TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz wants to clear up some comments he made about COVID-19 testing shortages, including for first responders, he made during a virtual press conference on Thursday to discuss what the city is doing in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayor says there is no shortage of testing for first responders locally; when he was speaking of test shortages, he says he was referring to the shortage nationally.
“In trying to make a larger point about testing nationwide, I inadvertently gave the impression that such a shortage exists here in Toledo and Lucas County,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said Friday. “The process is, once a first responder is presumed to have been exposed to COVID-19, that person is in quarantine and monitored for symptoms. If there are symptoms, he or she is tested. Being tested without symptoms is not an accurate indicator. The thing I want to resonate through this clarifying statement is my gratitude for all of our first responders in Lucas County, including Toledo police officers and firefighters, and to Mercy Health – Toledo for making sure the testing is available.”
For information on COVID-19, you can visit the Lucas County Health Department's website or call the 24/7 Lucas County Community COVID-19 Call Line Numbers at 419-251-4000 (English only) and 419-291-5355 (multilingual).
The public is asked to refrain from calling 911 unless it is a true emergency. Call 419-213-4161, press 4, and leave a message to report COVID-19 related concerns such as non-essential businesses operating, essential businesses not adhering to guidelines, or crowds gathering.
Other topics the mayor discussed:
The mayor says city of Toledo is taking actions to make sure the Gov. Mike DeWine's stay-at-home orders are being followed.
So far, there have been eight arrests of those who are not following the governor's social distancing order.
The city says they will be on the lookout for large gatherings and will enforce the stay-at-home order, especially as the weather gets warmer.
Toledo City Council updates:
- income tax deadline extended to July 15
- city working to turn water back on for residents whose water may have gotten disconnected - call Engage Toledo at 419-936-2020 if you need assistance
- public utilities no longer checking inside water meters
- trash collection is still happening as usual
- other city services offered without reduction at this time
The city of Toledo has compiled a list of services affected by the pandemic, and available resources, which can be found on the city's website.
The mayor says COVID-19 is a "tens of millions" of dollars problem for the city.
"There will be sacrifice and pain, but there are enough options available that I believe we will emerge as a city in relatively good shape [when the pandemic is over]," said Mayor Kapszukiewicz in regards to money and debt accrued.
The mayor also discussed that TARTA riders will be required to wear a face mask staring this Saturday to protect drivers and other passengers from the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Kapszukiewicz says TARTA should only be used for true emergencies and essential trips.
The mayor says city parks are vitally important, especially now, to get out of the house during self-quarantine. However, park-goers still need to maintain at least a six-foot distance from others.
The city has removed the hoops and rims from city parks to deter kids from playing basketball, as it is difficult to maintain six feet of social distancing.
Tennis nets are still up for now as there is more space playing tennis than basketball.
City-owned golf courses will be open to the public on April 10. No golf carts will be allowed unless you are handicapped, and the cups will be raised out of the holes so golfers aren't reaching down into the holes to get their golf balls.
The mayor emphasizes that this does not mean things are getting better, but the city believes getting outside and getting fresh air is so important during this time.
The mayor also echoed Gov. DeWine in saying that everyone should remain cautions when celebrating religious holidays this week.
The mayor says it is critical to practice social distancing guidelines, staying home and follow the restrictions and orders given by the government to give yourself the least risk possible of getting the virus.
"This is a big deal, and it's impacting our nation negatively in a way few events in our history can," said Mayor Kapszukiewicz.
However, he says he is "aware and enthusiastic" that COVID-19 numbers are going down due to social distancing.
The mayor also says now is the time to unite and reconnect as a community, and not let things like race and political affiliations get in the way.
The mayor says he plans to hold a press conference at least once a week to update citizens on COVID-19 and what the city is doing to combat it.
Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context
WTOL 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit wtol.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 419-248-1100.
Protect yourself from coronavirus
- Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined can.
- Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.