1. Currently, there are four confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio and indications of community spread (being spread from person to person within the state).
2. DeWine declared state of emergency, which, among other things, discourages social gatherings and allows for better coordination of state department and agency efforts to contain the outbreak. The World Health Organization updated COVID-19’s outbreak status to pandemic as of 3/11/20.
3. Currently, OSU and other universities throughout the state have canceled in-person classes and substituted online learning until at least the end of the month. Collegiate athletic events are running with essential personnel (athletes, coaches, etc.) only, no general admission spectators.
4. Columbus Metropolitan Library has canceled all events held on their premises, including those by outside groups, such as HCCO, until the end of the month.
5. The goal at this point is to slow the spread of the virus, so that needed health services remain available for those most severely affected.
7. Exposure can happen in any public setting, including grocery stores, so washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer is the first line of defense.
8. Our decision to cancel HCCO events for the next few weeks is in line with the actions recommended by the governor and Ohio’s Department of Health, and follows what other public entities, including libraries and colleges, are doing.
9. This was not an easy decision and we do not take it lightly, but, in living our humanist values, we felt it necessary. We will continue to provide information, updates, and support to our members as this continues to develop.
MARCH 26 UPDATE:
HCCO’s board met last week and one of the items on the agenda was COVID-19. At this point, it seems that in-person events in April are unlikely and even June events, such as Pride and Comfest, might also be affected.
We’re working on a way to create an online community, to help people keep in touch via webinars, chat rooms, etc., and we’ll be asking for volunteers to help with things like moderating. Our goal is to create a system of support/contact, so that people can stay in touch, even if they can’t be in the same physical space.
We’re also exploring creating a volunteer list of people willing to be out in the community to run errands (like getting groceries/meds) for people who are housebound, either due to high-risk factors or actual diagnosis. There are some kinks to iron out, as we must maintain the safety of everyone involved. The last thing we want to do is put people at risk, but we also don’t want people to be unable to get the basics that they need to survive just because they can’t get out.
We WILL get through this and we will come through it in better shape if we continue to work together and support each other. If you have any suggestions or questions for the board, then please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.