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Coronavirus Questions? Ohio Launches Hotline To Keep Residents Informed

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks before signing his first executive action alongside his wife Fran, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Cedarville, Ohio. The former U.S. senator took his oath in a private midnight ceremony at his Cedarville home.
John Minchillo

The state has opened a call center for anyone who has questions about the potential spread of coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. The call center number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634.

That call center will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. State officials say that keeping people informed and prepared are vital in handling what they see as an imminent outbreak of the virus.

Ohio announced on Monday that three cases of coronavirus have been identified in the state.

Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, says that the state is staying prepared by performing "contact tracing." This is where epidemiologists, which Acton refers to as disease detectives, meet with people under investigation for possible COVID-19.

"We investigate, the disease detectives go to everyone they were ever in contact with,” Acton says. “They do a history on folks that is way more detailed than you ever get going to the doctors these days.”

If a test comes back positive for COVID-19, and that person came into contact with a large group of people, such as attending a concert or seeing a movie, then the state would release that information. Acton says they hope to still protect people's identity.

Gov. Mike DeWine held a summit on COVID-19 on Thursday, which brought about 300 public health officials and community leaders to Columbus to discuss best practices when addressing and preparing for coronavirus.

The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands. 
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. 
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.