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Coronavirus In Ohio: Yes, You Can Still Go For Walks

Woman running
Daniel Reche

Many listeners have written in asking if it’s safe to go outside, especially since Gov. Mike DeWine announced a "stay at home" order taking effect Monday night.

Elizabeth from Cleveland said she understands the calls to stay home, especially if you’re over 60. But she asked: “Can we be outside walking the dog or ourselves?”

Yes, it's OK to go outside for a walk with or without your dog. In fact, Keith Armitage of Cleveland's University Hospitals recommends it.

“Going outside is great. Exercising outside is great,” he said. “I live in Cleveland Heights, I walk my dog frequently, as does my family.”

He said he’s noticed more joggers, possibly because gyms are closing.

During the Sunday press conference, DeWine said going outside in uncrowded areas is fine, as long as people maintain social distancing. But Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton said staying inside is safest.

Many gyms are offering online classes, and there are free workout videos on YouTube as well.

“I walk for exercise in the hallways of our high-rise apartment building," asks Suan from Willowick. "I only come across one or two people at the most while walking. Is this safe?”  

Armitage said if possible, Susan should go outside for her exercise. But he said as long as the hallway isn’t crowded, she should be fine, as long as she stays six feet away from people, and washes her hands after touching anything.

“When you’re in any public space, you don’t know if any of the surfaces are contaminated with coronavirus,” he said.

The CDC says you’re much more likely to get coronavirus from person to person contact, but new research suggests it is possible to get it from touching contaminated surfaces.

So everyone should be mindful of door handles and other surfaces you might touch, whether you’re exercising or doing anything in public.

The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.