Officials Advise Guideline Adherence to Avoid COVID-19 Spike

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As businesses reopen, Mahoning County Public Health commissioner Ryan Tekac urges everyone to continue practicing public health measures such as social distancing and wearing a facial covering to move forward because coronavirus hasn’t gone away.

“Our community needs to understand that just because we’re opening up doesn’t mean we have to ignore the signs that COVID is still here,” Tekac says. “We need to listen to those public health experts whether it’s CDC, Ohio Department of Health, Gov. DeWine, local health departments and our health care systems to ensure that we don’t get to that point where we have to take that step back.” 

On May 1, DeWine issued Stay Safe Ohio – an amended order that promotes rolling out a slow, progressive reopening of businesses as long as employers and employees comply with safety protocols set by state health officials. The reopening began Monday with previously closed offices, manufacturers, construction and distribution. It continues today with hospitals, dentists, veterinarians and other health care providers more fully opening their doors, followed by retail on May 12.

While employees are mandated to wear a facial covering, unless they meet exception guidelines, DeWine lifted a requirement for customers to wear a facial covering.

Tekac and Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical director for Mercy Health both say the state is not reopening too soon. The key to not have a spike in cases is to practice social distancing, wearing a mask, proper hygiene and other health protocols.

While national reports forecast a massive uptick by June 1 in cases and deaths from COVID-19, the disease spread by coronavirus, Kravec doesn’t see that happening in this region.

“The governor is not fully opening the state, but using a strategic plan to open. We’re going to monitor stats like we do daily so we don’t overwhelm our health care system,” Kravec says. 

Tekac says the health department will work with business on safety requirements to ensure employees and customers remain safe. Tekac suggest if customer believe businesses aren’t complying with safety protocols to address concerns with mangers, but reports can be made to the health department. 

“We will work with employers to bring them into compliance,” he says.

The same measures hold true for office workers.

Tekac also thanked local school superintendents for working with the health department for safe guidelines in holding graduation ceremonies.

Several schools are planning ceremonies where graduates will be awarded their diplomas and have no more than four guests. Other schools will allow graduates to walk through stadiums maintaining social distancing. See local school websites for more information.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.