tested. Testing is only available for those experiencing severe symptoms. If you have symptoms, contact your health care provider, who will determine if testing is needed.
“Nonetheless, if you have symptoms, stay at home,” Factor said. “Self-quarantine, rest and heal. Stat in contact with your health-care provider.”
O’Leary said that at this time, there is no thought of ordering a community lockdown in Galion.