COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio health officials gave an update Thursday on the state’s preparedness and efforts to limit the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, nor anyone under investigation for the virus.
“I want to be clear that the threat of Coronavirus in Ohio and the United States remains low,” said Governor Mike DeWine, “but this could change, and we have to be prepared. I believe it is imperative that we are open with the public and are communicating information in real-time about the Coronavirus to both inform and educate our communities. We will communicate what we know, when we know it.”
The CDC maintains that the health risk to the American public remains low in the country, but the virus continues to be a threat internationally. There is potential for an eventual community spread here in the U.S.
“Since the start of this outbreak, we’ve taken a proactive approach to prepare and carefully monitor potential cases and travelers about COVID-19 in Ohio,” said Dr. Acton, Ohio Department of Health Director. “As the CDC advised, we need to be prepared for community spread of COVID-19. We are working to make sure our healthcare partners, first responders, state agencies, and local health departments have the resources they need to respond.”
The Governor has ordered the following action by state agencies:
- The Ohio Department of Transportation will post information from the Ohio Department of Health in all state rest areas on hand washing protocols including messages on Ohio Travel TV.
- The Departments of Rehabilitation and Corrections and Youth Services will increase frequency and use of disinfectant measures in all their state facilities to protect inmates, families, and staff.
- The Governor called on Ohio college and university leaders to urge every student and faculty member on their campuses who have not yet received a shot to get one at their health clinic immediately.
- The Governor is asking our college and university leaders to prohibit college travel to nations where the CDC has recommended no travel, such as China and South Korea.
- The Governor is asking college and universities to take appropriate action to accommodate students who are studying abroad and may need to come back to the United States.
- The Governor is asking the Ohio Department of Aging to continue working with local aging networks to identify the most vulnerable older adults with the highest needs to make sure that plans are in place to meet their needs – whether that is providing additional meals or additional medication or other personal care needs.
- The Governor is asking local aging advocates across Ohio to go out into their communities to check on nursing care facilities to ensure that all illness prevention methods are in place.
- The State of Ohio will also be paying aggressive attention to common areas in state-owned buildings, including significantly increased cleaning frequency of these areas and hand sanitizer stations in common lobbies and hallways.
Next Thursday, March 5, the state will convene a summit for all of Ohio’s local public health departments, health commissioners, and staff that will include members of the Governor’s Cabinet.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can appear as soon as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
“As this situation evolves, we will continually update Ohioans through our website, odh.ohio.gov, our Facebook page and our Twitter account,” said Dr. Acton. “It’s important to remember that the most accurate and timely information regarding this outbreak is available through the Ohio Department of Health, as well as the CDC.”
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