Concerns about COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, is leading officials to give updates during meetings at all levels of government.
For example, James G. Schwaderer, of the Delaware General Health District’s Sunbury office, spoke before the Sunbury Village Council Wednesday.
Schwaderer said most of the cases of infection are in China. The World Health Organization said there are now more than 100,000 cases of infection as of March 6. The coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Schwaderer said there are now two strains of the coronavirus. Symptoms include cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.
“While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed 17 travel-related cases, 26 person-to-person cases and six deaths related to novel coronavirus within the United States, there are no confirmed cases in Ohio,” said a statement from the DGHD posted on the village’s Facebook page. The DGHD is monitoring the coronavirus with the Ohio Department of Health.
In perspective, there have been 16,000 flu-related deaths in the United States during this flu season. This is the peak of the flu season. The DGHD recommends getting the flu vaccination.
“Help prevent the spread of misinformation by learning the facts about COVID-19,” the DGHD states. “Fight stigma and fear by understanding that you cannot tell if someone is at risk for spreading COVID-19 based on how they look.”
“At this time, the Centers for Disease Control consider the coronavirus to be a serious public health threat,” said Congressman Troy Balderson in a statement issued Feb. 28. “These viruses can cause either mild illness like a cold or can make people very sick with pneumonia.”
In Columbus, those who had tickets to the Arnold Sports Festival were prevented from attending events as a health precaution. Experience Columbus, a tourist group, is working with local attractions like the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell to give those ticket holders an alternative to visit.
Officials suggest taking preventive measures such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face — eyes, nose, mouth — with unwashed hands, covering your nose and mouth with your sleeve when coughing and sneezing, clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces, and staying home if you feel ill.
“With regard to cleaning and disinfecting our buildings, we are increasing our typical protocols to disinfect common contact surfaces more frequently,” the Big Walnut Local School District states in a letter to parents and guardians dated March 4. “Additionally, we are reminding students, especially our youngest learners, of proper hand washing steps and how to prevent the spread of illness ... As we head toward spring break, we know travel may be planned. Since we know that this virus is currently prevalent in other countries and areas of the U.S., we encourage you to check the CDC Travel Advisory page prior to your travels.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.