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COPING WITH COVID CRISIS: Pandemic disrupting much of daily life, but no need to panic

Corrie Withrich shares a homemade hand sanitizer recipe, which includes rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel in travel-sized bottles.


Pick out a few of your favorite songs. Now, time the chorus of each of those songs.
When you find one with lyrics that you can sing in about 20 seconds, consider making that your hand-washing song.
Or, you can go with the old standby the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends – humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing – is at the top of the CDC’s list of preventative measures to protect oneself against illness such as the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

This recommendation is being disseminated across the country. The rapidly spreading life-threatening respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China, earlier this winter has reached the United States.
The World Health Organization labeled the global COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic but also described the situation as “controllable.”
As of the weekend, Europe is considered the “epicenter of the pandemic,” according to the WHO. Globally, 153,517 cases were confirmed as of Monday and 5,735 deaths.
Ohio is taking the crisis seriously and has responded. Eastern Wayne County has followed suit. Local schools are following Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s order and will be closed for the next few weeks. Events and activities have been canceled or rescheduled as officials have encouraged social distancing to prevent transmission of the illness.

Local reaction
Cleaning essentials and food staples have been flying off the shelves at stores as people are trying to get rid of germs and stock up in preparation.
Corrie Withrich, who has a son and grandkids in Dalton Local Schools, is among some who have found a way around the shortage of hand sanitizer on store shelves and has begun making her own.
Withrich makes a batch with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol (she uses 91 percent ) ½ cup of aloe vera gel and a few drops of essential oil. She uses lemon. Before the governor announced schools were to close, Withrich purchased travel containers to put her homemade sanitizer in and refilled the hanging containers on the kids’ backpacks.
“This does not replace washing your hands,” she says, “but when you can’t, it’s convenient and I like to keep one in my car.”
Withrich is concerned about the children, and also her daughter works in a nursing home and is pregnant. She is aware that people with compromised immune systems also are at high risk and she encourages people to take extra care of themselves and prevent exposure.
“It’s like I explained to the kids … there is no need to panic we just need to be prepared and be cautious,” Withrich says. “Treat it like a bad flu outbreak. Wash your hands, cover sneezes and coughs like we’ve been doing for months now … No need to move into panic mode, just use common sense and stock up on essentials you may need.”
Dalton Local Schools students will be out of school for four weeks and may expect to return to school Monday, April 13, according to a letter from Superintendent Jim Saxer available at www.daltonlocal. org. This includes the three weeks ordered by DeWine, plus Dalton’s regularly scheduled spring break April 6-10. Distance/online instruction is planned until April 6.
According to a letter on the school district’s website, Dalton Local Schools is willing to lend Chromebooks to children to use while out of school and will expand the boundaries of Wi-Fi access to the parking lots, the letter states.
The District also will continue to provide lunch each day for students. Students are able to pick up a week’s worth of lunches at one time to minimize trips to the school for families and students on the free or reduced lunch program will still receive their meal for free or at a reduced price.
“We understand these are truly unprecedented times,” Saxer writes in the letter. “Another primary goal of the District is to protect the health and welfare of our students, staff, and Community members, while ensuring we keep them safe. We will communicate with you the facts as we know them using our District website, as well as social media accounts. We will also monitor and follow all guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Gov. Mike DeWine, and the Wayne County Health Department.”
The letter also notes that abiding by recommendations of DeWine and the ODH, all extracurricular activities are postponed.
Dalton STEAM teacher Laura Grimm shared with students last week that her National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Teacher at Sea adventure has been postponed until next school year. She originally was chosen to be at sea April 29 through May 13 on a fisheries research expedition and planned to keep her students updated throughout the expedition. A statement issued to students had an honest but optimistic tone: “Needless to say, she is disappointed. In life, things happen. We cannot choose what comes our way. We can only choose how we respond. She looks forward to going to sea in 2021 and sharing her adventure with all of you.”
Karol Niehaus, who prepares meals for Meals on Wheels at Dalton Presbyterian Church, said the meal service will continue as usual. She reminds residents that Dalton Presbyterian Church has a food pantry available for anyone in need during the weeks the children are off school. For more information, call the church at 330-828-2144.
The University of Akron canceled classes through March 29 with instruction moving online beginning March 30, this includes the Wayne College in Orrville. All large on-campus events have been canceled through April 20. The Emerge 2020 event has been postponed until Fall 2020.
Aultman Hospital has decided to put in place new visitor restrictions at all its locations until further notice as a precaution against COVID-19, according to a news release. Restrictions include visitors experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms are restricted from visiting; only one visitor or caregiver per patient will be permitted in the facility; and visitation hours have been adjusted at all the locations.
The Wayne County Health Department is available to answer questions about COVID-19 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Residents may call and ask to speak with a communicable disease nurse.
Information also is available on the website at

COVID-19 in Ohio
As of Monday, national media reported Ohio had 37 confirmed cases, but none had been reported in Wayne County.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order March 9 declaring a state of emergency in Ohio, which would allow state departments and agencies to better coordinate their response. Last week, he ordered that all kindergarten through 12th grade schools close through April 3. Although daycare centers and preschools were not included, DeWine urged parents to keep their children home if economically able to do so. He encourages parents not to leave their children in the care of an elderly babysitter over the age of 60, as these individuals are the highest risk to become seriously ill from COVID-19, according to a news release.
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton signed an order to prohibit gatherings of 100 or more people in a single room or space at the same time such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, or theater. This includes parades, fairs and festivals.
Mass gatherings do not include normal operations of airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and centers, or other spaces where 100 or more persons may be in transit, according to a news release.
Restaurants and bars also have been ordered closed to in-house patrons.
At the urging of the nursing home industry, the Ohio Department of Health will soon update its current order limiting visitors to nursing and assisted living homes to reflect that no visitors will be admitted, according to the governor’s website, which is updated regularly.
DeWine said that he would be issuing an order for community jails and corrections facilities throughout Ohio to prohibit visitors and require health screenings for mission-critical vendors, contractors, etc.
The Ohio Development Services Agency is preparing to submit an application in the coming week to qualify Ohio for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to provide low-interest loans to help businesses.
The Ohio Department of Health has updated COVID-19 information including how to be prepared available at An Ohio Department of Health hotline has been set up at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, according to the CDC.
The CDC reports symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure including fever, cough and shortness of breath. People who have these symptoms and have been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 are instructed to call their doctor.

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