Ohio Department of Health Partners With FEMA to Create “Sheltering Facilities” For People Exposed to COVID

Colleges and universities asked to make buildings available for coronavirus shelters.

Image Credits: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images.

The Ohio Department of Health (OHD) has partnered with FEMA to create “sheltering facilities” for people suspected to exposed to coronavirus who are unable to quarantine at home.

A director’s order published on the official OHD website outlines how the State of Ohio and FEMA, under “emergency protective measures,” will set up “non-congregate sheltering for those who are unable to safely self-quarantine in their place of residence and to isolate those diagnosed with or showing signs of COVID-19.”

The facilities are designed to hold people who have been “exposed” to coronavirus but don’t need hospitalization and those deemed “asymptomatic high-risk individuals needing social distancing as a precautionary measure.”

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is in the process of identifying both public and private facilities that could be re-purposed as sheltering facilities.

The order also directs public colleges and universities to “make available vacant grounds, buildings and facilities” for “temporary use as non-congregate sheltering to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” including medical facilities.

Colleges and universities providing such facilities will be seen as performing a “public duty” and will therefore be immune from civil liability under the order.

The order will take effect immediately and is currently due to expire in 90 days or at a time “to be determined by the Director of Health.”

According to Interim Director of the Ohio Health Department Lance D. Himes, the order is being passed to “avoid an imminent threat with a high probability of widespread exposure to COVID-19.”

It is not known whether people “suspected” to be exposed to COVID who can’t or refuse to be isolated at home will be forced to be housed in the facilities, although numerous respondents to the directive expressed this concern on Twitter.

The full directive is published below.

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