What Each of Us Does Matters

When we stop moving, so does this virus. What each of us does today, tomorrow, and for the next few months matters. 
  • Stay home when we’re sick.
  • Stay home if we’re caring for someone who is sick.
  • Keep our social distance (6 feet apart) when we must go out or to work.
  • Wash our hands often and for 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch our face.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with our sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and things we touch alot (like our phones, electronics, keyboards, remotes, doorknobs).
  • Call neighbors or loved ones who are at increased-risk for having a serious complication (older adults and any person with a medical condition) and see if you can help them stay home.

Statewide Mask Order

Effective July 23, 2020, 6:00pm

All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

  • At an indoor location that is not a residence
  • Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
  • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include:

  • Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability;
  • Those who are actively exercising or playing sports;
  • Those who are officiants at religious services;
  • Those who are actively involved in public safety; or
  • Those who are actively eating or drinking.

Schools should follow the guidance previously issued pertaining to masks.

COVID-19 Travel Advisory

Those entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Positivity rate is an indicator of how much COVID-19 there is in a community, and ODH is recommending against travel to those states with high positivity. If someone must travel, ODH is recommending 14 days of self-quarantine after leaving those locations. This advisory is intended for both leisure and business travel and should be heeded by both Ohioans and out-of-state travelers.

How to talk to kids about Coronavirus

Explaining the Tools Public Health is Using to Slow the Spread of Disease

Every single day, public health works to slow the spread of many reportable diseases within our community. To do this, our disease detectives (epidemiologists or epis for short) are constantly monitoring and tracking reportable contagious diseases. The tools our epis use include contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. But what do these terms mean?

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the process of identifying which people may have been exposed to a person sick with a contagious disease while that person was infectious.
When a person has a contagious disease like the coronavirus, our epis do detailed interviews to find out who the ill person has been in close contact with. This may include others living in the same home, intimate partners, co-workers, or others. The epis determine when the person was likely contagious and walk through who and where they had visited in that time. The epis then notify those people identified as possible close contacts who are at risk for getting sick. These people are then instructed to stay home (self-quarantine) for 14 days. Why 14 days? Because the incubation period (how long it takes from exposure until you get sick) for this new coronavirus is 2-14 days. While they are home, they monitor for symptoms, including taking their temperature twice a day. If they start to have any of the symptoms of the coronavirus, then they call their doctor and/or health department right away. Figuring out who has had close contact with a sick person is an effective tool when you are trying to stop the spread of disease.

Isolation

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

If a person is known or suspected of having a contagious disease like the coronavirus, our epis instruct them to stay home. This helps prevent the spread of the disease to others. Isolation can be done at home.  A sick person must stay home (except to see a doctor) until they are given the okay by a doctor. Public health authorities can enforce isolation orders if necessary.

Quarantine

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
When a person has had close contact with a person who is sick with a contagious disease like the coronavirus, our epis instruct them to stay home. This provides another layer of protection in helping to prevent the spread of the disease to the community. Quarantine for coronavirus is 14 days. Quarantine can be done at home. If a person starts to show signs they are sick, then this person is then considered in isolation and must stay home until given the okay by a doctor. Public health authorities can enforce quarantine orders if necessary.

Social Distancing

What’s It Mean & Why’s It Matter

Social distancing is all about keeping 6 feet of distance between you and other people. Why 6 feet? How are 2 yard sticks really helping to slow the spread? We in public health are asking everyone to keep 6 feet of space between us because 6 feet is how far respiratory droplets can go. Respiratory droplets are the little water droplets that fly out of our mouth when we breath, talk, cough or sneeze. The force of a sneeze can send these droplets flying up to 6 feet. From what we know so far about this new coronavirus, it likes to spread to others through these droplets. That’s why keeping 6 feet from others helps protect us.

Understanding Different COVID Tests

We’ve received several questions regarding the different types of COVID-19 tests out there. There are three main types of tests in the US.

Molecular Test: The most common test type in Ohio is a molecular test that looks for the genetic material of the specific SARS CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. This test is called a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. This is the test used when we report lab confirmed cases. A sample for testing is collected by a swab in the nose or throat. Results typically take several days. There are some rapid molecular tests termed “Point of Care” that provide results rapidly. However, these rapid “Point of Care” tests are still limited in availability.

Antigen Test: Antigen tests are a newer test that looks for certain proteins from the virus. A sample for testing is collected by a swab in the nose or throat. Results are rapid, available within minutes to hours. This type of test is still not commonly used in Ohio. An individual with a positive antigen test would also need to meet one of two other criteria to be classified as a probable case – clinical evidence of illness (symptoms consistent with COVID-19) or evidence of exposure to a known case.

Antibody Test: Antibody tests, also called serological tests, look for antibodies that indicate a past infection. A blood draw is used for testing. This is the type of test offered by the American Red Cross on blood donations. This test only detects if antibodies have developed, likely from a past infection. This test is not used to diagnose COVID-19. This test also does not mean you have immunity if you have antibodies. Researchers still don’t know if immunity develops after an infection, and if it does, for how long it may protect.

Check out this link from the Mayo Clinic for more information: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/expert-answers/covid-antibody-tests/faq-20484429?fbclid=IwAR26JiaoDkwLRFV0wTY8jovrtnaIHL33RppIyrVgIkNmV6_iPa-mKw9erOA

Flatten the Curve

Why is this Dr. Amy Acton’s Favorite Visual Aid
Flattening the curve is all about trying to reduce the number of seriously ill people that hit the healthcare system at one time. It’s about slowing the spread so cases are spread out over a longer period of time. If this virus is allowed to spread uncontrollably, we have learned from other nations and states that it can and will overwhelm our medical resources. If we don’t flatten the curve, if we allow the virus to spread without putting up a stay home, social distancing fight, then there won’t be enough healthcare workers or equipment to care for all of us that need it. That includes people who don’t have COVID-19. People who are having babies; people who are fighting cancer and other diseases; people who have a heart attack or stroke; people who are in a car accident or other trauma.