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Coronavirus updates March 7, 2020

CLEVELAND (WJW/AP) — 9PM UPDATE: Health officials say two people who tested positive for the new coronavirus in Florida have died.

According to the AP, the deaths are the first on the East Coast attributed to the outbreak in the U.S. The Florida Department of Health said Saturday that nine people have now tested positive for the virus.

It says the two who died were people in their 70s who had traveled overseas, one a man with underlying health issues in Florida’s Panhandle and the other an elderly Fort Myers area individual.

The announcement raises the U.S. death toll from the virus to 16, including 13 in Washington state and one in California.

3 PM UPDATE: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH are providing an update on the status of the state’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

FOX 8 Live Blog (archived):

  • Ohio still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. State has had 9 person under investigation (PUI) who have all tested negative.
  • Ohio currently has 5 PUI, waiting for test results.
  • Ohio now has the ability to test case; ODH has started testing & expects to get results within 24 hours.
  • Private lab (Lab Corp) also has ability to test in Ohio. It is expected to be able to test starting Monday.
  • DeWine expects that some hospitals will be able to do some testing within two weeks.
  • All test results will go back to ODH who will track data to try and prevent community spread.
  • If Ohio is to have confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state plan is to prioritize those who are most sick first.
  • Acton says there are a limited number of tests available. ODH is working with primary care physicians and working to maximize ability to help.
  • Ohio is taking a 3 prong approach —
    • Prioritizing testing those who are most sick — elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, immuno-compromised individuals & health professionals/first responders
    • Second group is general public who should engage with PCP. General public can only be tested with order from PCP
    • Sentinel surveillance to monitor community spread
  • Acton, ODH recommends citizens visit or call 833-4-ASK-ODH for information on virus
  • Mike Abrams, CEO of Ohio Hospital Association, says Ohio has a “dream team of experts” handling this situation.
  • Ohio Hospital Association is working “tirelessly” to make sure all hospitals feel prepared with plan and are well-communicated with
  • Officials are working with frontline responders to determine who needs to be screened first for virus, symptoms
  • Coronavirus will spread gradually and eventually will spread into the Ohio community. As this gradual shift occurs, some cases may be so mild that those who have it may not realize they are sick. -Acton
  • Acton expects that Ohio will have a case “any day now”
  • Ohio is “maximizing its ability to use the resources it has.” -Acton
  • If you think you have COVID-19, call you provider ahead of time so they can prepare and do their best to limit exposure to others in the facility

Symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough and shortness of breath

2 PM UPDATE: The Ohio Department of Health says that five people in the state are being tested for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus.

The people under investigation have exhibited symptoms of respiratory illness. Officials say that within 14 days of symptoms starting these individuals either traveled to China or had been in contact with someone who had the virus.

ODH has not said where these individuals are from.

There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio.

To date, ODH has tested nine other people for the virus, all of which results were negative.

1 PM UPDATE: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH will offer an update on the status of the state’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Saturday afternoon.

They will be holding a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse around 3 p.m.

11:30 AM UPDATE: News reports say a hotel in southeastern China being used for medical observation of people who had contact with coronavirus patients has collapsed, trapping some 70 people.

There were no immediate reports of deaths. News reports said at least 33 people were rescued from the wreckage of the Xinjia Express Hotel in Quanzhou, a city in Fujian province.

People’s Daily said the 80-room hotel was being used by by the city government for observation of people who had contact with virus patients

8:45 AM UPDATE: The World Health Organization (WHO) reports there are more than 101,000 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world with more than 3,400 deaths worldwide.

The coronavirus is now being blamed for 17 deaths in the United States, with two in Florida on Friday.

There are 332 confirmed cases in the US. There are no confirmed cases in the state of Ohio.

Coronavirus Cases by State
Map based on state departments of health as of March 7.

President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The legislation provides federal public health agencies with money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments and helps state and local governments prepare and respond to the threat. The rapid spread of the virus has rocked financial markets, interrupted travel and threatens to affect everyday life in the United States.

The Grand Princess cruise, which is in quarantine off the coast of California, has 21 cases. 19 of the patients are crew-members.

Meanwhile, Facebook is banning ads for face masks to prevent shortages for medical professionals and to keep people from hoarding them or re-selling them.

Costco is temporarily suspending its practice of handing out samples amid coronavirus fears.

The NBA is telling teams to make plans for games “without fans,” saying games could be played with just “essential staff.”

The Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus is not allowing spectators, per order from Governor Mike DeWine.

Games without fans could trickle down to other sporting events, including those in Northeast Ohio, like the upcoming MAC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, which will be held in Cleveland.

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will host the MAC Tournament, which will include Akron and Kent State, starting Wednesday. The arena will also host a POD for The Big Dance. The MAC Commissioner told FOX 8they are in constant contact with the CDC and health professionals, about how to proceed.

The Ohio Department of Health has also established a new hotline to answer questions about the coronavirus.

The call center is staffed with licensed nurses and infectious disease experts. These medical professionals will be tasked with answering questions and providing accurate information about the coronavirus, the risk to the public and Ohio’s response to the illness.

The health department hopes increased awareness about preventing the spread of contagious diseases, like COVID-19, will also help stop the spread of other illnesses such as influenza. The flu remains the most prevalent health concern in Cuyahoga County with three deaths this week and 19 this year.

The call center will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can reach call center staff at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

**The latest, here**

New details on virus impact

  • CDC encourages older people and people with severe chronic medical conditions to “stay at home as much as possible.”
  • WHO reports health workers worldwide are at risk due to a shortage of personal protective equipment because of rising demand, panic buying and hoarding
  • WHO has asked governments and companies to boost production by 40%
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports the immediate health risk to most Americans is low
  • NIH reports widespread transmission of the virus in the U.S. is likely
  • Washington, Florida, California and Hawaii have declared public health emergencies

Coronavirus impact in Ohio

  • Ohio held a coronavirus summit to prepare for potential cases of the virus locally
  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine joined 38 governors in sending a letter to Congressional leaders in support of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, urging the Senate to pass it quickly
  • Businesses in Cleveland’s Asiatown say they’ve seen up to a 50% decrease in customers since outbreak
  • Summa Health has opened a call center to field questions about the virus
  • Local election boards are evaluating options for potential changes at polling locations for Ohio’s primary

You can continue to educate yourself on the virus through reputable sources, such as the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the Ohio Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FOX 8 will also have all the latest coronavirus information on-air, online and on our FOX 8 News app.


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