DeWine makes recommendations, city hosts summit on coronavirus preparedness

Cincinnati hosts coronavirus preparedness summit
Updated: Mar. 10, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Governor Mike DeWine made several recommendations Tuesday to slow the spread of coronavirus in the state.

“We know that the decisions we make in the next few days and weeks will determine how many lives are lost in Ohio and how long this pandemic will last,” DeWine said.

He asked colleges and universities to move toward online or remote learning; screen students returning from international travel or cruise ships; eliminate international travel; and cancel or postpone university-sponsored travel and large meetings.

For kindergarten through 12th grade, DeWine didn’t advise to close the schools yet but says they should be prepared just in case.

While outdoor sporting events can go on as planned, the governor asked that games being played indoors have only those spectators “essential to the game.”

DeWine also recommended religious groups to consider limiting practices that can spread germs.

As for nursing homes, he said, “If you’re sick, you should not go into nursing homes.”

Meanwhile, Cincinnati officials hosted a coronavirus preparedness summit Tuesday, where leaders reiterated the distancing and sanitizing protocols recommended by the CDC.

The city is not planning to cancel events like Opening Day or St. Patrick’s Day as of now, but that could change, leaders say.

The City Health Department says because there are a limited number of test kits in the state, only the sickest individuals and those who firmly fit the virus’s symptom profile will be tested.

That will change, officials say, when more tests become available. Until then, physicians with UC Health say people who get sick but don’t need to be hospitalized should stay home.

Health Department officials also encouraged employers to have flexible policies that encourage employees to stay home for their sick family members as well.

“We’re calm,” the Health Department’s Melba Moore said. “Let’s be calm. Let’s be thoughtful. Let’s be intentional and be deliberate in what we do.”

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DeWine confirmed on Monday that three people in Ohio have tested positive for the coronavirus. He says the three individuals, who are all in their 50s, live in Cuyahoga County.

WOIO reports two of the individuals diagnosed with the infection were recently on a cruise on the Nile River. One of the individuals has been hospitalized.

The third person diagnosed with coronavirus recently visited the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C.

There are now 15 people under investigation for the coronavirus, according to the Ohio Department of Health. ODH Director Amy Acton says 14 of the 15 have tested negative.

Gov. DeWine has declared a state of emergency in Ohio which he says is, “to protect the well-being of Ohioans from the dangerous effects of COVID-19."

The Ohio Department of Health recommends the following to help prevent the coronavirus:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Get sleep & eat well-balanced meals
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
  • Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
  • Clean & disinfect “high-touch” surfaces often
  • Call before visiting your doctor

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