• PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGE

    Dear Business Partners:   Public health is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (2019nCoV) that developed in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019. Human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus has been verified, but is limited in the United States. As a part of the response to this situation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided quarantine guidance for people recently returning from China, which we are sharing with the understanding that your company may have employees and associates who recently traveled there.  
    As of February 2, 2020 at 5 p.m. ET, there will be a mandatory 14-day quarantine of individuals returning from Hubei Province, China, taking place at the port of entry to the United States.  
    Those who travel from all other areas of China will be required to self-quarantine and self-monitor for fever and respiratory illness for 14 days after departure from China. Public health will be in contact with travelers returning to Ohio from China upon notification from the Ohio Department of Health.  
     
    Travelers from anywhere in China, including Hubei Province, who arrived prior to February 2, 2020 at 5 p.m. ET, are advised to self-monitor for fever and respiratory illness. If symptoms develop within 14 days of leaving China, they should avoid contact with others, and call their health care provider to tell them about their symptoms and recent travel.  
     
    As of February 3, 2020, there are 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States; 260 persons under investigation have been identified in 36 states. There are currently no persons under investigation and zero confirmed cases in Ohio.   

    Please note that the CDC does not recommend any additional precautions for the general public at this time beyond the usual steps that everyone should always take to prevent illness and stay healthy (such as proper hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with your arm, and avoiding exposure to others who are sick). The CDC continues to stress that risk is low for the general public.    People feeling at risk can sometimes react out of fear in a way that unfairly singles out others, causing them emotional pain and embarrassment. Let’s fight this new public health concern with compassion and science, and with the understanding that you cannot tell if someone has a risk for spreading coronavirus by what they look like. It is important for us all to remember our commitment to treating everyone with a sense of dignity and respect. 
     
    We also ask employers to be flexible in allowing employees who fit these criteria to work from home or take time off. We know from previous infectious disease cases that this type of approach works and can 
    dramatically reduce the spread of disease.    Public health will continue to closely monitor this rapidly changing situation and will provide further guidance as we receive state and federal updates. Public health continues to work with healthcare providers to ensure state and federal guidelines are communicated.   For additional information about coronavirus, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.  

    For questions: 
    Columbus Public Health, Leslie diDonato at ljdidonato@columbus.gov; 
    Franklin County Public Health, Mitzi Kline at mitzikline@franklincountyohio.gov; 
    Delaware General Health District, Traci Whittaker at twhittaker@delawarehealth.org; 
    Licking County Health Department, Olivia Biggs at obiggs@lickingcohealth.org; 
    Union County Health Department, Mary Merriman at mary.merriman@uchd.net