CLEVELAND — If you were delaying getting your mail or decided to skip it altogether due to fears of being infected by coronavirus, the U.S. Postal Service made an announcement on Tuesday that should set your mind at ease.
“The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low,” the USPS posted on its website, citing the World Health Organization.
The Postal Service states that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is currently no evidence to support transmission of coronavirus associated with imported goods. It also says that there is likely a “very low risk that COVID-19 can be spread from products or packaging shipped from China because of poor survivability of coronavirus on surfaces.”
It's not just for packages that you really needn't be concerned, but for all mail, according to the USPS.
USPS officials say that the agency is continuing to monitor the current situation with coronavirus and is making sure that its employees are informed and up to date through stand-up talks, news articles, messages on bulletin boards and internal messaging.
So far, postal workers say that the agency has only had “minor operational impacts” due to the pandemic.
The Postal Service provides “an essential service for purposes of its compliance with state or municipality shelter-in-place orders or other social distancing restrictions,” according to its website.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Below you can find information and resources on novel coronavirus, COVID-19, from local, state, national and international organizations, including the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the Ohio Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
News 5 will continue to update this section with new information, resources, links, and more as it is made available.
COVID-19/2019 Novel Coronavirus Overview from the CDC:
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Can people in the U.S. get COVID-19? Yes. COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in parts of the United States. Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, for example healthcare workers, or household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Learn more about places with ongoing spread here.
Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.? Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage here.
How does COVID-19 spread? The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses here.
Download and read the CDC's full "What you need to know about coronavirus disease (COVID-19)" information sheet here.
Global case numbers are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report.
Coronavirus in Ohio:
As of Monday, March 16, there were 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ohio. Cuyahoga County remains the county with the highest number of cases in the state with 24. There are 6 in Butler, 2 in Belmont, 3 in Franklin, 1 in Geauga, 3 in Lorain, 1 in Lucas, 1 in Medina, 3 in Stark, 2 in Summit, 2 in Trumbull and 1 in Tuscarawas.
ODH Director Amy Acton revealed that their department believes that at least 100,000 Ohioans are currently carrying the disease, a claim that has made national headlines.
Since Wednesday, March 11, Governor Mike DeWine has issued the following orders:
-A limit on visits to nursing homes and an order to hold sporting events without spectators. Since that time, almost all professional, college and high school sporting events have cancelled, and DeWine issued an order restricting all visitors to nursing homes and assisted care facilities, with exemptions for end-of-life care.
-A prohibition on "mass gatherings" of over 100 people. Another order on March 16 reduced gathering size to 50 people, per the CDC's current guidance.
-An order to close all Ohio K-12 schools for three weeks beginning at the end of the school day on Monday, March 16.
-On March 13, DeWine announced several new steps the state is taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus and provide relief to Ohio's residents, including an order stopping visitations at county jails, providing free breakfasts and lunches to Ohio's K-12 students, and a request to the Trump administration for regulatory and other relief as necessary.
-On March 15, DeWine ordered that all bars and restaurants in Ohio close, and serve customers through carry-out and delivery only.
-On March 16, DeWine announced his recommendation that the Primary Election on March 17 be postponed to June 2, and that mail-in absentee voting be extended. Secretary of State Frank LaRose supported the recommendation. A lawsuit was filed but rejected by Franklin County Judge Richard Frye. Mere hours before polls would have opened, Ohio Dept. of Health Director Amy Acton ordered the polls closed as a public health emergency.
Coronavirus' Impacts in Northeast Ohio:
Since the announcement of confirmed cases in Ohio, a number of local events, schools, facilities and more have announced closures, cancellations, postponements and changes as a result of coronavirus. News 5 is working to keep this information updated in the links below:
More resources from News 5 and affiliates:
The symptoms of coronavirus are fever and lower respiratory tract issues, such as cough and shortness of breath, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
Anyone traveling internationally should review plans in advance of their trip, and check the CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Information Page for daily updates and travel alerts.
Practice Good Hygiene
The CCBH recommends the following good hygiene practices to prevent coronavirus, as well as the flu, colds and other illnesses:
Sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow to keep germs from spreading
Regularly wash your hands with soap and water/use alcohol-based hand sanitizer in between
Don’t share cups, spoons, forks, etc. with anyone
Don’t make food for anyone if you are sick
Don’t go to work or school if you are sick
Visit a doctor, urgent care or emergency department if you are sick – don’t take chances
Please contact your medical provider with any questions.
Guidance for those with compromised immune systems
Cuyahoga County: See the CCBH page on coronavirus here.
Ohio Department of Health:
It is updated daily at 2 p.m. with the current number of confirmed cases, persons under investigation and persons under investigation who tested negative for the disease.
More resources from ODH:
Ohio Secretary of State:
Corona Facts: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has launched a web page dedicated to providing facts about coronavirus' impacts on voting and the Primary Election in Ohio.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization