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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)
For more news about the COVID-19 coronavirus, access the News Tribune Health section.

Osage County is under a stay-at-home order from 5 p.m. today until 5 p.m. on May 1, the Osage County Health Department announced Thursday.

Susan Long, of the county health department, said the decision was made in consultation with the county commissioners, local law enforcement, the county's emergency management director and the county prosecuting attorney.

"This order basically states that you must stay home, except to go the grocery store, pharmacy or to seek medical care," Long said.

Those who work in essential businesses can still go to work, though essential businesses still have to continue to provide adequate protection for employees and customers in terms of social distancing and hygiene.

"The order gives strong guidance as to what businesses are considered essential, and again, I ask that before you call the health department, that you take time to read it for yourself.

"If you're still unclear after you read it, then contact the health department on our Facebook page or through our email address at [email protected], and one our staff will respond as soon as possible," Long said.

The full text of the order is available through various sources, she added, including the websites of the Unterrified Democrat and the county's emergency management agency, health department and government.

Long also encouraged people to have two weeks worth of supplies, so as to as much as possible avoid going out — though stores will remain open.

"Do not purchase items that you cannot use within the next two to four weeks. Please be considerate," she said.

She added there would a briefing today.

Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham said Thursday that law enforcement would not be setting up checkpoints or looking to arrest people.

"We're not going to be actively searching for individuals that are violating the order, but we will enforce the order," Bonham said.

Law enforcement can investigate complaints made to the health department, he said, and people can face a Class A misdemeanor for violating the order.

"The bottom line is we're not going to tolerate high school parties or social gatherings that violate this order," Bonham said.

"Are we overreacting? I don't think so. Are we under-reacting? I hope not," he added.

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