County’s top health official recommends non-essential businesses to close

Gas stations, grocery stores considered essential. Restaurants can offer drive-thru, to-go orders.

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March 16, 2020 - 4:00 PM

All “non-essential” businesses in Allen, Anderson, Bourbon and Woodson counties were advised to close their doors beginning Tuesday morning to help curtail the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus that is sweeping the nation.

Rebecca Johnson, Public Health Officer and executive director of the SEK Multi-County Health Departments, issued the statement Monday afternoon.

The health department is the agency in charge of local response.

Johnson recommended schools, bars, factories, churches and other places with non-essential meetings and gatherings remain closed until at least Sunday.

There are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in those counties, but Johnson said in a press release her office is working closely with local, state and federal partners to monitor, respond and inform the public of any potential threat.

Johnson regarded gas stations and grocery stores as providing essential services and asked those businesses to remain open.

Food service establishments are encouraged to practice social distancing and isolation. Patrons are asked to use drive-up windows or takeout during this time period.

Businesses that can isolate workers and conduct operations, such as working from home, are asked to do that instead of closing. 

Anyone who can stay home from work is asked to do so, Johnson wrote.

“Everyone, especially school-aged children, should limit contact with others and use their best judgment,” the press release read.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Anyone with symptoms is asked to call a physician or hospital for direction, instead of showing up unannounced. If you must go to the hospital, wait in your car in the parking lot, call and wait for directions. 

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have returned from an area with known cases, remain at home and call your family physician, local clinic or Allen County Health Department at 6200-365-2191.

The health department recommends the following:

  • Stay away from people who are ill.
  • If you have a compromised immune system or are  considered a vulnerable population avoid face to face time and practice social distancing.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Practice personal hygiene habits including handwashing, covering your cough, and avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • For more information call the Allen County Health Department at 620-365-2191 Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Visit the COVID-19 Resource Center at kdheks.gov/coronavirus/index.htm
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