What is the new coronavirus?

Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS/CDC.gov

Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS/CDC.gov

The disease at the center of the outbreak, COVID-19, is part of a large family of different coronaviruses that may cause mild to severe respiratory illnesses.

Many people have had some type of coronavirus in their life, such as the common cold.

Sometimes a novel — or a new type — of coronavirus starts to circulate among people.

This happened with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2014, and now COVID-19, which started spreading in December.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton has said COVID-19 symptoms, which generally appear two to 14 days after exposure, include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Most people who become sick do not require hospitalization, but older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and people with compromised immune systems have been more likely to require more advanced care.

Health officials are continuing to learn more about the new disease and the outbreak.

How to get information

An Ohio call center will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Call center staff includes licensed nurses and infectious disease experts. They will be available to answer questions and provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, and the state’s response.

The number of potential cases and the results of testing are regularly updated every weekday at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The website also has more information on prevention and preparedness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has an extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions, sorted by category, at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov. The CDC also regularly posts the latest news on COVID-19 on the website.

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