Ohio’s first three confirmed cases of coronavirus are all in Cuyahoga County, said Gov. Mike DeWine, who announced a state of emergency on Monday.
The three patients in Cuyahoga County had contact with other people who had confirmed cases of COVID-19, DeWine said. The three patients are all in their 50s.
The patients are a husband and wife who attended a cruise on the Nile River and a man who was at the America Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C., WBNS said. All of them are self-isolated at their homes, according to Terry Allan, the Cuyahoga County health commissioner.
Six other people who had contact with the three are now self-quarantining, the Plain Dealer reported, citing Cleveland city officials.
“This disease will for a period significantly disturb and disrupt our lives,” DeWine said. “This is no ordinary time. It’s important for us to take aggressive action to protect Ohioans. And the actions that we take now will in fact save lives.”
The state of emergency, Executive Order 2020-01-D, is available here. The state of emergency allows state departments and agencies to better coordinate in their response. DeWine partially activated the state Emergency Operations Center at 1 p.m. Monday.
Other provisions of the state of emergency are an allowance for the state to purchase health supplies without a bid and a ban on unneeded travel by state workers. The Department of Health will have authority to tell businesses to impose work and travel restrictions.
Anyone suspecting price-gouging should call the Ohio Attorney General at 800-282-0515.
The Ohio Department of Health says it is testing five people for potential exposure; 11 tests have come back negative.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) said it cancelled its annual Ohio Safety Congress & Expo scheduled this week at the Greater Columbus Convention Center because of concerns over the coronavirus.
Ohio officials over the weekend had announced a new testing protocol, The Ohio Star reported. Priority is being given for hospital patients who show symptoms of the virus; their tests will be processed by the Ohio Department of Health’s State Laboratory, which can produce results in 24-48 hours.
People who have not hospitalized but meet the state’s criteria should call a physician or other healthcare provider, officials said.
People with questions about COVID-19 can call the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 833-4-ASK-ODH.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.