Put-in-Bay coronavirus outbreak puts island packed with partiers on edge

Several patrons on the island have observed packed bars, few masks and little social distancing, plus, Put-in-Bay has seen a record number of visitors so far this summer.

Put-in-Bay coronavirus outbreak puts island packed with partiers on edge
This photo was taken on June 27 at Mist at Put-in-Bay. The sign, with blue tape obscuring some of the message, reads: “PLEASE LEAVE ALL TABLES & CHAIRS AS IS! PARTIES OF 10 OR LESS. KEEP 6 FEET BETWEEN PARTIES. FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL RESULT IN EVICTION.” (Source: Facebook)

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (WOIO) - The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and Ottawa County Health Department have identified a COVID-19 outbreak on Put-In-Bay.

At least seven people who recently visited the island’s restaurants and bars, including the Commodore Hotel, The Mist, and Mr. Ed’s from June 17-21 have tested positive for COVID-19.

Both health departments are advising people who were at these establishments over Father’s Day weekend(June 17-21) to watch for symptoms and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath, headache, loss of taste or smell, and fever.

Put-in-Bay Mayor Jessica C. Dress released the following statement on Tuesday evening:

“Village of Put-in-Bay officials are obviously concerned about the reported outbreak of the pandemic virus in one of our local establishments. Since the beginning of quarantine and the related public concerns, we have encouraged, have urged businesses, to follow the state orders and guidelines to stop the spread of the virus and keep the community and our visitors safe – encouraging the wearing of masks, regular sanitizing of facilities, and practice of social distancing. The majority of our neighbors have implemented extreme measures to comply with these requirements -- employees wearing masks, limiting capacity and seating inside their establishments, and spending valuable employee time and money to reach the highest level of cleaning standards. We ask that visitors help us do the same. As one of the only regular Ohio summer destinations open for business, we have seen record numbers of people on the island and want to continue serving all of them in the safest way possible. Any assistance requested of the village and our police department, in helping health and state officials to enforce the laws, will be provided to keep our island safe.”

People with symptoms, which may develop up to 14 days after exposure, should seek immediate testing for COVID-19. People without symptoms may also request testing.

“The virus can spread when people are in close proximity to each other and not wearing face coverings,” said Nancy Osborn, Ottawa County Health Commissioner, in a prepared statement. “The public must understand the importance of personal responsibility and take the vital steps to protect themselves and others from the unnecessary transmission of COVID-19.”

If those who were at these businesses become symptomatic, they’re asked to contact their local health department.

“Anyone could have COVID-19 and you may never know because some people with COVID-19 are not yet sick, and never have symptoms of the disease,” said TLCHD Health Commissioner, Dr. Eric Zgodzinski, in prepared statement. “With that being said, we need to treat every person as potentially being infected with COVID-19. We are urging everyone who ventures into public places to take precautions, including wearing a mask and social distancing, to keep infections down.”

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