Ohio takes proactive coronavirus tracking step

The resident wear masks to buy vegetables in the market on Wednesday in Wuhan, China. Flights, trains and public transport including buses, subway and ferry services have been temporarily closed and officials have asked residents told to stay in town in order to help stop the outbreak of a strain of coronavirus that has killed 17 people and infected over 500 in places as far away as the United States. This week marks the start of Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, the busiest season for Chinese travellers. (Getty Images/TNS)

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The resident wear masks to buy vegetables in the market on Wednesday in Wuhan, China. Flights, trains and public transport including buses, subway and ferry services have been temporarily closed and officials have asked residents told to stay in town in order to help stop the outbreak of a strain of coronavirus that has killed 17 people and infected over 500 in places as far away as the United States. This week marks the start of Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, the busiest season for Chinese travellers. (Getty Images/TNS)

Ohio Department of Health declared novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) an immediately reportable disease, taking a proactive step to ensure appropriate reporting of suspected cases, should the need arise in Ohio.

No cases have been reported in Ohio to date. The risk to the American public from the virus remains low.

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A case has been reported in Washington state.

Classifying a disease as Class A means that confirmed or suspected cases of the virus must be reported immediately to the local health district where the person lives (or the local health district where the person is being evaluated if the person’s residence is unknown or not in Ohio).

Required reporters include physicians providing care, administrators in charge of hospitals, clinics or other institutions providing care or treatment, laboratory administrators, or any individual having knowledge of a person with the virus.

What is 2019-nCoV?

An outbreak of 2019-nCoV started in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December.

Chinese authorities are reporting an ongoing spread of the virus in the community and so far more than 830 individuals are ill and 25 people have died. As families prepare to celebrate Chinese/Lunar New Year this week, multiple international travel advisories have been issued to help curb the spread of the illness.

2019-nCoV is part of a large family of coronaviruses, some of which cause illness in people and others that circulate among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. This happened with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2014, and now 2019-nCoV. These viruses may cause mild to severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Just as with influenza and other illnesses, Ohio Department of Health recommend these tips:

• Practice good hand hygiene.

• Follow appropriate cough and sneeze etiquette.

• Don’t go to work or school when you feel ill. Stay home and rest.

• Avoid exposure to others who are sick.

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