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COVID-19 Reader Questions

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  • PLEASE NOTE:

    For those with medical questions regarding COVID-19 please contact your primary care provider or call the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Your Coronavirus Questions Answered

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Is Clifton Gorge open for hikes?

Asked By: AS on May 26, 2020

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Yes, the hiking trails at the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve are open. So are trails at nearby John Bryan State Park. Both are managed by the state and remained open throughout the crisis.

However, trails are closed to the public in the adjacent Glen Helen Nature Preserve, a private preserve owned by Antioch College. Those trails were closed on March 26 and there is no plan to reopen them.

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Asked By: Anonymous on May 22, 2020

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Many local businesses have uniform signs promoting masks, or more specific signs indicated they are required. Below is the front door at Tom’s Market last week, which shows a the sign distributed by the YS Chamber of Commerce bearing the message, “Mask on YS,” and a sign with a more specific message indicated that masks must be worn, and will be provided if a patron does not have one. If you need to know the policy of a specific shop, the best way to to call ahead and inquire. Hope that helps.

Photo by Chandra Jones-Graham

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If individuals or businesses fail to exercise precautions that would help protect the most vulnerable, including older Americans , can and will these entities be held accountable via possibly individual or even class action lawsuits, as it would seem to suggest a form of age and/or disability discrimination other than just 'lack of concern for others'. I really hope legal consultants and advocates are looking into this. Suggestions maintain “personal responsibility and accountability to others,” though doesn’t specify what measures to take" yet the guidelines have been posted and published enough that business enterprises could not plead ignorance of what they are.

Asked By: Duke on May 22, 2020

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Thanks for writing, Duke. A variety of lawsuits are being filed right now, including against companies by workers who contracted COVID-19 on the job. There are others too, against various industries and governments. This website details some of them: https://justicecounts.com/coronavirus-lawsuits-covid-19-lawsuits/

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The people relying on home delivery are also influenced by their own state of health, and other risk factors, such as what they observe. There were many folks in downtown Yellow Springs Saturday without masks and passing each other on the sidewalks within 6 feet. They may think it a personal liberty to take chances, but their behavior threatens not only the safety of others but, also, the survival of the Village economy because the risky behaviors deter more health conscious visitors and shoppers. The signs requesting visitors to wear masks and maintain social distance were visible. It would have great if visitors complied.

Asked By: Newt on May 21, 2020

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Thank you for sharing your concerns, Newt. 

There is a long article in the May 21 issue of the Yellow Springs News on the issue, “Varied views on mask rules.” It will be online next week if you don’t have a subscription or cannot pick up a copy at the newsstand.

In short, the Village of Yellow Springs is hoping to increase signage in the downtown area to increase compliance with the mask recommendation, but is not currently going to pass a measure requiring masks be worn in public or in shops. And while most downtown shops require masks on their stores, some are softening their stance due to worries about losing customers.

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Is Perry League t-ball happening this year or will it be cancelled due to the pandemic? Who is a good contact to ask?

Asked By: Pam on May 21, 2020

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Last week, Coach Jimmy Chesire announced that the 2020 season of Perry League T-ball, which was to have run from June 5 to Aug. 7, would be canceled.

His full post from Facebook is here:

Hello all my t-ball friends,

I am sorry to say we must cancel our summer 2020 Perry League season. Our normal ten Friday night program, which would have been from Friday, June 5, to Friday, August 7, is cancelled because of the life-and-death threat of the corona virus. Social distancing will be needed to continue this summer. We can’t have t-ball if we need to be a least six feet away from everyone every t-ball night.

Besides social distancing there is the need for testing. Most experts says it is too dangerous to be gathering in groups now and that it will continue to be dangerous until there is reliable testing that can be done on everyone. With such tests we will know who has been and who is infected. And then we can isolate only them, those infected, allowing the rest of us who have tested negative to return to a “normal” life.

I am sorry. I wish we didn’t have to do this. But we must do what we can to be safe, to protect ourselves and our children. I think this is the right thing, the best thing, for us to do.

Jimmy Chesire

Perry League League Program Coordinator

May 14, 2020

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I'm concerned about social isolation for those in recovery and older people who don't have strong ties with family or may be less technically astute. I see that Google has an app called "Meet" for online meetings for anyone. I'm wondering if community groups could be established to help people via that? I know the elderly and those with underlying conditions who are not planning on venturing out because of risk. There needs to be more done, especially in some communities who have offered very little. Yellow Springs is light years ahead of most. Thank you!

