The City of Cincinnati will hold an event Tuesday to update key groups about its preparations for COVID-19, a novel variant of the coronavirus that can cause respiratory illness and, in rare cases, death. The disease, which was first reported in the Wuhan area of China, has spread rapidly to other parts of the world including the U.S.
Cincinnati's summit will be invitation-only for in-person attendance, but the event will be recorded and disseminated on social media.
“This is about bringing all our partners to the table to discuss what we can do collectively to be prepared,” said Cincinnati Health Commissioner Melba Moore. “By preparing as a community we will mitigate the impact of the disease should any cases make their way to the Cincinnati area.”
Representatives from social service providers, community councils, city departments, medical agencies, educational institutions, private businesses and faith groups have been invited to the event.
The summit will cover the preparations the city has already launched over the past several weeks, ways to prevent spread of the disease, how to recognize its symptoms, how to manage available resources and a general overview of the status of COVID-19 in the region.
“The City of Cincinnati has been in regular communications with key stakeholder groups for the last several weeks to help get out in front and prepare for COVID-19,” City Manager Patrick Duhaney said in a statement. “Through planning and regular communication, we are ensuring the City is ready to respond to this public health threat.”
Coronaviruses are a broad category of virus that cause the common cold, among other illnesses. COVID-19 is what scientists call the new "novel" form of the virus — one that hasn't been encountered before and one which epidemiologists do not yet know how to combat.
International health officials say the global mortality rate for COVID-19 is currently hovering around 3.4 percent. But that rate includes the very high proportion of early deaths reported in Wuhan, China — where the virus first made an appearance and where the high number of cases overwhelmed health facilities. Across the rest of China, the death rate is much lower — about .7 percent.
Last week, Hamilton County Health Department officials updated county commissioners about the county's preparedness for COVID-19.
“Public health in Ohio right now is absolutely in mitigation phase,” Interim Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman told county commissioners at that update March 3.