Wayne County establishes local coronavirus information website

PHOTO PROVIDED

Wayne County Health Director Nick Cascarelli appears in a video on the newly-created wcjic.org website explaining the local impact of the novel coronavirus and precautions people should take to protect themselves. According to Cascarelli, future videos are planned.

DGKN staff report

A one-stop shop website to get local news and updates about the coronavirus-related situation in Wayne County and beyond is available at www.wcjic.org, according to a news release from the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

The Wayne County Emergency Management Agency and the Wayne County Health Department recently partnered with the United Way of Wayne and Holmes Counties to establish a joint informational website to provide the latest news and updates about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The website address is an acronym for Wayne County Joint Information Center.

A JIC is established during an incident, such as a pandemic, that involves multiple agencies working together to ensure the coordination and verification of public information. According to WCHD Director Nick Cascarelli, the purpose of the website is to post information about the coronavirus from the agencies helping to contain the outbreak.

“The website is a convenient one-stop shop (that people can) get local information about the coronavirus that is up to date,” Cascarelli said in the news release. “This (coronavirus pandemic) is bigger than usual, and it involves a lot of people like first responders, hospitals, Wayne County Sheriff’s office, government officials, United Way (of Wayne and Holmes Counties), the health department, and others.”
The website, in addition to the latest COVID-19 information, also contains phone numbers to resources such as: child care, free internet service, utility information, travel guidance, resources for health care providers and homeless shelter.

The JIC is also utilizing the WHIRE (Wayne Holmes Information Referral Exchange) telephone number, provided by UWWH, as an additional resource to facilitate help to those in need. The WHIRE number is 330-263-6363, and it is designed to provide information and referrals using an extensive database of community resources.

“How to get help paying rent, where to go for counseling, where to get help with utility bills; the needs of the people run the gamut,” UWWH Public Relations Manager Carrolyn Salazar said. “This phone number is a resource for people that do not know where to turn. Since partnering on the JIC, we can now answer questions about COVID-19. With us (UWWH) taking the calls, it is allowing the health department and emergency management staff to focus on other important community measures regarding this virus.”

To slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners reminds residents to take precautions by following guidelines such as:
*   Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
*   Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
*   Practicing proper sneezing and coughing etiquette.
*   Avoiding contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
*   Staying home when sick or when experiencing flu-like symptoms.
*   Avoiding contact with people who are sick.
*   Utilizing social distancing recommendations.

Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, desks, and tablets.

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