COVID-19: Changing Our Lives | March 23: An eye opening conversation
Residents struggle with loss of normalcy, fear, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Author: Brian Dugger
Published: 6:08 PM EDT March 23, 2020
Updated: 6:14 PM EDT March 23, 2020

TOLEDO, Ohio — As Ohio and Michigan enter the shelter in place phase of this epidemic, we are looking for stories about your experience. Send submissions to blog@wtol.com.

I had an eye-opening conversation with Robin Reese, the executive director of Lucas County Children Services, on Monday afternoon.

It took place via Zoom, because we can no longer do in-person interviews.

While it is easy to selfishly bemoan the fact that we are stuck in our homes, it is easy to forget that there are some people who are forced to continue going into harm's way.

Reese's investigators are some of those people. Children services workers are essential workers, and exempt from Gov. Mike DeWine's order to shelter in place beginning tonight at 11:59.

Each day these investigators go into homes without knowing if the occupants are infected. It would be one thing if they could go in wearing masks or gloves, but often that isn't the case.

"One thing we have not been able to do, and we keep getting bumped down on the list, is to get them protective gear - gloves, the mask, all those things," Reese says.

She was so concerned by the thought of sending staff members into potentially dangerous situations that she spent the weekend combing through stores for any type of protective equipment, even visiting auto parts stores.

"We are making a public appeal. If you have that kind of equipment, we desperately need it," she says.

Maybe it's easy to minimize the danger these workers face, but it only takes one positive test to take out several investigators. Several positives, and a crucial team devoted to protecting children, could be severely compromised.

Reese says her agency is just beginning to track whether there has been a rise in abuse against children, but the Toledo Police Department has already seen a spike in domestic violence. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep Reese's team on the front line.


  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer followed Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's lead and orders residents to shelter in place beginning tonight.
  • Michigan records 293 new cases, pushing the state's total to 1,328. Ohio's total climbs to 442.
  • Globally, the number of infected surpasses 372,000, but for the first time in weeks, the number of deaths in Italy falls.
  • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicts unemployment could reach 30 percent in the second quarter.

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates, March 23: Michigan cases reach 1,328, death toll at 15

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RELATED: Over 1.5 billion globally asked to stay home to escape coronavirus

RELATED: Lucas Co. electronic monitoring department ordered to close due to COVID-19 concerns


COVID-19: Changing Our Lives | March 23: An eye opening conversation

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A ghost mall?
Empty mall
Angie Rafaat

What used to be the busiest outdoor mall in Perrysburg, Levis Commons, is now practically empty. 

The movie theater used to be bustling with guests, so much so that one would struggle to find a parking spot anywhere. Since all movie theaters and stores were forced to shut down in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the parking lots have not had a single car parked in them. 

I remember how busy it used to be, at all hours of the day, and the amount of people outside - kids playing by the fountain, friends sitting outside by Starbucks, and families walking about or shopping at one of the many stores available.

 It makes me sad, seeing a place that was once swarming with visitors so empty. But, I remain hopeful that things will go back to normal eventually, and that people will start coming and going through all our stores again.

  • Angie Rafaat
Chapter 2

Chapter 2

A father's anguish

I worked two jobs before the COVID-19 virus shut everything down.

I worked full-time at an automotive warehouse and part-time as a store merchandiser for Pepsi. 

My factory job shut down, but I'm still out there loading up the shelves with Pepsi. It's scary, though, because my daughter is only 2 1/2 years old. If I catch the virus because I kept going to work and she catches it, I'll feel horrible. I can't stand to see my daughter hurt or sick. 

While I'm home, we have became very good at playing the monster game. It's where you start growling and chase each other around the house until you catch them and tickle them until they give up. 

Or we will play hide and scare. My daughter will run from me, hide, and when I get close to finding her, she jumps out and scares me. Other than that, at night, it's movie time until we're tired.  

  • Caleb Rainey
Chapter 3

Chapter 3

A healthy lifestyle is needed

I wish the media and government would start telling people to strengthen their immune systems by eating healthy plant food (veggies, fruits, beans, rice), drinking plenty of water, exercising, managing stress as best as they can. We also need to get enough sleep, maintain a healthy weight, and have a good spiritual life.

Our bodies are designed to heal themselves, but it is very difficult to do with such an unhealthy culture. We are bombarded with unhealthy foods choices, and so many people are obese. 

I am considered a “senior,” but I do the above and am healthy. 

This is going to be a very stressful time for people, and the economic devastation that will come will the virus will only add to it.

  • Sandra Heyneman 

As Ohio and Michigan enter the shelter in place phase of this epidemic, we are looking for stories about your experience. Send submissions to blog@wtol.com.