YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the area continues watching for new cases of COVID-19 Mahoning County health officials say the Valley is now seeing evidence of “community spread” across Ohio.
“We know it’s here, so now let’s all be smart about this and really take the actions that they’re asking us to take,” said county Health Director Ryan Tekac.
At last report, there were seven cases of coronavirus in Mahoning County.
Two people remain hospitalized, and three others have never been hospitalized since their own symptoms are minor.
Specific information on the patients is not being released due to confidentiality — other than that four are men and one is a woman. Their ages range from 41 to 83 years.
Tekac said at this point, there is no real way to compare COVID-19 to the H1N1 outbreak from 10 years ago since the exact numbers worldwide and in this country are not known.
As per Governor Mike DeWine’s recommendations, people should stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel to reduce the spread of the disease.
“Only go out when you need groceries or gas. He’s trying to encourage us as a community to start practicing and truly staying at home if you do not have to go out,” Tekac said.
Tekac said he is aware of the prohibition on “non-life-sustaining” business in Pennsylvania and said places like grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open since they are life-sustaining and that’s expected to continue in both states.
Experts say they’ve also been meeting with local safety forces, reminding them to be careful.
“We’ve spoken with them, and they’re very aware of, like anything else, they need to come upon a situation like it could be a worst-case scenario,” said Susan Kovach, head of emergency preparedness for Mahoning County Public Health.