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.
BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — There are now eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Butler County, according to County Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer. All eight people are quarantined at home, she said at a Thursday afternoon briefing.
A family of six were the first positive COVID-19 cases in the county, according to the country health district. The two new cases were people who had contact with the family, so these cases were not community spread, according to health officials. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In other Butler County developments:
- At a 1:30 p.m. briefing with Sheriff Richard Jones, Bailer announced an online sign-up procedure where county residents can request assistance or volunteer or donate to the county's COVID-19 relief efforts. Go to https://arcg.is/DL4yu.
- Bailer said other testing sites are being set up in the county to relieve the stress on hospitals. More information will be forthcoming.
- Bailer said the only people who need to be tested are those with fever (temperature of 100.4 or higher), cough and difficulty breathing. People with fever should not go to work, she said. If you think you have COVID-19, do not go to the emergency room. You need a doctor's order to be traetd. Contact your primary care doctor or call a state coronavirus hotline.
- The county health district says it is monitoring 25 people in addition to seven people who tested positive. Middletown health officials are monitoring one of the people who tested positive. Twelve COVID-19 tests are currently pending, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Butler County Regional Transit Authority announced it is temporarily suspending fare collection as of midnight. BCRTA will not charge a fare to ride any R, U, P, Middletown color routes or associated ADA service. In addition, all retail tickets centers will be closed to visitors until further notice. BCRTA will continue to operate BGo services at the regular rate of $5 each way. BCRTA encourages customers to pay for their BGo trips through the BGo app. Customers may contact the call center at 513-785-5237 about purchasing tickets by mail. Please check www.butlercountyrta.com for daily updates.
At the time this article was updated, there were 119 confirmed cases in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
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, but it can be spread even at asymptomatic stages.