Kenton Hardin Health Department Response to COVID-19

Posted on June 18, 2020

The following release was provided by the Kenton-Hardin Health Department……

June 18, 2020- (Kenton, OH)- In response to recent questions and concerns the Kenton Hardin Health Department (KHHD) would like to inform the public on our part in the COVID-19 response thus far.

The Health Department, as the lead agency in the Hardin County response to the COVID-19 emergency, has been in regular contact with the directors of the four long-term care facilities in the county. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) inventories of the four facilities have been known to the health department throughout the emergency. KHHD, through the Hardin County Emergency Operations Center, and in close partnership with the Hardin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), has responded and delivered each request for PPE. KHHD provided the equipment at times when it was not requested to ensure proper supply. The equipment needs of one long-term care facility which has now experienced a COVID-19 outbreak has been a particular point of communication and provision of PPE. While KHHD cannot ensure how PPE is utilized inside any long-term care facility, we are certain that all reasonable requests for PPE have been filled since the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency and since the opening of our Emergency Operation Center (EOC) on March 16, 2020.

We started an Emergency Operations Center text communication group on March 17, 2020. Due to the ten-person mass gathering limit, the EOC has had virtual meetings with government officials, first responders, physicians etc. since April 3, 2020. Previously, meetings with active seats for the above parties were held in the Emergency Operations Center. By communicating with our dispatch agency, we have shared information with parties that are responding to homes such as fire and EMS since the beginning of the response. This limits the individuals with protected information to the “minimum necessary” use and disclosure. According to the United States Health and Human Services a covered entity (KHHD) must make reasonable efforts to use, disclose, and request only the minimum amount of protected health information needed to accomplish the intended purpose of the use, disclosure, or request. The information is made available through a secure system when a call directs any first responder to a Hardin County location associated with a COVID-19 case.

The health department staff do not carry badges or weapons of any kind. We do not intend to padlock local businesses who do not comply to state directives, including but not limited to wearing facial coverings. We do want to make it very clear though, contrary to published individual statements, businesses must require their employees to wear facial coverings. Interim Health Director, Lance Himes, again reinforced this directive as of June 16, 2020. This June 16, 2020 facial covering order follows previous directives. The directive states the following:

“Businesses must require all employees to wear facial coverings, except for one of the following reasons:

a. Facial coverings in the work setting are prohibited by law or regulation;

b. Facial coverings are in violation of documented industry standards;

c. Facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons;

d. Facial coverings are in violation of the business’s documented safety policies;

e. Facial coverings are not required when the employee works alone in an assigned work area


f. There is a functional (practical) reason for an employee not to wear a facial covering in the workplace.

Businesses must provide written justification, upon request, explaining why an employee is not required to wear a facial covering in the workplace. At a minimum, facial coverings (masks) should be cloth/fabric and cover an individual’s nose, mouth, or chin.”

We are responsible to deliver legal orders when law enforcement is not available.

In addition to delivering legal orders, we follow guidance and law given to us from our state leadership and are expected to follow up and educate on that guidance.

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