Asked By: Anonymous on May 18, 2020

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Thank you for your suggestions. It’s an important issue. We covered some of the mental health challenges associated with the pandemic here: Pandemic stressors affect mental health

The state of Ohio also launched a “COVID Careline,” a toll-free and confidential line for people who are struggling. The number to call is 1-800-720-9616. It will be available for Ohioans from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Calls made outside of that time frame will be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

As for your idea about assisting older villagers with online communication, it’s a good one. The Yellow Springs Community Foundation has  created this resource to help people navigate one of the most popular videoconferencing apps, Zoom. That page is here. There’s even a form to request their help.

We’ll look into other coverage on this critical topic.

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Would it help vulnerable people to wear something like a work apron when they have to go out into a store. I am thinking something that has multiple pockets to hold a pump sanitizer, tissues, and santi-wipes; maybe also a small detachable bag to dispose of tissues as not to litter. I don't sew, but if I did I would make such a thing and if I could find one, I certainly would purchase one. Thank you for your coverage!

Asked By: Anonymous on May 18, 2020

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What a great idea! Perhaps some of our local sewists will get to work. 

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How does one maintain social distance in an eatery if the table isn't 6 feet across? How do you eat with a mask on? How do you serve from 6 feet? Gives a whole new meaning to "slinging hash" doesn't it?

Asked By: Anonymous on May 18, 2020

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Thanks for your questions. The guidelines for restaurants are here. It is mandatory for restaurants to do the following: “Ensure a minimum of six feet between parties waiting and when dining – if not possible, utilize barriers or other protective devices.”

It doesn’t require that tables be six feet apart, but that diners who are not in the same party, are six feet apart or are separated from one another by utilizing a “barrier or other protective device.” The assumption is that diners in the same party have already been exposed to one another, and therefore they don’t have to be distanced from each other. 

As for dining with a mask on, masks are “recommended at all times, execpt when eating.” 

The state is requiring most restaurant employees to wear masks, but it doesn’t address the issue of approaching the table to serve. Your question is a good one!

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With the warmer weather here people are going to be having yard sales. There are guidelines to help keep people safe. Wearing masks and disposable gloves is part of those guidelines. Here is a link for more information: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/checklists/english-checklists/Garage-Sales-and-Outdoor-Retail-Sales-COVID-19-Checklist These guidelines should apply to outdoor sales that are held to benefit charitable causes as well. Following safety precautions helps protect us all. Be safe; stay well.

Asked By: Stew on May 18, 2020

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Thanks for drawing our attention to these, Stew! The full guildines are availabe here

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Are gas stations in Ohio required to clean the pumps after customers use or is it best for us to clean them, wear gloves, or what measures to be safest. We will need to purchase gas to cut the grass and, frankly, I'm having anxiety about the pumps. Disposable gloves are difficult or impossible to come by right now as are disposable masks. How does one open the economy if we can't find these things : ( I don't want to go out until there is a vaccine either.

Asked By: Anonymous on April 24, 2020

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I hear your concerns. There are no additional requirements for gas stations, as far as I know. However, they should be abiding by the Ohio governor’s business guidelines to increase sanitation. It includes the following recommendation:

Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops railing, door handles, and doorknobs.

    • Use cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Of course, whether or not any individual gas station is abiding by those guidelines is another story.

Here is an article with good tips for using gas stations during the coronavirus crisis.

The governor is expected to release additional guidance for businesses ahead of the May 1 reopening of more businesses. Stay tuned to ysnews.com for updates.

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Will the Yellow Springs Farmers Market be open? If so, what will it look like?

Asked By: Anonymous on April 24, 2020

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The Yellow Springs Farmers Market is still taking place, but it is on a drive-thru basis only. Due to social distancing requirements, walk-up customers cannot be accommodated.

It is on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Limited food vendors are available and as more local food becomes available more vendors will join. Some vendors are taking advance orders. Visit their Facebook page for updates, or email yellowspringsfarmersmarket.com.

UPDATE, May 21: 

The Yellow Springs Farmers Market is open every Saturday, 8–11 a.m. at Antioch Midwest. Produce, eggs, honey, soaps, plants, and more. Customers must practice physical distance at all times. Masks are strongly encouraged. Even outdoors we must keep ourselves and our neighbors safe. Visit http://www.ysfarmersmarket for online ordering and more information.

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So some of us at "high risk" are really considering total isolation until a vaccine is available. Will that be doable in the Village?

Asked By: Henry Myers on April 22, 2020

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Thanks for your question, Henry.

The Yellow Springs Community Foundation is currently reaching out to all households in the village and township to determine what their needs are, so the foundation can figure out how to meet them. I would recommend you share what you might need if you have to stay home until a vaccine is available. You can fill out the survey here.

Also, you can reach out to your neighborhood block contact for additional questions or support by finding your contact on this map

I hope you can get more clarity on how your needs might be able to be met here in the village. 

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I want to know how this pandemic impacts jury duty. My husband is on a list as possible juror and he is over 70. There would be no way we would feel comfortable in a public setting such as that right now. Please find out how state officials are going to handle this. We are stressed enough and doing our part to stay alive by staying home. Help.

Asked By: Bart on April 20, 2020

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Thanks for the question. We’ll work on getting this one answered more definitely for you.

On March 30, the Ohio Supreme Court gave guidance to Ohio courts (there are 164 of them), to minimize physical appearances at court, among other suggestions. (Read them here). However, nothing was mandated, and courts are each are implementing measures they see fit.

At the Greene County Court of Common Pleas, many cases were continued for 60 days in mid-March, which means that they may begin resuming in mid-May. Some hearings and pre-trial conferences have been taking place over Zoom instead of in-person. However, jury trials can’t take place over Zoom, I was told. But they are still developing a plan for how to make them safe. 

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I'm wondering if " An “army” of amateur epidemigists mobilized to trace cases" can actually help prevent people from getting the virus right now or is that measure soley for study of the disease. If an app can be put on a smart phone to track it like they suggest, why not put an app on there to tell people to back off if they're closer than 6 feet? Something like a car alarm is what I have in mind. We're no where near the old normal are we?

Asked By: anonymous on April 19, 2020

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Great points.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed some of these ideas in a recent interview with Vanity Fair. I’ll repost here:

We keep hearing the words, “contact tracing.” Can you just explain how that works? Because that feels crazy to me that you can trace a person’s movements over the course of several days.

Yeah. So, to do it over several days gets really problematic, because particularly when people move around a lot, because for every single case, if you got to trace 800 people, then you’ve got a problem. Because you probably don’t have the man power to do it. A somewhat practical contact tracing is if someone goes to a meeting, or a class and goes back home two days later, and winds up having documented coronavirus disease, what you would want to do is to see when the person was in this classroom, or in this theater, or in this club. Who were the people that that person was in contact within six feet for more than like 10 or 15 minutes? You can’t be contact tracing everybody that happens to be, you know, in a movie theater when someone is there, because that would be ridiculous. It would be logistically impossible. But you know that the closer you are to a person, and the longer the duration of time with a respiratory illness, that’s a greater chance of your being infected. So, for example, I work at the NIH. If I went to a lab meeting that had 15 people in it, and I went back the next day, two days later, and I was sick, we would get everybody who was in that meeting, particularly those that were sitting next to me, and you would definitely get them to either be tested or to be isolated for 14 days.

Google and Apple are saying they’re going to develop technology to trace this via mobile phone. Do you think that’s a good idea? Have you consulted with them on how to develop those products?

I haven’t personally consulted with them. But one of the sticky, sticky issues about that is that there is a lot of pushback in this country to get someone or some organization—particular if it’s sponsored by the federal government, I think they’d feel better about it if it’s private—to have by GPS somebody know where you were and when you were there. Even though from a purely public health standpoint, that makes sense. You know, you could look at somebody’s cell phone, and say, “You were next to these 25 people over the last 24 hours.” Boy, I gotta tell you the civil liberties-type pushback on that would be considerable. Even though from a pure public health standpoint, it absolutely makes sense.

And an article on some of the efforts South Korea is using to track citizens’ movements using their smartphones: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-southkorea-respons/ahead-of-the-curve-south-koreas-evolving-strategy-to-prevent-a-coronavirus-resurgence-idUSKCN21X0MO

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The masks that people wear are to be worn in addition to the six feet distance apart, right not in place of the social distancing. I was stunned to see a photo op on Urbana's newspaper website of people in masks huddled together. Please explain it again for readers so that they understand. Thank you!

Asked By: Anonymous on April 10, 2020

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You are correct. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control emphasized in their official recommendation that while people should wear masks to help slow the spread, it should be used in conjunction with current social-distancing measures, not in place of them:

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. (Source: CDC)

The CDC additionally recommended that people wear cloth masks, so as not to exacerbate the shortages of the masks needed for heathcare workers and first responders. They have a guide to creating your own mask, and tips for using them here.

Check out the efforts of Yellow Springs residents to make masks for local grocery store clerks, first responders and others here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

 

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Do they know if asymptomatic carriers of the virus might manifest symptoms at some future time the way chicken pox does with shingles?
I am very concerned about the economic impact because things may not return to 'normal' until their is a vaccine.

Asked By: Anonymous on April 10, 2020

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This is a great question, but a hard one to answer definitively.

On Monday, April 6, the South Korean CDC reported that 51 patients who were thought to be cured of the disease tested positive again. They posited that the patients were not reinfected because of short time frame after they were released from quarantine, so the virus may in fact have reactivated in them, as the chickenpox and herpes viruses can do. However, the KCDC said they would be doing more epidemiological testing on those cases. Other possibilities are testing errors, or that residual traces of the virus had yet to leave the patients’ systems, according to one article.

There have been reports from other countries that those who recovered from COVID-19 were reinfected, but those have also yet to be confirmed. There is also not enough evidence to determine how long someone who has recovered from this coronavirus is immune.

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Will Tom's potentially be offering to delivery to everyone if things are prolonged, or just to the elderly?

Asked By: Anonymous on April 6, 2020

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In a joint effort, Tom’s Market and the Senior Center are working to deliver groceries to the community; the service was originally offered for seniors only, but has since been expanded to any villager who needs the service.

The Senior Center’s Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Ann Tracy and Transportation Manager Robert Libecap have been coordinating the shopping and delivery of groceries from Tom’s Market.  

Those interested are asked to email their name, address and grocery order to info@ysseniors.org at any time. Orders received by noon, Monday–Friday, will be processed for next-day delivery. After noon, orders will be processed for delivery the day after. Though emailing is preferred, those without email may call 937-767-5751 at any time and leave a message that includes a name and telephone number. A Senior Center volunteer will return the call and take the order. Credit card information is needed to fully process an order. This information is not kept on file and as soon as orders are checked out at Tom’s, the information is shredded.  Delivery to an address is only once per week; those ordering are advised to order a week’s worth of groceries at a time.

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Can we build immunity against it?

Asked By: Anonymous on April 6, 2020

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Scientists currently don’t know if those who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune to the disease, and if so, for how long.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the duration of immunity to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is currently unknown.Studies on a different coronavirus, MERS-CoV, showed that patients were unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recovered. Another coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002-03 created immunity for two years among those who were infected and recovered.

But over the last month, news reports from Japan, China and elsewhere have documented patients becoming reinfected with SARS-CoV-2 only weeks after their initial infection. In one Chinese study, 14% of those who recovered tested positive at a later check-up. A Time Magazine article reported on many of these developments.

In early April, the CDC began testing some Americans for antibodies to the virus, which could help scientists better understand both the spread of COVID-19 and when restrictions on public life can be lifted.

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How do you balance the need of self-quarantine and the cost of emotional distress caused by loneliness in kids and elderly?

Asked By: Anonymous on April 6, 2020

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During the coronavirus pandemic, those who were exposed to someone who has, or is suspected of having COVID-19, or those who have traveled outside of the state, have been asked to self-quarantine in order to protect others. The typical period requested is 14 days. 

But for some, this period of time could lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and isolation. According to the CDC, the most at-risk groups are older people, those with chronic diseases, children and teens, healthcare providers and those who have mental health conditions or substance abuse problems.

At its site, the CDC has specific suggestions for parents, for first responders and for those who have been released from quarantine, along with ways to reduce stigma and stop the spread of rumors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has released a helpful guide about how to navigate difficult emotions during this time, along with resources for reaching out.

If the stress becomes unmanageable, several organizations recommend utilizing telehealth services to talk with a professional. On April 4, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an order expanding access to telehealth services in the state. The move allows mental health, behavioral health, family and marriage counselors to provide such services over phone or videoconference without an initial in-person appointment, or, for the practitioner, special training.