Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton held a press conference on Thursday to address Ohioans’ worries about the potential impact of the coronavirus.
“I want to be clear that the threat of coronavirus in Ohio and the United States remains low,” DeWine said, “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.”
No one in Ohio has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Ohio’s health department has tested seven people for the respiratory illness, but they all turned up negative. Furthermore, over 200 people have “been asked to voluntarily quarantine themselves for 14 days,” according to the Associated Press.
“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 Acton. “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.”
At Thursday’s press conference, DeWine ordered state agencies to do certain steps to help prevent the break out of the coronavirus. These steps included having state colleges urge students and faculty not to travel to nations where the CDC has recommended noto to travel, such as China and South Korea; increasing cleaning of common areas in state-owned buildings; putting hand sanitizers in common lobbies in public buildings; taking additional care of the elderly; and posting information at rest areas on correct hand washing techniques.
DeWine is hosting a summit next week with Ohio’s local public health departments and health commissioners and staff to talk about this illness, according to the governor’s press release.
Acton said as the coronavirus situation evolves, ODH will post information on its website and social media platforms.
Worldwide, the coronavirus has infected almost 84,000 people; 2,858 deaths have been attributed to the virus, according to the World Health Organization.
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