COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health said Tuesday one person in the state is currently being investigated for exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The ODH website defines a person under investigation as someone showing symptoms of respiratory illness and within 14 days of symptoms starting, either traveled to China or been in close contact with someone known to have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
A spokesperson for the department said the state expects to receive COVID-19 test kits from the Centers for Disease Control before the end of the week. Until then, all tests must be sent to the CDC.
There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ohio. According to the ODH website, seven people have previously been under investigation, all of whom tested negative.
Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious disease expert at OhioHealth, says more widespread testing will provide valuable data.
“Having that would give us an idea if it’s in Ohio and it’s my clinical hunch that this coronavirus is here but we have not had the capability to do testing at the local hospital level,” Gastaldo said.
Gastaldo said early data from other countries shows more than 80 percent of people who get the infection are only mildly symptomatic with it.
“We have to realize if we test people and the result is, ‘Yes you have this novel coronavirus,’ if you are low risk and you’re young and you’re healthy, all you’re going to do is stay home and take care of yourself,” Gastaldo said.
Nine people in the United States have died from exposure to the coronavirus. All the deaths have been in Washington state.