MOUNT VERNON — Knox Public Health Commissioner Julie Miller and Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer addressed the state’s stay-at-home orders and those directing non-essential businesses to remain closed Tuesday during a Facebook Live discussion from the Emergency Operations Center located in the sheriff’s office.

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If everyone does their part to abide by the state’s orders, it will make a major difference in keeping Americans alive, Miller said. She cited models estimating the spread of COVID-19 mentioned recently by state Health Director Amy Acton. If the United States follows the way China has used a combination of closures and quarantine-related policies, then fewer than 100,000 people will die from the pandemic. But if business goes about as usual and nothing is done, the number of dead could reach 2.2 million.

“If we all do our part, if we stay at home, and work when we have to work and go home after that, and we abide by the closures that have been made, then we’re going to be able to do our part to keep everybody healthy,” Miller said. She added that Knox Public Health is still waiting on test results for the virus but did not elaborate.

Miller urged Knox County residents to become familiar with Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay at home orders, which went into effect Tuesday and will be in place for at least two weeks. People may only leave home for reasons related to health and safety, to obtain necessary services or supplies such as groceries, for outdoor activity, to care for others such as the elderly, or to perform a job deemed essential.

Shaffer said the sheriff’s office has been involved in morning meetings with Mark Maxwell, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, “to plan out” future events and the resources that will be required. On Sunday evening, more than 50 county sheriffs were on a conference call with Gov. Mike DeWine to discuss stay-at-home orders and other topics.

“We are not going to be stopping people on the roadways at this time, just to find out why they’re out,” Shaffer said. “The big thing we’re looking for is just that social distancing and staying apart.”

He noted that under the orders, people are allowed to go outside, such as to a park, but emphasized, “Just do not congregate (in a group). If we get a complaint about a group, we’re just going to use it as an educational opportunity to meet with those people, talk with them, and encourage them to move away from each other and go back to their residences.”

In the worst case, he said, deputies would take a report and forward it to the city law director or county prosecutor if a summons were warranted.

Shaffer said the state has been discussing the implementation of an Emergency Partner Credentialing System, which would issue credentials to essential employees.

Shaffer said the presence of the state’s National Guard units will be to facilitate humanitarian aid, such as helping with food distribution. They will not be on hand to enforce martial law.

 

Larry Di Giovanni: 740-397-5333 or larry@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews