Warren County commission lifts some pandemic rules, urged to push governor to reopen Ohio

Warren County commissioners lifted its COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for number of people to attend meetings in government facilities and heard a Deerfield Twp. trustee urge the commissioners to ask Ohio’s governor to lift other restrictions and reopen the state.

The commissioners voted to rescind the previous resolutions put in place March 2020 when the Ohio Department of Health issued an order to limit and/or prohibit mass gatherings in the state for gatherings that brings 50 or more people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.

Privately-owned property is not included in the commissioners’ action.

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“We have limited power from a symbolic standpoint,” said Commission President David Young. “We want people to use common sense.”

At the commissioners’ meeting, Deerfield Twp. Trustee Lelle Lutts Hedding urged the commissioners to contact Gov. Mike DeWine’s office to reopen the state.

While she thanked county Health Commissioner Duane Stansbury for the efforts of his department, Hedding said Warren County isn’t sick and no one signed up for these random metrics the governor is using to determine when to lift restrictions. She said metrics shouldn’t be changed in the middle of a crisis. Hedding said, “Warren County should lead Ohio to open up.”

“People need to get back to their lives and we need to quit testing asymptomatic people,” she said. “There are 17 states ahead of us that have re-opened. The damage has been done to Ohio.”

Commissioner Tom Grossmann said the county has sent a number of letters to the Governor’s Office.

“He cares about all of Ohio and the statistics are getting rapidly better,” Grossmann said. “He’s (DeWine) is aware of the data.”

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Young said another communication to the Governor’s Office is in order as some at-risk people, such as those who are obese, are not listed as a medical condition to obtaining an expedited COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have to protect all that are at-risk,” Young said. “If you are obese, you are more likely to die of COVID-19.”

Young said vaccines should be given first to the most vulnerable who need to be protected. He said inoculations have already given to people ages 70 and older who want them.

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Warren County reported a first-dose vaccination percentage at just below the state’s rate of 17.85%. However, Warren County, which has 17.68% of its population starting the vaccination and 10.32% finished with it, is above Ohio’s 10.24% finished vaccination rate.

As of 7 a.m. Thursday, the Warren County Health District’s dashboard listed 22,710 positive COVID-19 cases, with 3,402 cases as probable since the pandemic began in 2020. There have been 651 hospitalizations, with 19 probable COVID-19 cases; and 277 deaths with 41 identified as probable cases.

In the past 14 days, there have been 331 new positive cases; eight new hospitalizations; and one death, according to the county health district’s dashboard.

Ohio is continuing to make progress toward lifting all the state’s public health orders, reporting 155 cases per 100,000 residents.

DeWine announced last week that, if the state can get below 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all public health orders will be lifted.

Staff Writer Kristen Spicker contributed to this report.

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