“For the past couple of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has been in the news. In the past couple of days I have been contacted by several local organizations with questions that range from ‘do we really have to follow the Governor’s directives?’ to ‘can’t you just declare that Sidney is exempt from all of this?’”, Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst stated.
“If I had the power to exempt the City of Sidney from the coronavirus, believe me I would do so,” Barhorst stated. “Under the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code, the director of the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department has the authority to declare an emergency and direct the isolation or quarantine of individuals to prevent the spread of disease.”
“The director of the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department alone is the person who is authorized by law to affect local regulations to deal with the declared emergency. That is not to say that mayors, county commissioners, and other county office holders cannot assist in helping to carry out those orders, but the director is the individual in charge in such situations,” Barhorst continued.
“Under state law, the director of the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department can order local law enforcement officers to enforce the Director’s Orders. This would include orders that gatherings not exceed a maximum number of people were followed,” Barhorst said.
“I would encourage citizens to calmly heed the advice of our public health experts. I urge residents to carefully practice social distancing throughout the city. Social distancing helps to safeguard our entire community and in particular, our friends and neighbors who are most at risk of infection including older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions.”
“As we work with local, state and federal officials through the duration of the crisis, I want to encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions that will help to prevent the person-to-person spread of this virus. This includes postponing large public and private gatherings. It includes postponing unnecessary travel. It includes teleconferencing. It includes taking the steps necessary to prevent the further spread of the illness, especially among our most fragile of residents,” Barhorst stated.
“In addition to washing your hands, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, social distancing is proving to be successful in helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus in other countries,” Barhorst continued. “It is also what our healthcare experts are advising.”
“Sidney is a strong and resilient community,” Barhorst said. “While this is a pivotal challenge, it is one that we can overcome by working together. That certainly includes looking out for each other, checking on our elderly and infirm neighbors by phone, not hoarding essential supplies and simply, remaining calm and patient.”
Additional information is available online (https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/) or by calling the Ohio Department of Health’s hotline (833-427-5634 or 833-4-ASK ODH).