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For people living on the border, travel to and from Ohio is risky, nerve-wracking — and unavoidable

Posted at 9:58 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 22:07:35-05

WEST HARRISON, Ind. — The Ohio Department of Health now recommends a 10-day quarantine for anyone traveling into or out of Ohio, where 15% of all COVID-19 tests come back positive.

That’s not an option for Carl Maupin, whose job managing apartments takes him on more than a dozen trips across the Ohio-Indiana border every day.

“I tell the guy that I work for that I’m leery about that,” he said Friday afternoon. “He said, ‘Don’t catch that.’ Well, you know. Who knows?”

Nor for Aaron Mitchell, whose State Road driveway ends at the Indiana-Ohio border. He lives on the Indiana side, where the positivity rate — the percentage of all COVID-19 tests that result in positive diagnoses — is 12%. But he works at an Amazon warehouse in Kentucky and shops for groceries in Ohio.

“I’m terrified to go outside because I don’t know who got it and who don’t,” he said. “(But) I don’t have no choice. I have to make a living.”

Elizabeth Morgan, who lives near Mitchell on State Road, said the pandemic is never far from her thoughts.

“Even if I’m walking outside, I’m thinking about coronavirus,” she said.

Pizza deliveries on Morgan and Mitchell’s side come only from Indiana; DoorDash, the food delivery service, stopped delivering from Ohio restaurants on Wednesday. Still, the nearest Kroger to their homes is in Ohio. So is the post office.

It’s hard to know the right thing to do, they both said. Sometimes even harder, given the demands of work and life, to do it.

Speaking last week, Hamilton County Public Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said travel recommendations are just that.

People in every part of the Tri-State should follow basic health precautions, including social distancing, mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing.