Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, we don’t want to alert you, but rather provide you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. A list of resources and frequently asked questions can be found at the end of this story.
CINCINNATI – Local health officials say you have a few options to get tested if you think you may have coronavirus.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday the first three confirmed cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus from Cincinnati.
This does not mean that there are not people in our area who have symptoms of the virus or are concerned about the virus.
Dr. Grant Mussman, of the Cincinnati Health Department, said some progress had been made in confirming coronavirus cases and calming the mind.
“Late last week, the Ohio State Department of Health had a test kit that could be used to test suspected coronavirus cases,” Mussman said.
Ohio has a limited number of kits and cannot test more than 400 of the sickest people, including those hospitalized with acute respiratory disease.
For everyone else, Mussman recommends reaching out to your primary health care provider, who can order a coronavirus test through a private laboratory.
If you don’t have a family doctor, going to emergency care or another clinic may not be your best option.
“I think yes you want to be tested, but you also don’t want to show up in a waiting room and infect a lot of people,” he said.
There are state hotlines for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana for people who fear they may have coronavirus.
“I think the hotline is a good place to start. Then when you sound like someone who needs to be prioritized for a test, the state will help coordinate with the local health department and the local providers will find a way to get tested.” ” Mussman said.
Additional Coronavirus / COVID-19 hotlines and resources can be found below:
- Ministry of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- Find ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- Enter the COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- You can find more information on the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Coronavirus resources page here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours or by email at [email protected]
- You can find more information about the coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is Coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are “a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus like COVID-19 is a new strain that has not yet been identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and has now been detected in 37 locations around the world, including the United States, according to the CDC.
The CDC reports that the first patients in China are associated with a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting an animal-to-human spread. However, a growing number of patients did not report exposure to animal markets, suggesting that the disease is spreading from person to person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can be fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as little as two days or up to 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
The virus is believed to mainly spread from person to person. It spreads between people who are in close contact with each other (within about two meters). It is spread via respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it might be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not believed to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and display the most symptoms.