African Americans account for most positive COVID-19 tests at Cincinnati health clinics, commissioner says

Blacks, whites have same number across city
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Posted at 3:19 PM, Apr 13, 2020

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.

CINCINNATI - African Americans account for a majority of positive COVID-19 tests at the City of Cincinnati's health clinics, Health Commissioner Melba Moore announced Monday.

Moore said the racial breakdown of 59 positive tests shows:

  • African American: 30
  • Caucasian: 24
  • Asian: 1
  • Unknown: 4

Moore also said African Americans and Caucasians have the same number of positive tests, 52, across all of Cincinnati. Moore made those announcements during Mayor John Cranley's COVID-19 briefing.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Cincinnati was 50.3% white and 42.7% black as of July 2019. Moore did not comment on the numbers she presented.

WATCH Monday's briefing in the video player above.

Moore started providing racial breakdowns last week after WCPO 9 News requested that information from local governments. At the time, she announced that the city's three COVID-19 deaths included two African Americans and one Caucasian.

RELATED: Is COVID-19 hitting African Americans disproportionately harder than whites?

Moore reported one more COVID-19 death over the weekend but did not disclose the victim's race.

The city has 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, raising the total to 164, Moore said. Thirteen more people have recovered, raising that total to 56.

SEE the city's COVID-19 report.

In other announcements Monday:

  • Cranley said the city is facing a "desperate situation" because the Freestore Foodbank has only enough food for three weeks. He said CEO Kurt Reiber told him the Foodbank is on pace to give out as much food in one month as it usually gives out in six months. "People are literally at risk of going hungry," the mayor said. Cranley asked people to donate directly to the Foodbank or to the COVID Regional Response Fund online or by texting RAPID to 91999.
  • Cranley pleaded with residents to fill out the census, saying it not only equates to government redistricting but also for prescription drug benefits for seniors on Medicare, SNAP benefits and funding for area hospitals. You can fill out the census at
  • The plan to use the Duke Energy Convention Center as an alternate care site has changed again – for the better. Citing a lesser need thanks to local efforts to flatten the curve, Cranley said there will be 98 "medical surge beds" and 48 "post-acute beds" staffed by "all Southwest Ohio medical systems." He said the original plan called for 1,000 beds for non-COVID hospital patients displaced in the anticipated surge.
  • Cranley said his other updates this week will be on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. or after the city council meeting and on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

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
  • 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.