The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a Delaware County resident was announced Wednesday afternoon by the Delaware General Health District.
“This individual is in their 50s,” Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson said in a video posted on Facebook. “This individual was never hospitalized but rather recovering in isolation in the comfort of their home.”
Hiddleson added the person “attended the Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine conference in New York City from to March 7 to March 11. The conference organizers have announced that four to five cases have been confirmed from this conference. This conference had around 1,300 attendees.”
No other information about the individual is being released to protect their privacy, Hiddleson said. However, “close contacts of this individual have been advised to self-quarantine at home and monitor for any symptoms.” Additionally, the DGHD’s “District Disease Control and Response Unit will contact anyone who needs to know or take action, including the need for isolation or quarantine.”
DGHD staff are prepared for a pandemic, Hiddleson said, although the district doesn’t provide testing or treatment for COVID-19.
“If you are sick, contact your primary care provider, your regular doctor, by phone to discuss your symptoms,” she said.
In recent days, Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton have issued orders closing many public places and events, such as Tuesday’s primary election, in order to prevent the spread of the infectious disease.
“It is expected this disease will continue to spread,” Hiddleson said. “If we can limit the community’s exposure to this disease, as difficult as it may be, we can make a tremendous impact on reducing the number of cases and lives lost. Our health care system will not be able handle the large number of sick patients, as we’ve seen in the other impacted countries, if we do not implement these strategies.”
She said the strategies include “practicing social distancing of 3 to 6 feet, staying home if you are sick, washing your hands and sanitizing often, and covering your coughs and sneezes” in your sleeve.
The DGHD has opened a COVID Call Center at 740-368-1700 and dial 1 to connect, 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Ohio Department of Health Call Center is also available to answer questions daily by calling 1-833-4-ASK-ODH from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.