Preparation, Awareness Key Components In State Strategy For Coronavirus

Mar 6, 2020

The state has opened a call center for anyone who has questions about the potential spread of coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, while urging people around the state to prepare.

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 keeping people informed and prepared are vital in handling what they see as an imminent outbreak of the virus.

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, says a key way the state is staying prepared is by performing "contact tracing."

This is where epidemiologists, which she 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. They do a history on folks that is way more detailed than you ever get going to the doctors these days," says Acton.

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.