Ohio governor orders residents to stay at home amid COVID-19 pandemic

"Today is the day we batten down the hatches."
Posted at 2:56 PM, Mar 22, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The governor of Ohio has ordered residents of the state to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Mike DeWine ordered a "stay at home" directive signed by director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton on Sunday. The order will be effective from 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 23 through April 6, DeWine said.

The order requires all Ohioans to stay home or "shelter in place," with a few exceptions. The order allows people to leave their homes for "essential activities" like going to the grocery, seeking medical services, or seeking any supplies or services deemed "essential," outdoor activity like walks and going to work.

DeWine also announced the order will close any business deemed not essential, based on the Homeland Security's "Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce." Essential businesses allowed to stay open must follow social distancing and disease prevention protocol, including six-foot social distancing, proper hand washing and providing available hand sanitizer for employees and customers.

Restaurants will still be able to offer carry-out orders and delivery services, DeWine said. Childcare facilities can remain open but must limit the number of children in a single room to six.

DeWine also encourages different operating hours for seniors and the medically vulnerable, as well as work-from-home options for employees.

DeWine pointed to the health order document, which is available on the Ohio Department of Health's website, as a "blueprint" of what you're allowed to do under its directive.

In Sunday's press conference, Dr. Amy Acton emphasized the need to take the “stay at home” order seriously.

"Today is the day we batten down the hatches," Acton said. "This is our one shot in this country. We all have to sacrifice. You're heroic when you stay at home."

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).”

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to 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. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.

Click here to learn more about COVID-19 and how to prevent it from spreading.

This story was originally published by staff at WCPO.