COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health opened a call center Friday to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19).
By early afternoon, the call center was averaging about one call per minute.
ODH spokesperson Melanie Amato said callers are asking a wide range of questions.
“Are people getting tested here in the state? What are we doing with those? We’re getting calls right now about the Arnold classic both for and against,” Amato said.
Health officials understand the fear and anxiety in the public because this is a new virus.
“We’re here just to help ease those fears,” Amato said. “We’re here to make sure you are getting the most accurate information, the correct information. We’re here to reassure you of any questions.”
The call center is staffed with public health officials including licensed nurses and infectious disease experts. The call center will be open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
While the general risk to the public in Ohio is still considered low, Ohio health officials say it is important to continue to follow standard precautions to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
To prevent the spread of any virus including novel coronavirus, practice these preventative measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
There are 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ohio as of Friday, March 13. Get updated numbers and live press conferences everyday at 2pm here on our coronavirus in Ohio page. Download the free NBC4 app to get the first alerts as new cases are confirmed.