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Health Officials To Seniors: 'Stay The Heck At Home'

Volunteers assembling food boxes for area seniors earlier this month at Central Connections in Middletown
Courtesy of Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
Volunteers assembling food boxes for area seniors earlier this month at Central Connections in Middletown

The message from the Butler County General Health District and county leaders is simple: If you're over 65, "stay the heck at home."

"Butler County is about in line with the state as far as what they are seeing," says Butler County Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer. "My parting words from me personally are: If you don't have to be out and about, please stay the heck at home. That's my plea for Butler County right now."

People over 65 and those with compromised immune systems and other health concerns are considered at higher risk for catching and having complications from COVID-19.

As of Friday morning, Butler County had 22 confirmed cases of the disease.

"That's not an all-inclusive number. We know that there are people who are positive who have ... not been tested or who have been tested and their results have not been reported to us," Bailer says.

Eight people are listed as recovered. Bailer says the recovery time period for those people was 11 to 24 days, with a median of 16 days.

Council On Aging Of Southwestern Ohio

Services such as Meals on Wheels and personal care are continuing, according to an update from Ken Wilson, vice president of program operations for Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio. The group is contacting all seniors participating in its programs to check on them and respond to any needs.

In Butler County alone, that's 3,000 people, Wilson says. Care managers expect to reach everyone by April 3.

"To date, 1,508 food boxes have been delivered to seniors across Butler County," Wilson says. Those include 14 days worth of shelf-stable food items since many of the agency's clients are unable to leave their homes, or shouldn't because of their health concerns. "All current Meals on Wheels recipients will have a food box delivered to them by Monday."

He adds more older adults are reaching out to the agency - not just from Butler County - because of the pandemic. A hotline set up to take disease-related questions is experiencing high call volumes, but seniors are encouraged to call 513-721-1025 with concerns.

"People that are calling are afraid to leave their homes to get essential supplies such as food or personal care items," he says. "Some are lonely and afraid. They need someone to check on them. We are responding by organizing volunteers to match them with these seniors to provide a regular phone call to check up on them."

Council on Aging is also asking for monetary and supply donations. Since phone lines are jammed, the council is asking volunteers and donors seek information out on their website. They say seniors are running out of these items:

  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bar soap
  • Liquid soap
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Denture care items
  • Toothpaste
  • Lysol spray
  • Dish detergent
  • Laundry detergent
  • Tissues
  • Cat and dog food

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Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.