TIFFIN — In conjunction with the Seneca County Board of Commissioners, Seneca County Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer is stressing the importance of conducting the Seneca County Fair in a safe manner to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
On Thursday, the state government elevated Seneca County’s Public Health Advisory to Level 2 (orange) from Level 1.
Gov. Mike DeWine also mandated this week that masks be worn in public places.
According to information from Johns Hopkins University, as of Friday, 144,524 Americans had died from COVID-19.
As of Thursday, Seneca County had recorded 2 deaths and had 51 active cases of COVID-19. This number has seen a large increase in the past two weeks.
Schweitzer and other local officials are concerned that the Seneca County Fair, which occurs next week, July 27-Aug. 2, could lead to a dramatic spike in the number of cases in the community.
Schweitzer contacted the Seneca County Fair Board this week, and officials agreed to enforce the statewide mask mandate by not allowing anyone above the age of 10 to enter without wearing a mask.
“I’ve also asked the Fair Board to ensure that people are social distancing to aid in reducing the risk of transmission,” she added. “If our community is not diligent in complying with these mandates and recommendations, we risk the chance of having further shutdowns in the future. We also risk the chance of schools not being able to open and athletic events and other activities being canceled.”
Schweitzer also reminded those who are immunocompromised or have other health issues to be extra careful during this time. “I’d ask those folks to avoid attending places where there are crowds and to take extra caution,” she said.
Schweitzer said she hopes people will comply with the guidelines and recommendations.
“We need the help of everyone, so we don’t see a large increase in cases two weeks after the fair,” she said. “I know that our citizens are responsible, I have confidence that people will do the right thing and that we can all do this together.”
Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner echoed Schweitzer’s statements. “We owe it to each other to listen to our local health experts to help keep each other safe,” he said.
Commissioner Shayne Thomas agreed. “We are in unprecedented times,” he said. “Life has changed for all of us over the past four months, but the way that we carry ourselves in the coming days will determine how soon we can get back to some semblance of normalcy.”
Commissioner Anthony Paradiso said he knows it has been a difficult time, and he knows many are making sacrifices, but he hopes people see that it will be worth it. “If we all work together and follow these guidelines, we can play an important role in defeating the virus and getting back to normal,” he said.
All three commissioners offered their support and appreciation to Schweitzer. Seneca County Emergency Management Agency Director John Spahr also thanked Schweitzer for providing steady leadership through the pandemic.
“Beth has done a great job leading us through this difficult time,” Paradiso said. “She has the full support of myself and other county leaders, as we know we must lean on her leadership, experience and knowledge.”
“We are lucky to have her,” Thomas added.