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Toledo-Lucas County coronavirus update | Health department has over 500 complaints of businesses not being in compliance with governor's order

Ages of coronavirus cases in county range from 3 to 98 years old.
Credit: WTOL

TOLEDO, Ohio —

Here is the latest on the coronavirus pandemic in Lucas County this week:  

Sunday

NEW NUMBERS

As of Sunday afternoon the Toledo-Lucas County Joint Information Center says there are 297 total cases of coronavirus in Lucas County. 

To date, there have been 9 deaths in the county due to the disease.

There are 152 male cases and 145 female cases with ages ranging from 3 to 98 years old.

LUCAS COUNTY FIRST RESPONDERS IN QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION

Lucas County Sheriff - 2 in quarantine, 13 in isolation

FBI - 1 in isolation

Maumee Fire - 1 in quarantine

Monclova Twp. Fire - 1 in isolation

Springfield Twp. Fire - 1 in isolation

Toledo Fire and Rescue - 24 in quarantine, 14 in isolation

Toledo Police - 1 in quarantine, 4 in isolation

Toledo Fire and Rescue Communications - 3 in quarantine, 3 in isolation

Sylvania Fire - 1 in isolation

Sylvania Police - 1 in isolation

TOTAL - 31 in quarantine, 39 in isolation

The Health Department is continuing to advise people to visit LucasCountyHealth.com or the 24/7 Lucas County Community COVID-19 Call Line Numbers at 419-251-4000 and 419-291-5355 (multilingual).

The public can also call 419-213-4161 and press 4 to leave a message with concerns about non-essential businesses, businesses not adhering to guidelines or crowds gathering.

Saturday

The Toledo-Lucas County Joint Information Center released new coronavirus numbers on Saturday afternoon. 

As of 2:52 p.m. on Saturday there are now 266 cases and six coronavirus-related deaths in the county according to the county. Of those cases, there are 128 females and 138 males with an age range of 3 - 98 year old.

LUCAS COUNTY FIRST RESPONDERS IN QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION

Air National Guard - 1 in quarantine

Lucas County Sheriff - 2 in quarantine, 13 in isolation

FBI - 1 in isolation

Maumee Fire - 1 in quarantine

Monclova Twp. Fire - 1 in isolation

Springfield Twp. Fire - 1 in isolation

Toledo Fire and Rescue - 24 in quarantine, 13 in isolation

Toledo Police - 1 in quarantine, 5 in isolation

Toledo Fire and Rescue Communications - 3 in quarantine, 4 in isolation

Sylvania Fire - 1 in isolation

Sylvania Police - 1 in isolation

TOTAL - 32 in quarantine, 40 in isolation

Friday

NEW NUMBERS:

There are now 238 cases and six coronavirus-related deaths in the county. Of those cases, there are 113 females and 125 males with an age range of 3 - 98 year old.

MASKS

From what we know about the virus, it can be spread prior to you being sick, Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said.

Zgodzinski said that the air-tight N-95 masks need to be saved for those on the front lines, as they are in short supply. However, if you have a lower-grade mask, already on hand, you can wear that. Also mentioned were scarves and homemade masks, but Zgodzinski said they aren't really recommending it.

You can wear those things if they make you feel safe, however, it is important to note, that they aren't nearly as effective. These types of protections mostly protect your droplets from getting out, but are not really effective in keeping other particles from coming in. Zgodzinski said it's like sneezing into your elbow.

Credit: lucas county health

He also warned against letting homemade and surgical masks trick you into having a false sense of security.

"It can't hurt unless we think that because we are wearing those, we can go wherever we want, which isn't true. If we start wearing masks, we still need to make sure we are separating by six feet," Zgodzinski said.

He also mentioned that if these masks are not taken off right, wearing them defeats the purpose.

Wash your hands before and after putting it on and taking it off, making sure not to touch your eyes or nose.

PARKS

While parks are still open, Metroparks rangers have been advised to close down parks that get too busy. They will also close down parking lots if they get too crowded and highly-used trails if people are not maintaining a distance of six feet.

Wildwood, Oak Openings and Side Cut parks are reportedly the busiest, so health department leaders suggest maybe trying another spot in the Metroparks system.

Parks are trying to control the number of visitors. All facilities are shut down, including exercise equipment, playgrounds restrooms and shelter houses.

The city of Toledo is in the process of removing basketball hoops from parks and reminding the community that no group sports activities will be permitted.

Credit: toledo lucas county health department

The city of Toledo will be asking police to make particular patrols through parks, and question individuals in parks, asking them to return home and break up groups when needed. Health department leaders said that this is the policy moving forward.

CLEAN YOUR HOME

Zgodzinski reminded the public that while we all want to use those disinfectants and bleach, soap and water works just as well. Make sure you are cleaning those surfaces we touch frequently, like table tops and doorknobs. 

SURVEY

Due to the great response to Lucas County's new "self-reporting" system for coronavirus symptoms, the program will be expanded to Wood and Fulton counties.

Not only will it give these counties a better look at how their community is doing, but it will also give Lucas County a better picture of the virus as we share employees and employers across county lines. Zgodzinski said that the survey will be available to these counties by Monday. 

Since the program is a self-reporting site, the data will only be as good as what you report. The goal is to eventually be able to reach out and call back the individuals who have concerning symptoms.

If you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and can't get tested, fill out this survey at LucasCountyHealth.com.

HOUSING FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

A contract with the University of Toledo was announced Friday to produce "well housing" for medical personnel and first reponders who may not be able to return home. 

While these individuals may not have been exposed, they could have a spouse or child at home who has a compromised immune system.

The university will provide safe, comfortable housing for those individuals moving forward.

NON-COMPLIANCE

Zgodzinski said that they have been responding to reports of businesses in non-compliance with the governor's order. He said that at this time, there are six entities that are definitely questionable. 

The process as it stands, is that the health department will reach out and first educate the business, and if they are still in non-compliance, the health department is ready for enforcement.

However, if a business is shut down, they can appeal to the state. 

At this time, the health department has well over 500 complaints. 

FIRE DEPT.

Firefighters now have full facial masks, with a canister that filters out virus. Zgodzinski said that while they may look intimidating, there is no reason to be concerned. The reason for the masks is to conserve resources, while still keep our first responders safe.

NATIONAL GUARD

Northwest Ohio is part of EMA Region 1. There are approximately 1.3 - 1.4 million people in this region over 19 counties.

In command with the National Guard, is Colonel Gregg G. Biddle. 

But what is the National Guard doing? They are looking at a team of people, including state and county EMAs, health care providers and civilians as a government approach to the pandemic, doing what they can to prepare for a hospital surge.

There are currently two members of 180th Fighter Wing in quarantine. Biddle said they are doing fine. 

He said the base is practicing social distancing and teleworking when they can. Biddle said that they are still doing their missions and doing everything they need to be ready.

Currently the National Guard is looking at different sites to see if they fit the needs of the region in terms of alternate medical sites. They are still in the evaluation stage of that process.

Biddle wanted to remind the public that part of their mission is domestic operations. 

"We are part of the community, we are your brothers and sisters, your family members. These are our communities. We are going to do the best we can to help out the situation," he said.

Biddle said that every one of his team members are from this area.

"We are here to save lives and we are here to support the community," he said.

RELATED: Toledo-Lucas County coronavirus update | Health department launches COVID-19 mental health line

MENTAL HEALTH

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department announced Friday a new mental health resource for those dealing with stress amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Toledo-Lucas County Emotional Support line is available seven days a week, from 11 a.m until 7 p.m. You can reach that system at 419-442-0580.

Posted by Toledo-Lucas County Health Department on Friday, April 3, 2020


WATER


The City of Toledo Public Utilities Department is asking customers to read water meters and report the usage amount by calling Toledo Public Utilities, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 419-245-1800, or by email at DPUcustomerservice@toledo.oh.gov

Credit: City of Toledo
Credit: City of Toledo

Toledo Public Utilities customers are encouraged to pay water bills online at this link: https://toledo.oh.gov/services/public-utilities/utilities-administration/online-billing/.

As previously announced, the city of Toledo will not shut off water service for nonpayment during the coronavirus pandemic. The city will reconnect water service to any occupied residence in the Toledo service area that has been disconnected previously for non-payment. 

If you need your water service turned back on, please call Engage Toledo at 419-936-2020. All late fees for water bills have been suspended.

Thursday

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department announced Thursday an additional COVID-19 related death, bringing the total to six in the county. 

The most recent fatality was a male in his early 70s. 

The number of first responders in Lucas County in quarantine and isolation are as follows:

Credit: TLCHD

The city of Toledo’s bicycle share program, ToleGo, has also been suspended through May 1. 

The 24/7 Lucas County Community COVID-19 call line numbers are: 419-251-4000 (English only) and 419-291-5355 (multilingual). 

The public is asked to call 419-213-4161, press 4, and leave a message to report COVID-19 related concerns such as non-essential businesses operating, essential businesses not adhering to guideline, or crowds gathering.

