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Information key in coronavirus fight

One of the biggest tools we have in our fight against COVID-19 is information.

The newspaper, for instance, remains a valuable and comprehensive source for local information.

We’re also seeing daily briefings from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice. Other governors, including Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, are providing regular updates as they work to help residents of their states navigate a constantly evolving situation.

Appearing with DeWine during each of his recent press conferences is Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health.

She has been able to provide detailed medical information to back up the topics the governor has discussed.

We need to heed her words as well as the statements offered by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Surgeon General Jerome Michael Adams and other medical professionals. Remember: They are not really suggestions — they offer a road map that could help save your life.

Area residents will have the chance today to learn more about the coronavirus and what steps are being taken to mitigate its effects when the Jefferson County Health Department holds an online forum.

Scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., the forum will be available live on the department’s Facebook page.

Viewers will be able to ask questions in advance until 4 p.m. at kelly@jchealth.com or during the livestream.

Those scheduled to participate include Health Commissioner Nicole Balakos; Dr. Mark Kissinger, the health department’s medical director; Dr. John Figel, chief medical officer at Trinity Health System; Rob Herrington, the county’s emergency management director; Steubenville City Manager Jim Mavromatis; Brenan Pergi, chairman of the coronavirus task force at the Franciscan University of Steubenville; Chuck Kokiko, superintendent of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center; and Emanuela Agresta, an assistant county prosecutor.

Because of restrictions against gathering in groups, it’s not possible to hold the discussion and question-and-answer session with spectators present. That makes the streaming telecast a good option for opening the meeting to the public.

Informed people are always in a position to make better decisions — that makes it important for area residents to take advantage of opportunities like tonight’s forum.

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