Toledo, Lucas County officials give update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Press staff writer

         In response to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s comments last week regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), Toledo and Lucas County officials recently announced steps they are taking to make sure the county is prepared to deal with the serious health challenge.
        “As Governor DeWine said yesterday, it is important that we are prepared, but not panic,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said last week during a joint city, county, and local health department news conference at the Lucas County EMS Training Center.
        “There are common sense steps we can all take to make sure our community can get through this difficult time together,” the mayor said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and err on the side of caution. We are talking this very seriously, but it is important to know that our community is ready and we have been working on this since the onset of this challenge.”
        City and County officials are collaborating with local health providers, including ProMedica and Mercy Health.
        “I have spoken to officials from both Mercy Health and ProMedica and they are working to make sure our community is prepared,” the mayor said.
        “The more preparations we take now for Coronavirus the better off we will be in the coming days, weeks, and months,” said Tina Skeldon Wozniak, President of the Lucas County Commissioners. “This is a critical time for all Lucas County residents. We ask everyone to be good to one another and take care of themselves. We are asking residents to avoid large groups and gatherings and make reasonable decisions about the contact they have with other people.”
        The commissioners have been in communication with elected officials in Lucas County, including those representing cities, townships, and villages, she said.
        “We are relying on the expert guidance of our local health department officials, the Ohio Department of Health, and the governor,” Wozniak said.
        “We know early interventions or counter measures, such as handwashing, social distancing, staying home when sick, covering sneeze/cough, frequently clean/disinfect, and avoid large gatherings,” said Eric Zgodzinski, Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner. “These efforts work to decrease the number of people affected and delay the onset of illness.”
        In an effort to lower the risk for Toledo Public Utilities customers, Toledo City Council, and Mayor Kapszukiewicz instituted a moratorium on water shut-offs until the threat of COVID-19 is diminished. The moratorium is effective immediately and applies to residential Toledo and Lucas County customers. During the moratorium, Toledo Public Utilities will not turn off water service to any residential customer. During the moratorium, the city will restore water service to all residential customers who have had their water disconnected for non-payment. In order to accomplish this, Toledo Public Utilities field services technicians must access properties to obtain a meter reading.
        All residents are reminded not to allow anyone claiming to be a Toledo Public Utilities employees access to your home unless they have proper identification and they are properly uniformed. Field personnel wear blue pants and shirt or jacket with the embroidered City of Toledo logo patch on the left chest. All Toledo Public Utilities employees carry and will prominently display their City of Toledo identification badges. They drive deep blue City of Toledo vehicles that also display the City of Toledo logo and “Water Division” on the doors.
        During the moratorium, customers who need assistance, or who have general billing questions, are encouraged to contact Engage Toledo at 419-936-2020. Customers can also email or visit the Customer Service Walk-In Service Center at 420 Madison Ave.
        Toledo Municipal Court implemented efforts to maintain social distancing. The court announced on Wednesday that fines, fees, and costs due March 11 through June 1, 2020 will be continued an additional 90 days from the original due date. For information on a particular case, check the courts website at
        All events at the SeaGate Convention Centre and the Huntington Center have been canceled through April 15 except Walleye games, which will continue with no spectators.
        The City of Toledo asked the public to use 911 only when it is appropriate. People should call 911 in an emergency only.
        General cold and flulike symptoms are typically not circumstances that would require 911 call and response. Individuals with concerns or flu-like symptoms should call their health care provider first with questions. The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has expanded its phone lines. Callers may dial 419-213-4161 to speak with a staff member who is able to answer questions about COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Health has a COVID-19 hotline, 1-833-4ASK-ODH.
        Utilizing 911 for only true emergencies such as fires, motor vehicle accidents, life threatening injuries, or medical emergencies such as heart attack, severe respiratory symptoms, or allergic reactions, will reduce the potential exposures to first responders, hospital based healthcare workers, and the general public.


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