On Monday, after confirming three positive test results of coronavirus COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County, Governor Mike DeWine issued a state of emergency across Ohio—but what exactly does that mean?
The state of emergency was declared in order to allow state departments and agencies to better coordinate in their response to the coronavirus cases.
The state of emergency allows Ohio departments and agencies to suspend the purchasing and contracting of certain supplies or services in order for state agencies participating in emergency assistance to procure any necessary resources or supplies to treat and contain COVID-19 in Ohio.
Under the state of emergency, the Ohio Department of Health will create and require the use of diagnostic and treatment guidelines for health care providers and institutions to implement and follow.
If necessary, the state of emergency allows the Ohio Department of Health to issue guidelines from private businesses regarding work and travel restrictions.
All Ohio citizens are urged to follow the advice from the Ohio Department of Health and other emergency officials to protect the health and safety of themselves and those around them.
The state of emergency took effect Monday and remains in place until DeWine and state officials deem the emergency to no longer exist.
To read the full executive order, click here.
An extensive investigation has been initiated to find and observe those who have been in direct contact with the three confirmed cases, according to DeWine.
The World Health Organization confirmed the death rate for the novel coronavirus is about 3% - higher than that of the average flu strain. The organization also said that while the disease does not spread as quickly as the average flu, because the viral strain is so new, it still poses an issue due to lack of immunity built up in humans.
The vast majority of COVD-19 cases remain in mainland China, where more than 80,000 people have been infected with the virus. South Korea (more than 6,000), Iran (more than 4,000) and Italy (more than 3,000) remain hot spots for the disease.
In the U.S., at least 236 people have contracted COVID-19 — the majority on the west coast. Fourteen people have died as a result of the disease — 13 in Washington state, and one in California.