Bexley city leaders respond to pandemic by tracking statistics, resources

CHRIS BOURNEA
editorial@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Bexley officials are finding ways to be proactive in the midst of a pandemic.

To help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Bexley maintains a section of its website, bexley.org/coronavirus, with up-to-date statistics and a database of volunteers ready to help those affected, Mayor Ben Kessler said during an Aug. 3 virtual town-hall meeting that featured Jen Robinson, council's health-and-safety committee chair, and a panel of central Ohio public-health officials.

The town hall included moderator Dr. Michael Weinstock, doctor panelists Beth Weinstock, Abigail Norris Turner and Roger Friedman and Franklin County Public Health commissioner Joe Mazzola.

As of Aug. 5, of the 91,171 confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio, 17,169 were in Franklin County and 88 were in Bexley, according to bexley.org/coronavirus.

Mazzola said residents may find out how prevalent the coronavirus is in central Ohio by going to myfcph.org and clicking on the COVID page to access the county's daily report, with a breakdown of cases by ZIP code.

Mazzola said FCPH recommends wearing masks and maintaining 6 feet of distance whenever individuals are in public to help contain the spread of the virus.

"I think what's important is that we have that message out there," Mazzola said. "We really believe in making sure in a responsible, appropriate way that we're putting out information so that our community does understand the burden that this disease is taking on our community at the most granular level that is appropriate."

Kessler encouraged residents to visit the city's website to access FCPH statistics and local resources.

"We maintain some Bexley-specific stats and updates about the latest recommendations and also how to connect to our volunteer network," he said.

Kessler said the city worked with local nonprofit organization Developmental Assets Resource Network to provide resources for those affected by the coronavirus.

He said the city's volunteer coordinator, Elizabeth Ellman, works to connect a database of more than 200 local residents with volunteer opportunities.

To date, volunteers have fulfilled 184 service requests from residents and delivered 40 quarantine care packages to individuals who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to the city's website.

"We're more and more trying to let people know this resource is out there, whether it's folks needing help getting some groceries picked up or even little odd jobs around the house," Kessler said. "We have safe protocols in place to connect those volunteers with people who have needs."

Weinstock said the pandemic's economic impact will have a wide-reaching effect in the coming months, including in Bexley, with some companies to furlough or lay off employees due to reduced business. There is an ongoing need for volunteers, she said, whether that involves lending a hand at food banks or helping children with schoolwork for distance learning.

"Whether you like to tutor or mentor, the opportunities are endless," she said. "What we might see some of, a sliver of in Bexley, the wider community need is going to be more vast and I think we all need to be thinking more broadly across the city."

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