Coronavirus ‘not going away,’ health commissioner says

As the state and community works toward reopening the economy next month, a spike in new coronavirus cases will be expected.

“We have to recognize that the COVID-19 virus will continue to circulate. It’s not going away,” Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper of Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County said Tuesday during an update on the coronavirus situation.

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Ohio and the community has made great progress in flattening the curve, but Cooper said it will be like a roller coaster.

“We should all understand that social distancing will be with us for the future,” he said.

With the virus, there also is uncertainly regarding immunity for those who recover. There is no vaccine and no antiviral treatment other than supportive care for those who become sick.

The virus spreads through coughing and sneezing, and new data shows even through talking the virus can be shed.

“We all need to be more comfortable with the concept we’ve been talking about, wearing cloth face masks. ... This is going to be our new reality,” Cooper said.

Children younger than 2 should not be wearing a face mask, nor should someone with breathing difficulties, he said.

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“That cloth face mask can help us not spread the virus as much to other individuals,” Cooper said, adding that “it’s not a replacement for social distancing and it’s never a replacement for hand-washing.”

Dr. Michael Dohn, health department medical director, spoke on contact tracing.

The county is notified of positive cases. There are 30 employees who work on the contact tracing, talking to the person who is sick and the people with whom they have had contact.

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The infected person goes into isolation, and those who may have been exposed go into a 14-day quarantine, Dohn said.

“The idea behind it is to separate the virus from other people,” he said.

In Montgomery County, there are 237 cases with 78 hospitalizations and eight deaths, according to Ohio Department of Health data.

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