State of emergency declared in Ohio after 3 positive coronavirus tests

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UPDATE 3/11/2020: A fourth Ohioan has tested positive for coronavirus. Click here for the latest news on coronavirus in Ohio.

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Governor DeWine signed an executive order Monday declaring a state of emergency in Ohio to protect Ohioans from the dangerous effects of COVID-19.

Three people in Ohio have tested positive for the disease.

The executive order directs the Department of Health to issue guidelines for private businesses regarding work and travel restrictions, if necessary.

The declaration also allows the state to re-allocate personnel as needed, suspend normal purchasing and contracting rules and creates testing guidelines for health care providers.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton promised the state will take an aggressive approach to COVID-19 coronavirus in the state.

“So much more guidance will be coming. People do need to know it won’t be life as normal in this country for a while. We will be leaning in and asking businesses and everyone to cooperate as we give guidelines on what’s best for Ohioans,” said Dr. Acton.

The Ohio Department of Health already took precautions during the weekend’s Arnold Sports Festival, canceling the expo and limiting spectators to only a few ticketed events. Some have pushed for the NCAA to not allow spectators at its Basketball tournament.

“The actions we take today and in the days to come here in Ohio will make our lives a little more uncomfortable. You’ll be hearing guidance on travel, on visiting your loved ones. We don’t want you visiting your loved ones in a nursing home if you’re sick,” said Dr. Acton.

Dr. Acton stressed that it’s not just people in at-risk groups that need to take precautions.

“If you live with someone who’s in one of these high risk groups, you should treat yourself and the household as vulnerable household. Don’t just think about the one person,”said Dr. Acton.

It is increasingly clear that the disease is being spread in the community, according to Acton. She says the state will lean in and take an aggressive approach.

“We’ve learned from history and we’ve studied pandemics. And I do call this a pandemic, because in my mind it definitely meets the criteria of that when we see this sort of community spread,” said Acton.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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