Portsmouth Mayor Kevin E. Johnson is speaking out about Scioto County’s first confirmed case of Coronavirus. The Portsmouth City Health Department reported a positive result on Saturday but declined to give further details. As of today, Ohio’s Coronavirus cases stand at 4,043 and 119 deaths.
The usually outspoken Johnson is normally very active commenting about current events and political matters on social media. But he’s been pretty quiet these days.
Johnson explains why. ” Not sure if you were aware, but I also serve as President of the board for our City Board of Health. In these difficult days of this COVID-19 Pandemic, I’ve felt it’s more important to echo the updates, bulletins, and messages of those that are professionals in the field of healthcare.”
The Mayor and Third Ward Councilman says, that just like everyone else, he’s trying to wrap his mind about this new normal. “In my 54-years of life, I’ve never experienced anything that compares to this health crisis. With that being said, I think the best service I can provide as a leader in our city is to continue to share updates from our Health Department, healthcare Providers, and health professionals that are serving on the front lines. I believe it’s important for all of us, as not just a city or state, but a nation, to comply with “Stay at Home”, “Social Distancing”, and all preventive measures being promoted by our health officials.”
Johnson says in troubled times, we need to lean on each other. “It’s important that we remember that we’re all in this together and we need each other more now than ever. As Mayor of our City, I will do my best to serve our City, and be one of many that lead through these uncharted waters. I look forwarded to the day when we greet each other with a hug or handshake.”
Mayor Johnson is also learning on a higher power for help. “And finally as a man of faith, I make no secret that I’ve spent and will spend a lot of time in prayer for those that have been, and are affected by this Corona Virus.”
Fourth Ward City Councilman Andrew McManus echoed Johnson’s sentiments. “These are incredibly difficult times as you’ve said. I personally feel like it’s walking a fine line between informing the public and becoming a broken record. Trust me. I’d be fine writing everyday LISTEN TO GOVERNOR DEWINE. THIS IS REAL.”
McManus says it’s hard to find the right words, “I’ve spoken and hopefully somewhat intelligently about the information I’m taking in at the state and federal levels. I think about my family and loved ones at this time. I also think about how it would feel for the majority of citizens in our town. My words won’t fix this. What I’ve done and will continue to do is share and speak on my opinion with whatever comes our way. I’ve said it before, but we are a strong city. We will get through this. I am listening to and respect the media and our town. I want us all to feel safe and feel like we are prepared. Please feel free to share my email and phone number if anyone has any questions or if there’s anything I can do.”
We also reached out to Larry Mullins, the Deputy Director of Scioto County EMA. He wanted to acknowledge the contributions of “Dr Byers, SOMC Infectious Disease Specialist, Bridget Scott, SOMC Lab Director, and Dick Edington, SOMC Microbiology Manager. They were responsible for developing the local COVID testing criteria in conjunction with ODH guidelines and requirements.”