NewsLocal NewsHamilton County


Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton County; officials urge people to stay home

Posted at 10:16 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 19:46:17-04

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county on Thursday. She also urged people to limit unnecessary trips from their homes and to self-isolate if they feel sick.

In an afternoon meeting, interim Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman confirmed a second local diagnosis had come from the Ohio Department of Health lab but provided few details.

The first person who tested positive is a New York resident in her 20s who had recently traveled to Hamilton County to spend time with family, according to Kesterman.

Kesterman said she developed a fever, cough and fatigue after she had been in Hamilton County for one day. She call her doctor, and she was tested at UC Health's West Chester Hospital. She is not hospitalized. Kesterman said she and her family are self-quarantining, and she is expected to recover.

The second patient is a man in his 60s who has been hospitalized with the virus.

By Thursday afternoon, there were 119 confirmed cases in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Watch the full press conference in the player below:

Driehaus emphasized the New York woman's case was likely not the first in the county, just the first that was detected. She urged people not to leave their homes unless it was necessary, in order to stop the spread of the virus.

“We will get through this together, and we will need to take every step we can to limit the spread of this virus," Driehaus said.

Kesterman said the county has enough COVID-19 tests right now, but that could change. He said that’s why it’s important people self-isolate if they have symptoms so tests can be saved for people who are the sickest.

If you experience symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) you should self-isolate and call your primary care doctor. Do not go to the emergency room.

Find 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).

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.

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.