The Ohio National Guard is being deployed to help with the state’s coronavirus response. But the guard’s leader wants to make it clear what they will not be doing.
Gov. Mike DeWine says he’s gotten calls about rumors that the guard is being called out, saying that they will have a humanitarian role.
“We’ve received a request from food banks just to give assistance by the National Guard. They will be doing that," DeWine said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Adjutant General Major John Harris Jr. said around 370 personnel will be split among a dozen food banks, which have lost older volunteers who are staying home because they’re at higher risk.
Currently they're supporting food banks in Allen, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Hocking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, and Summit counties.
Harris wants to tamp down rumors too.
“We are not going out to enforce martial law. We are citizens helping citizens in that Minuteman tradition that we’ve always been about," Harris said.
DeWine has said the Guard, which often helps with weather disasters both in Ohio and in other parts of the country and even outside the United States, will eventually be putting up tents at hospitals as triage and isolation areas.
The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.