March 10: Coronavirus update for Madison County

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(Posted March 10, 2020)

Madison County Public Health (MCPH) is working on Coronavirus (COVID19) response every day. Monitor state and local news but rely on MCPH for reliable information on COVID19 in Madison County. Information and guidance for COVID19 changes daily. MCPH provides weekly public information releases and will keep information current on its website at madisonpublichealth.org

Here are the latest local facts and advice about COVID19:

  1. There are zero confirmed cases in Madison County.
  1. There are confirmed cases in Ohio. While MCPH doesn’t want people to get too caught up in numbers, you can access the latest numbers at ohio.gov.

3. There are people in Ohio being tested for COVID19. These patients are called Persons Under Investigation (PUI). Testing for COVID19 is limited to sick patients who are at high risk for developing very severe symptoms. These people include older adults who are hospitalized with a respiratory illness and also have a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or have a compromised immune system.

  1. There are people in Ohio who traveled to countries with widespread COVID19 cases, returned to Ohio, and have no symptoms of COVID19 at all. These people are under Public Health Supervision (PHS). They are staying home away from other people, monitoring themselves for two weeks, and reporting to their local public health department if they develop symptoms of COVID19.

5. There is no sustained community transmission of COVID19 in Ohio. Community transmission occurs when people get sick who did not travel to a location with widespread COVID19 cases.

6. Pay attention to travel bans. Do not go on any cruise ship. Do not travel to China, Iran, South Korea or Italy. Seriously reconsider travel to Japan. The latest CDC travel recommendations can be found at gov/travel.

7. Make active choices about group gatherings. You are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID19 if you are: 1) an older adult; or 2) any age with a serious chronic medical condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or you have a compromised immune system. When we say “active choices,” we mean stop for a moment before going out and think about the risk and the alternatives. Start doing things like: 1) watch religious services online, avoid large indoor events with lots of people, go to the grocery when there aren’t a lot of people around, or use delivery services when you can. This doesn’t mean stay home all the time. It means decide what’s necessary and what isn’t.

  1. Don’t ask for testing. Healthcare workers consider all options and they consult with public health department staff. Let healthcare providers do their jobs. COVID19 is not the only illness out there. Remember that testing is limited to those who are very sick and are high risk.
  1. Don’t buy facemasks. Face masks are for sick people and healthcare workers. That’s it. Surgical masks work well to help limit the spread of illnesses from those who are already sick. Respirator masks are essential for our healthcare workers because they are in very close contact with sick people for long periods of time. Masks do not work well to help the general public stay healthy.

Work is being done to slow the spread of COVID19 in Ohio. You’ve heard this before, but prevention is still the best tool for COVID19 across Ohio. Your personal choices are going to play a huge part of how this illness, or any respiratory illness, plays out. Everyone has a personal responsibility to help prevent COVID19:

  1. Cover every cough and sneeze with your arm.
  2. Stay home when you are sick.
  3. Wash your hands often.
  4. Don’t put your hands in your mouth, eyes or nose.
  5. Avoid people who are sick.
  6. Clean frequently touched surfaces.

If you know someone who isn’t following these six hygienic practices, call them out on it. Don’t be bashful.

Keep in mind that if you’ve traveled somewhere with widespread COVID19 cases in the last two weeks (or have been around a confirmed case of COVID19) and experience symptoms of COVID19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath), call your healthcare provider first so they can evaluate you over the phone. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call Madison Health at (740) 845-7333.

But if you have an emergency, always call 911.

If you have questions about COVID19, call the Ohio Department of Health COVID19 hotline at (833) 427-5634 or contact Madison County Public Health at info@madisonpublichealth.org or (740) 852-3065.

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