Staff Writer

As the coronavirus spreads across Ohio, local institutions are making some changes.

Some organizations are canceling activities altogether.

And many are changing their cleaning and sanitizing policies.

Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn said the city has “contingency plans in place if we determine we need to limit employee interaction in the municipal building.”

She has posted items on social media about germ-spread prevention and planned to meet with major employers in town.

“The major item at this point is just germ-spread prevention and keeping at-risk populations away from individuals that are sick,” the mayor wrote in an email.

Sarah Clevidence, director of the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library, said that while “everything gets cleaned on a regular basis” in normal circumstances, library staff are now switching to a more frequent cleaning schedule. They’re also paying extra attention to areas, like the front edges of desks, that might typically be overlooked.

Clevidence said the library, which has an average of 880 visitors each day, is a place germs pass through simply “because it’s a public space.”

“Cold and flu season is always a concern,” and staff have for a long time had to have good handwashing habits, she said.

“We’re still here and happy to serve,” Clevidence said.

She noted that some of the library’s services, like Libby, Hoopla and Overdrive, can be accessed remotely through the internet, without patrons having to enter the library building. And there are two medical databases on the library’s website, MedLine Plus and Merck Manual, which Clevidence said could help people doing research in addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health’s site.

Clevidence said librarians are happy to help those doing research to find “good, accurate information. … And feel free to call if you don’t want to come in.” (The library’s phone number is 419-422-1712.)

As of late Wednesday, most library programs were still on as scheduled, although a few had been canceled by their presenters. Clevidence advised patrons to check the library’s online calendar for the latest information.

Statewide, health officials say four people have tested positive for the virus, according to the Associated Press.

The latest is a man in his 50s from Stark County in northeastern Ohio with no known contacts with other patients. Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton said this signals that Ohio has reached “community spread,” meaning the virus has moved across the state, according to the AP.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

Arthurs: 419-427-8494 Send an E-mail to Sara Arthurs

Twitter: @swarthurs