CLEVELAND — While Ohio has stayed plateaued on the curve of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said it not just about flattening it but staying ahead of it as she warned everyone will live with this virus for at least 18 months, which is why she says the state is building an expansive recovery network.
She is confident Ohioans can withstand what she calls a war, but it’s going to take a daily battle to continue protective measures.
“This is a war. It has been a silent enemy all along. A pandemic does more than kill people - it disrupts civil society and supply chains. It can turn us against each other,” she said.
The question Acton said many are asking is how we do a little more, all the time, without creating too big of a risk that puts the state into another lockdown mode.
As the state makes a gradual opening on May 1, Acton said to get out of this, we have to slowly move the "dimmer switch" by doing the lowest risk things first, watch how the state deals with the spread of infection, then turn the dial a little more.
“So we’ve got our dimmer switch planning, and we’ve got our firefighter, putting out fires plan,” Acton said. “And that is the dance, and the plan that the governor’s team is working on. Do I wish we could just hand you a plan every day. There was no playbook for this. The whole world is figuring out this equation of the dimmer switch, and the firefight put out. And I want you to know that Ohio is on the front edge of that."
Acton said there are five things needed to work our way out of a pandemic, including social distancing, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine and treatment.
Acton also said once the state reopens, she expects cases to increase.
Ohio Gov. DeWine said no one can look at May 1 as when we get back to normal, calling it a "high wiring act" of moving forward but doing it in a safe way.
"Once you start opening things up the contact increases. The key here is to do it in a way that minimizes, as much as humanly possible, risk," DeWine said.
In the weeks and months to come, Acton said believes Ohioans have the resilience for the long road ahead.
"I’m very optimistic that we have the grit and resiliency to weather a war, especially given the outstanding leadership we have," Acton said.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
The federal government has begun distributing $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans to help relieve the economic burden caused by coronavirus. Click here for everything you need to know about checking the status and receiving these payments.
The CDC and the Ohio Department of Health are now recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Read more about the CDC's recommendation here. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a face mask from common household materials, without having to know how to sew.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.