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Coronavirus In Ohio: First COVID-19 Deaths Confirmed In Franklin County

The laboratory test kit used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The laboratory test kit used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

The first coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed in Franklin County.

Franklin County Public Health reported Monday that the first victim was an 84-year-old woman, who has not been named. There are currently 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County.

"Unfortunately, this is a stark reminder that every resident needs to continue to do their part to slow the spread of this illness," said health commissioner Joe Mazzola in a statement.

An 85-year-old Columbus resident also died from COVID-19, but Columbus Public Health reports he became ill outside of the city and died after being hospitalized in Minnesota.

Across Ohio, six people have now died from COVID-19, which is double the number reported Sunday. Cuyahoga, Erie, Lucas and Stark counties have seen one death each. Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton said that more deaths are still being investigated.

The department says 442 cases of the coronavirus have been identified in 46 counties, with 104 hospitalizations. The youngest patient is an infant under 1 years of age, and the oldest patient is aged 91.

"We are clearly moving up our curve" of coronavirus cases, Acton said Monday. She added that the state's testing ability remains limited.

Stay At Home

At Monday's press conference, Acton and Gov. Mike DeWine reiterated the reasoning behind the "stay at home" order announced over the weekend.

"We don't want to waste a single day that we have to be ahead of the curve," Acton said.

The order, set to take effect Monday night at 11:59 p.m., closes all but essential businesses – which include restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and hardware stores. People can leave their homes to conduct essential activities for health and safety reasons, take care of family members and neighborhoods, and for outside exercise.

Acton said that Ohio needs to keep people at home and stop the spread of disease while it builds up its health care capacity.

Violating the stay-at-home order qualifies as a second-degree misdemeanor, and can be enforced by local police, sheriffs or health departments. However, DeWine says he hopes individuals and businesses choose on their own to obey the order.

"We're not looking for a lot of arrests," DeWine said. "We're not looking for citations to be issued."

Restrictions on daycares, long promised by the governor, are set to go into effect Thursday. DeWine explained that providers must have a temporary special license from the state, and will prioritize slots for the families of health care employees, first responders, and other essential workers.

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.

Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.