Coronavirus in Ohio update: 13 confirmed cases, mass gathering ban announced

Coronavirus

Anyone with questions on coronavirus is urged to call the ODH Coronavirus Hotline at 1-833-4ASKODH (427-5634).

FRIDAY 3/13 UPDATE: 13 cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are confirmed in Ohio as of Friday afternoon.

UPDATE: Governor DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will provide an update on the coronavirus situation in Ohio at 2 p.m. Friday. President Trump will hold a press conference at 3 p.m.

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a new mass gathering ban in the state, and an extended spring break for schools, as a fifth person tested positive for corinavirus.

The latest information on the COVID-19 coronavirus

According to the Ohio Department of Health, five people have tested positive for the virus. 52 are now under investigation.

DeWine said the latest case is a 55-year-old man from Trumbull County. Trumbull County includes Warren, Ohio and is north of Youngstown.

DeWine said K-12 students will have an extended spring break, starting at the close of school Monday and lasting three weeks.

“We know this will impact families. We understand the sacrifice this will entail, but this is the right thing to do,” said DeWine.

The governor said in the coming days, he will issue an order stopping visitation altogether at nursing homes. This is an escalation from Wednesday order restricting nursing home residents to one visitor per day.

No visitors will be allowed at state psychiatric hospitals.

Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health signed an order banning gatherings of more than 100 people in a single room in Ohio. The order excludes offices, schools, restaurants, factories and retail or grocery stores. It also does not apply to voting, religious gatherings or gatherings for the purpose of exercising first amendment protected speech.

“Just the fact of community spread says at least 1% of the population is carrying the virus. We have 11.7 million people. The math is over 100,000,” said Dr. Acton. “That gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly.

Acton says the measures being taken today are all about slowing the spread of the disease.

“This is keeping the number low enough so we don’t overwhelm the hospital systems,” said Dr. Acton. “State-of-the-art as they are, there are only so many ventilators. There are only so many machines. They must be used wisely by the sickest patients.”

Dr. Acton says she expects the virus to peak sometime between late April and mid-May.

A 53-year-old male from Stark County tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19; this is the first case of community spread, meaning he has no travel history outside the United States.

The OHSAA said it will be postponing winter tournaments as a precaution.

It was announced Thursday that several conferences, including the Big Ten, had canceled its conference tournament games.

Major League Soccer also announced Thursday it was suspending its season for 30 days in response to the coronavirus.

According to Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Public Health Commissioner, there are two people in Franklin Co. currently being tested for the virus. 

DeWine also recommended that colleges and universities go to remote learning and eliminate face to face interactions. He also recommended they stop school-sanctioned international travel and evaluate anyone who traveled internationally or spent time on a cruise ship during spring break. 

Ohio State University announced Monday night that in-person classes would be suspended until at least the end of March. Several other colleges and universities followed suit Tuesday. 

“By the end of this week it will seem like a different world than it is today and that’s the pace at which this change is occurring,” said Dr. Acton.

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