March 11, 9:30 a.m.
Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus called COVID-19. The outbreak continues to expand in many countries and cases without clear travel-related exposures have been reported in the United States.
To date, no cases have been confirmed in Lucas County. However, Ohio has 3 confirmed cases and Governor DeWine has declared a State of Emergency. The criteria for testing have expanded, and testing can now be completed at the state level. Possible cases are being reviewed for testing. Testing is currently available at private labs and at the Ohio Department of Health Lab. Testing requires a providers order.
Toledo- Lucas County Health Department continues to work closely with state and federal health officials to appropriately monitor or test. The Health Department is in close contact with local health systems and health care providers to review cases and provide guidance. We are also in communication with local schools, businesses, and faith-based organizations to support planning and response actions.
Individuals with concerns or flu-like symptoms should call their health care provider first with questions. The Health Department has also expanded its phone lines. Callers may dial 419-213-4161 to speak with a staff member who is able to answer questions about COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Health has a COVID-19 hotline 1-833-4ASK-ODH.
All community members should practice basic prevention. Good handwashing, staying away from others if sick, and covering your cough are always recommended to reduce the spread of illness. Also, consider reviewing your basic emergency supplies or plans. Health emergencies tend to start slower and last longer than other types of emergency events. See our How to be Prepared for Coronavirus Fact Sheet for ways to keep yourself and your family safe around respiratory illnesses.
We continue to prepare for the possibility of local cases and the spread of illness in Lucas County. We know this possibility may cause some concern, and we are working to share timely, accurate information without causing unnecessary alarm.
Should community disease control measures be needed, they may include recommendations or orders to limit public gatherings or increase social distance. Social distancing means staying 6 feet away from others. Currently none of these actions are recommended.
REMEMBER: Discrimination harms public health. People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get coronavirus than anyone else. Let’s fight this public health concern with compassion and science, not fear and discrimination.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is available in English, Chinese, and Spanish.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Perform routine environmental cleanings
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- A list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease) is available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This list includes many commonly used products.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing
your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Information on Travel and Traveler Monitoring
Countries in addition to China are now seeing sustained transmission of COVID-19. View travel alerts through the CDC. Anyone who spent time in a country with ongoing transmission should watch themselves for symptoms for 14 days after and let their health care provider know about their travel history before seeking medical care. Individuals who spent time in a country with widespread ongoing transmission (as of today, those countries include China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy) should self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is in close contact with state and federal health authorities, and is receiving up-to-date information about higher-risk travelers returning to our area in order to support any necessary quarantining, monitoring, or testing.
Some areas in the U.S. are now declaring public health emergencies. If you traveled to one of these areas and did NOT have known contact with a confirmed case, guidance is to self-observe. This means you should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days, but movement is not limited at this time. Check with your health care provider and let them know your travel history if symptoms begin.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people such as has been seen with MERS and SARS. When person-to-person spread has occurred with SARS and MERS, it is thought to have happened via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts. Past MERS and SARS outbreaks have been complex, requiring comprehensive public health response.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.