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SSU student does not have coronavirus

The results of a Shawnee State University students suspected of having the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease has come back negative and the student does not the coronavirus.

On Wednesday morning, Dr. David Byers, the medical director of the Portsmouth Health Department announced that they had gotten the results from Lab Corp on the COVID-19 test and the result was negative.

The student was one of three who had returned from a trip to Israel during spring break and reported unexplained respiratory concerns on Monday. They were quarantined off campus under the supervision of the Portsmouth Health Department.

SSU said that “the three students had minimal contact with others upon return. The city health department interviewed everyone they came in contact with and a few individuals self-quarantined as a precautionary measure.”

The school said that the risk of contracting the virus from the students was extremely low.

Byers said that for most of the public the threat of getting the coronavirus is considered low.

There have been no possible cases reported in Lawrence County.

The Associated Press reported that across the state, three people have tested positive for coronavirus and that Ohio is currently testing 15 people who have shown symptoms of respiratory distress and has cleared another 14 people through testing.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to do so.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said that he and Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton have recommended that large, indoor gatherings be canceled or postponed due to the potential for coronavirus exposure.

“After consulting with experts, we know that the decisions we make in the next few days and weeks will determine how many lives are lost in Ohio and how long this pandemic will last. Therefore, I’m recommending that Ohio limits a variety of large gatherings in order to protect public health,” DeWine said.

That directive includes state employees being directed to not attend as many events and has led to the cancellation of at least one local event.

A session on getting a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ohio EPA for dredging and filling projects was scheduled for Tuesday at the Joint Response Operations Center in Coal Grove. It was cancelled because the Ohio EPA staff has been requested to cancel or postpone large gatherings unless they are “mission critical.”

And the annual Lawrence County DD Chili Fest, which was scheduled for Saturday has been postponed until a later date because of concerns about the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Ohio University president M. Duane Nellis announced that the school was suspending all in-person instruction at all campuses and would be moving to a virtual instruction environment until at least March 30. And all students who travelled on spring break were told to not return to campus unless they got prior authorization from the school.

Health officials have several basic recommendations for preventing the spread of viruses of all types:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The Ohio Department of Health has opened a call center to answer questions regarding coronavirus and give updates about the risk in Ohio. Licensed nurses and infectious disease experts are available to answer questions seven days a week from 9 a.m.–8 p.m. at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).