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.
HAMILTON, Ohio - The Butler County Health Commissioner warned Tuesday that it’s crunch time for Ohioans to comply with COVID-19 restrictions in order to prevent "a surge," while reporting two more confirmed cases in the county.
“We in Ohio right now have seven to 10 days to act – separate ourselves, stay home and make a difference. If we don’t do it in the next seven to 10 days, we are going to be in serious trouble,” Jennifer Bailer said in a news briefing with Sheriff Richard Jones.
“What we do now will determine whether or not we can get out of this pandemic we’re in now and be semi-OK or whether it’s going to surge up like it has in other places,” Bailer said.
Bailer had a simple but forceful message:
“I NEED YOU TO STAY THE HECK HOME,” she said.
She repeated it several times through the briefing, reminding those following that the virus spreads more rapidly when people are in close contact.
Bailer pointed to the familiar curve graph showing how coronavirus “surges” when people don’t stay home or comply with social distancing.
“We need to flatten the curve or we’re going to overwhelm the health-care system, and then we’re going to be in serious trouble,” Bailer said.
“We want to be on the little bubble, as I call it,” Jones said.
“We’ve got a choice about where we’re going to be,” Bailer said.
Bailer said she increased her warning after conferring with the Ohio Department of Health Tuesday morning. Bailer said she had not wanted to be alarming in previous updates, but it was time to use “stronger words.”
“The last few times I talked to you I was pretty nice and I had a positive message, “ Bailer said. “I said, ‘Wash your hands, keep your distance.' But today we’re in a little different spot.”
Bailer said the two new confirmed cases raised the county total to 18. She said the state total had risen to 442 and called that “a dramatic increase.”
Jones advised people to “stay home and be with your kids” and warned against shaking hands.
“I’m a handshaker. Learned that as a little kid,” the sheriff said. “Now, no handshakes.”
Responding to a question about the "stay at home" order by Gov. Mike DeWine, Jones said deputies would not stop drivers in Butler County.
“We’re not going to stop people. The roads will not be closed,” Jones 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 email@example.com
- 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.