CELINA– As of March 15, 2020, there are 37 confirmed cases and 361 persons under investigation in the State of Ohio. The Mercer County Health District (MCHD) does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county.

COVID-19 is twice contagious and deadlier than the flu. According to the Ohio Department of Health, public health experts have estimated up to 1% of the population could be infected after identifying multiple cases of community spread of coronavirus. The estimates consider that:

•    Testing is limited.

•    Most individuals that have the disease are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

•    The incubation period can be up to 14 days, so people are incubating the illness and aren’t showing symptoms.

•    We know that this virus is highly transmissible.

Significant measures have been taken to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. By doing this, these measures will slow the spread of the virus and will reduce the impact on our healthcare system. Last week, Ohio schools were ordered to close at the end of the day on Monday, March 16, and mass gatherings were banned. Also, Governor DeWine strongly encouraged parents to find alternate plans for their kids in daycares.

As of March 15, 2020, the Director of Ohio Department of Health, Amy Acton, MD, MPH, signed an order closing down bars and restaurants beginning at 9:00 PM tonight. Food delivery and carry-out are still encouraged.

If you feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), there are things you can do at home. Mildly ill patients are encouraged to stay home and contact their healthcare provider by phone for guidance. Patients need to be vigilant in monitoring symptoms and reach out to a healthcare provider if symptoms worsen. Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Please do not go to the emergency room or urgent care unless you have already communicated with your healthcare provider and called ahead.

MCHD encourages you to be kind to each other during this difficult time. We’re all in this together. Information continues to change rapidly. The MCHD is working diligently to keep you informed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Mercer County Health District at 419-586-3251.