Put-In-Bay Health Officials Working To Prevent Another Coronavirus Outbreak

Aerial views of South Bass Island. [LukeandKarla.Travel / Shutterstock]
Aerial views of South Bass Island. [LukeandKarlaTravel / Shutterstock]
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A recent coronavirus outbreak was traced to Put-in-Bay, where pictures showed large crowds of people not wearing masks.

Ottawa County Health Commissioner Jerry Bingham said officials are working with businesses to educate them and make sure they are following protocols ahead of the July Fourth weekend.

“We want people to enjoy their holiday, we want people to enjoy their time, but they need to do it safely,” Bingham said.

He encouraged people to wear masks and stay at home if they have symptoms.

Bingham said his enforcement strategies are limited and he can’t shut down businesses for failing to follow safety protocols. But that doesn't mean businesses will face no consequences. The state-run Ohio Investigative Unit will issue citations to businesses who do not follow the COVID-19 emergency rules, he said.

Bingham also said he has heard from hotel operators that after news broke about the outbreak on Put-In-Bay, people began canceling reservations.

“Obviously we don’t want to stop tourism, but we want to do it safely,” he said.

Local public health officials are working with businesses to make sure they screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms. And businesses will now require employees to sign an employee illness reporting form, which mandates that employees notify supervisors if they are exhibiting symptoms.

Bingham said the Ottawa County Health Department will continue contact tracing — investigating people with whom infected people came in contact — which helps limit spread when outbreaks do occur.

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