COLUMBUS — State officials spoke Feb. 27 about Ohio’s readiness for the potential outbreak of the Coronavirus.
“The threat of the Coronavirus in the United States and in Ohio remains low,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said. “Currently in Ohio, we have no confirmed cases — we have no confirmed cases — nor any persons under investigation.”
DeWine reported that seven individuals were tested for the Coronavirus in Ohio and all of them tested negative.
“But — we know that this could change and we have to be prepared,” DeWine said. “All Ohioans must have a sense of urgency about this emerging health threat.”
Coronavirus — otherwise known as COVID-19 — is a respiratory virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019, according to a press release from DeWine’s office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has continually considered the health risk from Coronavirus to be low within the United States.
However, the Coronavirus is an international concern and, according to DeWine , there is potential for an eventual community person-to-person spread to occur in the United States.
“I strongly encourage everyone else across the State of Ohio who run businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other facilities — that if you haven’t done these things already, to examine your existing disease plans and consider additional measures,” DeWine said. “Now is the time to review what you’re doing once again, now is the time for a sense of urgency.”
The governor emphasized the importance of communicating information about the virus to keep Ohioans informed. DeWine committed to “communicate what we know when we know it,” and highlighted that the state will continue to work with Ohio’s 113 local health departments.
“I am urging all Ohioans to listen to public health and medical experts. They train for this, they prepare for this, this is what they do every single day. We need to heed what they tell us,” DeWine said. “We need all Ohioans to help.”
DeWine recommended that Ohioans in their day-to-day actions wash their hands, avoid close contact with sick individuals, and stay home when they are ill. Ohio employers and schools were urged by DeWine to be flexible when people are ill and encourage individuals to stay home if they are under the weather.
Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, emphasized that Ohio stands ready.
“Infectious diseases are something we know,” Acton said. “Even when there is a new infectious disease, they are predictably unpredictable. In other words, pandemics and the spread of infectious disease happens in a phased way and happens in patterns. While we might not know exactly where it might spread first or where the one case in Ohio might occur, we really know what to do about it when it happens.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.