Coronavirus. COVID-19. Social Distancing. Flatten the Curve. Community Spread. These are phrases that weren’t part of everyday vocabulary a month ago. Now that these terms are our everyday reality, I want you to know that my administration is doing everything possible to save lives.
The City of Lakewood is following all directives and guidance from our partners at Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Like all of them, I will tell you that we have no need to panic, but it is critical that we act decisively right now. That is the only way we will minimize the impact coronavirus will have on our neighbors and our economy. And we have to do it together.
As of my writing this in mid-March, no resident in Lakewood has reported contracting coronavirus or COVID-19 but, based on information from experts at the CDC, ODH, and CCBOH, we know we must prepare for that eventuality. To date, the City has limited public access to city facilities, canceled or postponed non-essential meetings, instituted livestream public meetings where practical and appropriate, enforced federal and state mandates for closure of bars and restaurants, and required all non-essential staff to work remotely.
Still, that’s not enough.
I have to take every opportunity, including the Mayor’s Corner, to remind everyone that we must do what we can. If you can, please stay home. “Shelter in place” is another phrase being used through this crisis. We need to limit person-to-person contact if we hope to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19’s spread. Wash your hands regularly. Behave as if you are a carrier of the virus because many will have mild to moderate symptoms that may be mistaken as a cold or flu. Keep your distance. “Social Distancing” means maintaining a separation of six feet or more from other people. The State of Ohio has implemented several emergency directives to minimize opportunities for “community spread” but these strategies are our first line of defense.
We will get through this together. I am in communication daily with my team and our partners to communicate what we are doing, learn what others are doing, and chart the path forward so we can emerge from this crisis safely and quickly.