Columbus city and health officials today urged residents to recommit to the safety protocols recommended to curb the spread of COVID-19.
"I know we're fatigued, but it's not time to quit," Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther said. "First, stay home as much as possible. Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, and try to keep those to people who you know have also been diligent in their efforts. Wear your mask when you're in public and when you're at the grocery store if you choose to go out. Wash your hands. If you feel sick, stay home. Take your temperature and stay in touch with your primary care physician."
Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said case numbers are spiking again in Columbus with the highest numbers seen in the 20-to-39 age group. The city has averaged 167 cases per day in the last week ending October 25. There have been nearly 25,000 cases and 489 deaths since the pandemic began. For the most part, businesses are complying with safety guidelines. But the private, larger gatherings are a concern.
"What people often think is just an innocent little gathering with a few of their close friends ends up being an outbreak," Dr. Roberts continued. "We are really encouraging our residents to rethink their plans for Halloween. Keep it with just your household members. Rethink any plans you made for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other holiday that people are going to be celebrating. These are challenging times, but we have to start behaving differently. We cannot go back to life as we knew it before February and March of 2020."
The region's medical officials say hospitals are seeing more coronavirus hospitalizations, but have adequate capacity to manage COVID patients and treat people with other conditions. The city of Columbus plans to use $1 million in federal CARES Act dollars on a public education and awareness campaign to deal with the surge.