Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
NEWPORT, Ky. - Michael Haley saw it coming when he was called in on his day off.
“If the pilots aren’t flying, people aren’t flying, that’s our business. All of a sudden, Tuesday ended and I was out of a job,” Haley said.
Haley is one of about 30 employees laid off at Executive Transportation in Newport as business there came to a startling halt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
He’s now one of the thousands dealing with unemployment in the Tri-State.
“In the climate now, everything is changing very quickly … I’m trying to stay as focused and positive as possible,” Haley said.
“They don’t want this, nor do we,” said Andrew Duncan, director of HR and marketing at Executive Transportation.
Duncan said the company, which operates airport shuttles, charter buses and more vehicles, saw a drastic drop in rides because people aren't traveling.
“Because the revenue has really died in a lot of ways, for the moment, we’ve had to make cuts so we can survive as a company,” Duncan said. “People that we love, that we care for… It’s been really hard.”
Unemployment requests have spiked by 1,100% in Ohio alone! Last week, there were only 6,500. This week, there are 78,000.
Ohio has loosened its requirements, allowing those affected by the coronavirus closures to apply for unemployment.
Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are taking unemployment applications online and working to loosen waiting periods and restrictions.
“It was easy,” Haley said. “Going online and registering is very easy."
Haley has registered and will officially file next week.
“My wife and I sat down and I have a long list of honey-do’s to keep myself busy,” Haley said.
But he’d rather be working.
“I’m ready to go back to work,” Haley said.
Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.