COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The governor of Ohio confirmed Monday that three people in the state have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Gov. Mike DeWine said all three patients are in Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located.
This afternoon we learned that three Ohioans have tested positive for #COVID19 . It's important for us to take aggressive action to protect Ohioans, and therefore, I have declared a state of emergency in #Ohio .
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 9, 2020
According to the governor, two of the cases are from a couple that went on a cruise on the Nile River. One of them was hospitalized. The other case is from a person that went to a conference in Washington D.C.
The governor declared a State of Emergency after announcing the cases. An extensive investigation has been initiated to find and observe those who have been in direct contact with the three confirmed cases, according to DeWine.
Worldwide, more than 100,000 people have been infected with the virus and over 3,400 patients have died as a result, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The World Health Organization confirmed the death rate for the novel coronavirus is about 3% - higher than that of the average flu strain. The organization also said that while the disease does not spread as quickly as the average flu, because the viral strain is so new, it still poses an issue due to lack of immunity built up in humans.
The vast majority of COVD-19 cases remain in mainland China, where more than 80,000 people have been infected with the virus. South Korea (more than 6,000), Iran (more than 4,000) and Italy (more than 3,000) remain hot spots for the disease.
In the U.S., at least 236 people have contracted COVID-19 — the majority on the west coast. Fourteen people have died as a result of the disease — 13 in Washington state, and one in California.
Cases of coronavirus were confirmed last week in two states bordering Ohio: Indiana and Pennsylvania.
In Ohio, the Department of Health tested at least eight people for the disease, all of whom came back negative. Before the coronavirus case was confirmed, there were two persons under investigation for disease. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 255 travelers were referred to the Ohio Department of Health for Monitoring, but after completing their self-monitoring period, they were not exhibiting symptoms.
Coronavirus concerns forced Gov. DeWine to impose restrictions on the popular Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus in early March – spectators were not allowed any of the events at the annual fitness and weightlifting festival except eight finals events on Friday night and Saturday.
The Ohio Department of Health has set up a call center to answer your questions regarding coronavirus, or COVID-19. The call center is 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).
This story was originally published by staff at WEWS.