Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) has been working since the beginning of the year on coronavirus (COVID19) preparation.
According to deputy FCPH Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon, the department has provided information and guidance to various healthcare providers in the county as the situation has changed. Additionally, it has provided social media updates and information for the general public on COVID19.
More than 83,000 COVID19 cases have been reported worldwide, nearly 79,000 of them in mainland China. Government officials there have severely restricted travel and imposed strict quarantine measures to try and stop the virus from spreading.
“Across Fayette County and Ohio, the COVID19 situation has not changed much in the last week,” Cannon wrote in a press release. “What has changed is the rhetoric surrounding it. Updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including ‘when not if’ or ‘inevitable’ statements about COVID19 in the United States, have caused people to pay a little more attention to the situation in the country.”
However, Cannon said, local facts about the virus remain unchanged, including:
– There are zero cases in Fayette County.
– There are zero cases in Ohio.
– There are currently zero “Persons Under Investigation” (PUIs) in Ohio. A PUI is a person who has traveled to China and is experiencing symptoms of COVID19. Symptoms can include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath (note that these are the same symptoms as many other respiratory illnesses). This data is updated daily at 2 p.m. on the Ohio Department of Health’s website: www.odh.ohio.gov
– During the last two months there have been seven PUIs in Ohio – all of which tested negative for COVID19. Across the US, there have been 445 people who were PUIs but also tested negative for COVID19.
– There are other people in Ohio who traveled to China and have no symptoms at all and are under public health supervision. These people, who have no symptoms but have traveled to China, are monitoring themselves for two weeks and reporting to their local public health department if they have symptoms. This is also not new and has been going on for two months across the country.
– There is no confirmed community transmission of COVID19 in Ohio or the US. All COVID19 cases in the US have been travel-related (12) or close household contacts (two) of people who have traveled abroad. The suspected community-transmission case of COVID19 in California is still under investigation.
“Fayette County residents should continue to adhere to travel bans and warnings,” said Cannon. “No one should travel to China right now. Travel should be restricted to several other countries as well, according to CDC recommendations. Those CDC recommendations can be found at cdc.gov/travel.”
Prevention is still the best tool for COVID19 across Ohio.
“We talk about prevention all the time,” Cannon said. “We firmly believe that personal choices are going to play a huge part of how this illness, or any respiratory illness, plays out. We all have a personal responsibility to help prevent COVID19.”
Fayette County Public Health provides the following advice:
– Cover every cough and sneeze with your arm.
– Stay home when you are sick.
– Wash your hands often.
– Don’t put your hands in your mouth, eyes or nose.
– Avoid people who are sick.
– Clean frequently touched surfaces.
“We also encourage residents to use common sense about face masks,” Cannon said. “There is no simpler way to say this: face masks are for sick people and healthcare workers. Masks work well to help limit the spread of illnesses from those who are already sick. Masks do not work well to help the general public stay healthy.”
If you traveled to China in the last two weeks (or have been around a confirmed case of COVID19) and experience symptoms of COVID19, you should CALL your healthcare provider first. If you do not have a healthcare provider, you should call Fayette County Public Health at 740-335-5910.
If you have questions about COVID19 you can contact Fayette County Public Health at 740-335-5910.