ZANESVILLE, Ohio – The Muskingum County Joint Unified Command Center is reporting the first positive Coronavirus case in the county. There are also 20 county residents in quarantine.
The command center held a press conference at noon Thursday.
The command says the patient is a 48-years-old man who recently traveled out-of-state. He is a Muskingum County resident. The Zanesville Muskingum County Health Department says he is being treated in the intensive care unit. No further information on his identity will be released.
Disease Specialist for Genesis Hospital Dr. Jegnesh Modi, MD says they have been preparing for an influx of patients.
“There have been a lot of efforts put in place to prepare for this day. We knew this day was coming. There will be other patients. We have implemented quite a few steps in the hospital from the day — from the minute that you hit the door, we have screening in place to find out if a person is at risk to put that person in isolation — from the get-go. And I can say proudly with this patient those steps were taken and taken appropriately.”
The command center also announced 20 Muskingum County residents are currently under quarantine. The residents were exposed to someone who has tested positive to the virus in Coshocton County. However, the residents have not tested positive for the virus.
Director of the Zanesville Muskingum County Health Department Dr. Jack Butterfield says there is a group of workers in charge of contacting people who were in contact with infected people.
“We have an epidemiology team at the health department that has very specific and very stringent and aggressive proticals to follow to do case tracking. We have a team of people that are doing that — making the calls and tracking down everyone that we can that’s been in contact with this patient over the last few weeks.”
Butterfield says it’s important to practice social distancing and to follow Governor Mike DeWine’s “Stay at Home” Order because some people may display no symptoms while carrying the virus.
“We knew today was coming and the other important thing is there are going to be more cases. COVID-19 disease is spread through person-to-person contact. Social distancing, at least 6-feet from others in the public. Why is that? The majority of respiratory droplets from an infected person when they are breathig or coughing will not reach you if you are 6-feet away or more from an infected person.”
Other practices to prevent spread of COVID-19 include:
- Stay at home if you are sick and if someone in your household is diagnosed with Coronavirus, everyone in the household should quarantine themselves for 14 days.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
- Do not share food.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm or tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Ask your employer about working from home.
He also addressed businesses that have not closed and are considered essential. He says the safety of workers’ is at risk.
“I’m also putting out a plea to our businesses. We have essential businesses and other businesses that are very important but at this time — not essential. If you are not an essential business, as defined in the governor’s order, please consider stopping your work. Your workers are potentially exposed. If you are an essential business, I’m asking you to please practice social distancing for the protection of your employees who are providing the vital work that our infrastructure needs.”
He says employees who may feel their business is not essential or their workplace is not following proper guidelines should call the health department at 740-454-9741.
The command center says if you have coronavirus-like symptoms to call your doctor or the Genesis On-Demand Virtual Screening Telemedicine Clinic at 740-297-8610. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For more information about COVID-19, go to the Ohio Department of Health website. You can also call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. everyday.
For more information from the Muskingum County Health Department, go to their website.