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.
FLORENCE, Ky. — A Boone County Schools teacher is in quarantine and several families at separate schools are in isolation because of COVID-19, Superintendent Dr. Randy Poe revealed in a recorded message posted online Thursday. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus/COVID-19 in the Tri-State, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear recommended schools across the state close for two weeks to prevent COVID-19's spread.
Starting Monday, the county’s school system has ordered all students stay home until April 20, a measure that made parent Bryan Murphy take notice.
"It was a shock seeing it right here in our hometown," the former Florence police officer turned barber told WCPO. "Like this is no joke. This is seriously getting people sick. Now your kids are staying home because of it. It really makes you take it serious."
His oldest children, Faith and Elijah, attend Boone County High School. Two years ago, Murphy took work across Burlington Pike at Young's Barber Shop to be close for emergencies, but threats of coronavirus are different and stressing every parent in the district.
Murphy's wife plans to stay home with the kids.
"I think just cause it inconveniences our daily lives, I really think we should do what these people are telling us to do because that's what they get paid to do is advise on what to do in these situations," Murphy said.
But for many Northern Kentucky families, including those with single parents, staying home isn't an option.
Administrators sent letters home Thursday explaining how Boone County's home instruction will work and promised to work with families forced to find all-day child care.
Poe hopes to resume normal classes by April 20, but that depends on COVID-19's spread and the duration of Gov. Andy Beshear's state of emergency.
Find more information on the school system's plans here.
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 45 countries 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.