Wednesday 

Here is a ZIP code map of where those patients live around the community: 

Credit: Toledo-LUcas County Health Department

 

Health department enforcing stay-at-home order to non-compliant businesses

The health department has a staff monitoring the reports of non-compliant businesses, calling businesses that don't follow the order. If they refuse to follow social distancing guidelines or decide to remain open despite being a non-essential business, the health department will send law enforcement officers to those facilities, according to Zgodzinski. 

If you want to report a non-compliant business, call 419-213-4161 and dial 4. 

Hobby Lobby:

The health commissioner addressed the concerns about Hobby Lobby still being open in Ohio that were brought to Gov. Mike DeWine Wednesday.

Zgodzinski said some might consider Hobby Lobby is an essential business because it sells craft supplies people can use to work at home during the stay-at-home order. He added he thinks groceries and hardware stores are essential as long as those facilities follow the social distancing guidelines. 

"Grocery stores (should be open)? Yes. Hardware Stores? Yes. Hobby Lobby? Maybe not,' the health commissioner said. 

Zgodzinski added Hobby Lobby was one of the businesses on a list of other ones the health department is looking to contact and question if they should be open. 

The governor said he was surprised Hobby Lobby was still open at the briefing held in Columbus Tuesday. After the press conference, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sent the company a cease and desist letter. 

RELATED: Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sends cease & desist letter to Hobby Lobby after stores reopened

Lucas County Emergency Operation Center plans

EOC Manager Matthew Heyrman said planning for a crisis like this has been going on for 15 to 20 years. 

Right now, his team is working to create a solution for first responders and health care workers who have been exposed and don't want to put loved ones or others in their household at risk. 

Heyrman said there are currently 43 public-safety officials in quarantine or isolation. And they have a comprehensive policy in place that officers who feel they have been exposed can report to a health and wellness officer, who is available 24/7. 

Once the decision to put an officer in isolation or quarantine is made, they are kept away from the public for 14 days, according to Heyrman. 

The center has also been working with the state, preparing for the hospital surge. While Lucas County is one of 18 counties in the northwest Ohio region (the governor's office has divided the state into eight regions), all 32 hospitals in the region created a committee to serve the community as an operation center. 

Heyrman said the Ohio National Guard is also preparing for a surge in the hospitals and has been building field hospitals. 

The center is a multi-agency coordination center and there are about five to six people working in their facility, which was planned to have 40 to 50 people, so there plenty of space for social distancing. The rest of the team is working virtually.

Lucas County Jail 

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp addressed the news released yesterday by his office of an inmate and a nurse testing positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Lucas County Jail inmate, nurse diagnosed with COVID-19

Tharp said the nurse had been hospitalized but has been released and is recovering at home. The female inmate has been released and will go back to court for sentencing at a later date. 

He added they have traced inmate and officers the nurse and the inmate have been in contact with and they are in quarantine but have not exhibited any symptoms. 

Judges have looked at which inmates really need to be in jail right now. Tharp said the jail is a pre-trial facility, people are there if they are a threat to society or a flight risk, so judges have evaluated the cases and the jail population has since been reduced.

Additionally, the sheriff said the jail has been preparing for the coronavirus crisis for a few weeks now and has put in place measures.

Now, every person who comes into the facility has their temperature checked. Only attorneys are allowed to visit the inmates and they are required to wear masks. 

When a new inmate is booked, they have their temperature checked and are left in the booking area for 24 hours. They are separated from the general population for 72 hours and their temperature is checked three times a day. 

The holding area is cleaned and sanitized constantly. 

Once the jail is confident they are OK to go into the general population, they do but are monitored and still have their temperature checked regularly. 

Those who have loved ones in the jail can still reach them via teleconference or phone. 

Tharp also addressed the possible issue of officers getting sick and said his office has a plan in place if that happens. He said they can call off-duty officers to come in, ask officers from task forces, such as DART, to come in and help oversee inmates. They can also call retired correction officers and have them on standby. 

And they can also contact the Ohio Department of Corrections for assistance if they need, the sheriff said.

Tuesday 

Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski announced his department is working with the University of Toledo to launch a self-reporting tool in order to collect more data on COVID-19 in the community amid the current test shortage.

The tool will be a self-reported survey in which Lucas County residents will fill out a form with information about who they are and contact information. Then residents will be linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website where they will be asked if they have symptoms and the answers are reported back to the health department. 

The tool is meant to help with data collection in order to get a zip code map that shows hotspot zones in the community for COVID-19 cases. The idea is to be able to get information and resources to those areas, Zgodzinski said. 

Zgodzinski stressed the importance of residents using this system responsibly. He said wrong or untruthful information can actually hurt the results. He added the system will help the department contact people and help them out as well.  

