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 - Despite pleas by the governor, the city is still sending some COVID-19 tests to a private lab out of state where it takes longer than four days to get results, the health commissioner confirmed Wednesday.
“Our vendor has assured us” they are working to speed up the results, Commissioner Melba Moore said at the mayor's afternoon briefing at City Hall. She said some tests are sent to the state lab.
Gov. Mike DeWine pleaded last week for tests to be sent to the state lab and not to private labs, where results would take several days.
Moore also confirmed that eight people have tested positive at nursing homes and assisted-care facilities in the city, but she could not say how many were patients or employees. Asked to name those facilities, Moore said she would get that information.
WATCH Cranley's briefing below:
Mayor John Cranley announced that city residents can put yard waste in their city-issued trash cans with their garbage for the time being.
“While it’s not ideal for the environment ... I give you my permission to do that,” Cranley said.
Cranley previously had announced the city would suspend yard waste collection until June 1, but he acknowledged that would create a hardship for people complying with the stay-at-home order and taking advantage of good weather to work in their yards.
Cranley opened his news conference wearing a mask fashioned out of an FC Cincinnati scarf.
"This is not an armed robbery," he said before taking off the mask a few moments later.
"I'm asking people to wear homemade cloth masks," Cranley said. "What the studies show is the mask gives you a little bit of protection, but not much, but what it really does is protect others from you."
Moore wore a mask throughout her presentation.
In other announcements:
- Moore reported 14 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city, raising the total to 134, while deaths remained at three. Fifteen people are hospitalized and 32 have recovered, Moore said. Moore said those numbers are comparatively low and she asked everyone to practice social distancing. “The restrictions that have been put in place are not meant to be punitive to any ethnic group,” Moore said. “It is so we can save lives ... What we’re bracing for is a storm that’s coming ... We want to continue to have lower numbers.”
- Moore said she hoped to provide a racial/ethnic breakdown of the city’s test cases by Thursday. She said her staff was going back through them. The city has tested 53 people, she said. Ten tested positive.
- City Manager Patrick Duhaney said the city is releasing addresses of people who have tested positive to police and fire on a "need-to-know basis to enforce quarantine or prevent community spread." He said the city is “in compliance with federal law.”
- City residents can take yard waste to the Rumpke dumping sites in Colerain Township and Anderson Township, but it’s only free on Saturdays and Sundays, Cranley said. The mayor said he had asked Duhaney “to come up with other options” for handling yard waste.
- The city will turn lights blue on the Cincinnati sign on the Duke Energy Convention Center and at Fountain Square on Thursday in honor of the contributions of health care workers, grocery workers, police and fire during the COVID-19 crisis.
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.