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.
WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Greater Cincinnati, according to UC Health spokeswoman Amanda Nageleisen.
Four patients tested positive for COVID-19 at UC Health’s West Chester Hospital, Nageleisen said on Friday.
The patients were treated and released. Health officials did not provide information on patient demographics or where the patients are from.
Butler County General Health District Commissioner Jennifer Bailer said the county is currently following seven people in one family, four of which have tested positive for COVID-19.
“As soon as they were tested, they were put into quarantine," Bailer said at a press conference Friday afternoon.
Of those seven people, three are men and four are women. Five are in their 30s, two are in their 70s. Two people are currently quarantined at home awaiting test results, and one is hospitalized awaiting test results.
Bailer said it is currently unclear where the individuals picked up the virus, and the health district is investigating possible links to out-of-state and out-of-country exposure.
Thirty people are currently self-quarantined at home after attending an out-of-state conference where an attendee later tested positive to COVID-19. Bailer said the health district has no reason to believe the individuals are COVID-19 positive at this time.
Getting tested in Butler County
You cannot get tested at a public health department at this time, Bailer said. Test kits are at the Ohio Department of Health in Columbus.
Those who believe they may show symptoms of coronavirus should instead call ahead to their primary care provider to be interviewed and receive information on how to get tested through private labs, Lab Corps and Quest Diagnostics. All require a doctor’s order.
Bailer stressed the importance of calling ahead so as not to contaminate doctors' waiting rooms or emergency departments, where otherwise healthy patients may then be exposed to the virus.
Those who are hospitalized with symptoms of coronavirus will be tested by the Ohio Department of Health. Tests results take between two and five days to come back, Bailer said.
Drive-thru testing is still “in the works" but is not set up in Butler County yet, Bailer said.
Senator Rob Portman told WCPO Friday that more statewide testing is coming soon.
"We're learning how to do it better so that the next time this happens, we'll have more test kits," he said. We'll be better prepared."
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The Ohio Department of Health confirmed to WCPO Friday that the 13 total positive COVID-19 cases on its website does not include three of the four positive cases in Butler County, meaning there are now at least 16 positive cases in the state.
Click here to see a full list of schools that have adjusted their schedules amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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.