The health department says the survey will be available by the end of the week in English, Arabic, Spanish and Mandarin. 

Reporting non-essential business 

Public Information Liaison with the Joint Information Center, Gretchen DeBacker, and Zgodzinski addressed concerns from the public about businesses around town not complying with the state stay-at-home order. 

Zgodzinski said the general public has done a great job calling and discussing non-essential businesses.

If you want to report a business you can call 419-213-4161 and hit the option 4 to leave a message with your concerns. About 12 health department staffers will be monitoring these messages and following up on them. 

DeBacker said you can reach out to them about a business if you have the following concerns:

1) You feel you are an essential employee but your employer is not complying with the stay-at-home order; 

2) You feel you are not an essential employee but you are still working;

3) If you see any businesses around the community that are not complying with the stay-at-home order; 

DeBacker said law enforcement forces around the county are ready to enforce penalties on non-compliant businesses. It hasn't happened in Lucas County yet, but officials are ready to act, she said.

Spanish-speaking residents will be able to leave messages with their concerns. 

New numbers:

On Tuesday, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department updated the community with new numbers. These numbers do not align with the Ohio Department of Health numbers for a host of factors, more of which is detailed in the related link below.

RELATED: COVID-19: Why the numbers reported from local agencies may differ from ODH

The number of total confirmed cases are 112. The total number of deaths was unchanged and remained at three. Of those confirmed cases, there are 61 male cases and 51 female cases. The ages range from 19 to 98. 

Here is a zip code map of where those patients live around the community: 

Credit: Toledo-Lucas County Health Department

Monday 

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department reported one more death in the county Monday afternoon.

This new coronavirus-related death pushes the total in the county to three. 

The confirmed number of cases is now 94 and patients ages range from 19-year-olds to 98.

Of the total number of cases, 54 are male individuals and 40 are female. 

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department numbers not always line up with the data the comes from the Ohio Department of Health because the data are reported at different times.

Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said the numbers will keep getting worse and keeping social distancing will be critical for the next two weeks.

He also confirmed six staffers from his department are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. Last week, he had confirmed two positive cases and two presumptive positive cases in the health department.

Zgodzinski said he is quarantining at home but has not shown any symptoms.

The department of health building had been closed after the cases were confirmed, but will re-open Tuesday for staff only.

Some programs and other public matters will still be handled, but the schedule might have changed. You can check more details on the health department website. 

Proximity to Detroit 

As Detroit becomes a hotspot for coronavirus, Zgodzinski addressed concerns of the city being in close proximity to Toledo's regional hospital system.

The health commissioner said the county should have a plan in place soon and he is waiting to hear back from state leaders.

Zgodzinski added that Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz also raised this issue to Gov. Mike DeWine. 

Homelessness concerns 

Cherry Street Mission Ministries President Ann Ebbert joined the update and addressed concerns regarding one of their guests testing positive for COVID-19.

She said the shelter received confirmation about the case late Saturday night and they have since put health safety measures in place.

RELATED: Cherry Street Mission Ministries confirms positive COVID-19 case

Ebbert added that they had already been planning for that situation because they knew it wouldn't be a matter of "if" a case would get confirmed, but "when."

Now, the shelter has moved to an all-resident program, meaning all 170 guests are living and staying at their facility.

The shelter has also instituted quarantine rooms for the individuals who were exposed to the virus. People in those rooms have access to masks they can use when they need to go to common areas, such as the bathroom. 

The shelter is also cleaning all surfaces with medical disinfectant. 

Additionally, staffers that were exposed to the virus are in quarantine at their own homes. 

Rachel Rine with the Toledo-Lucas County Homelessness Board said her department is working closely with state representatives, agencies and other community leaders to ensure the homeless population is protected. 

She said they have reached out their community providers

Outdoor activities 

Zgodzinski reminded the public that although the Toledo Metroparks are open, people should still practice social distancing when practicing outdoor activities.

He asked that people refrain from playing team sports, such as basketball and football, and only interact closely with people who live in your home.

When it comes to golf courts, the health commissioner said social distancing practices should be respected and those interested in playing golf should play by themselves or with members from their own household.  

RELATED: Watch Live: Coronavirus Update | Ohio schools to stay closed through at least May 1

RELATED: First COVID-19 death reported in Seneca Co.

RELATED: Hancock County confirms 4th COVID-19 case

RELATED: Ottawa County Health Department confirms 1st COVID-19 case

Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context

WTOL 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit /coronavirus-covid-19 for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan specifically, learn more about the symptoms and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 419-248-1100.

Protect yourself from coronavirus

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined can.
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

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