Richland Public Health Commissioner Calls on Citizens to Help Fight Pandemic

Richland County and Ohio have been experiencing an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, unlike anything yet reported during the pandemic.

Richland County has been at Level 3/Red in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for seven straight weeks, indicating very high exposure and continuing spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Richland County again increased its high incidence designation, reporting more than 355 positive coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents with 431 new cases over the past two weeks.

The increase in cases has placed a substantial burden on Richland Public Health’s workload. Health Commissioner Sarah Humphrey is calling on all citizens to help in their efforts to control the spread throughout the community.

“With the amount of spread happening in the state right now, public health need has exceeded the available manpower to call every positive case immediately and walk them through the protocols they should be following,” Humphrey said. “We need citizens to be proactive and informed on their own. If you’ve tested positive, have symptoms, or think you’ve been in contact with a positive case, please stay home. Take personal responsibility to not expose your friends or co-workers, even if you have tested and are awaiting your results. The virus travels through sharing breathing space with other people and the only way the pandemic will end is to stop allowing the virus to pass from one to another.”

If you’ve received a positive test result from your doctor, don’t wait for public health to call you to start isolation. The Health Commissioner is also asking citizens to think about who they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before symptoms started. Those are the people that should be notified of exposure. If you are not comfortable doing this, call the Health Department and the call to contacts can be made confidentially.

Richland Public Health has a website for additional information on what to do if you test positive or if you think you’ve been exposed. See:

Five Things to Do If You’re Sick or Have Been Exposed to Someone Who is Sick:

  • Keep your distance. Stay in your bedroom and use a bathroom separate from the one used by other members of your household, if possible. Wear a face mask when around others and try to stay at least 6 feet away. Have someone else in the home prepare meals and leave them outside your bedroom. Don’t share bedding, towels, dishes, or water bottles with others. If something is shared, wash it with soap and water before each use by a separate person.
  • Do not leave your home (unless necessary for medical care). Ask family, friends, or community groups to help with needs by leaving supplies outside your door.
  • Limit visitors to those who are necessary. Have them wash their hands when they enter and leave; wear a face mask and stay at least 6 feet away. If they have symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, ask them not to come.
  • Wipe down high-touch areas every day with a disinfectant. This includes doorknobs; light switches; phones; remote controls; appliance, sink, toilet, and cabinet handles; countertops, etc.
  • Limit contact with pets. If you do interact with pets, wear a facemask, and wash your hands before and after.

Ways to prevent COVID-19:

  • Stay home if you’re sick, even with mild symptoms
  • Be mindful in your interactions with others. Limit your chances of exposure by maintaining social distancing of at least six feet from non-household members
  • Wear a mask in public
  • Consider necessary travel only
  • Follow good hygiene standards:
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Use hand sanitizer frequently
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Cover coughs and sneezes

For more information about the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, visit For more information or resources related to COVID-19 in Richland County, visit Follow Richland Public Health on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.