Coronarviruses are a group of viruses that are actually very common and have been around for a long time. The “common cold” comes from this family of viruses with familiar symptoms like runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever. In more severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia or bronchitis.

Like the “common cold” these viruses are spread from person to person through uncovered coughs, sneezes or by touching surface where the virus is present and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. 

The “novel” strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain that causes illness ranging in symptoms from mild to severe or in some cases, fatal. 

To better understand the coronavirus and how it is spread, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.




What do I do if I have been exposed and have symptoms?

Please contact your healthcare provider immediately if you exhibit respiratory symptoms and have recently  had close contact with a person who is under investigation for COVID-19 while that person was ill. If you believe you have been exposed and have symptoms: 

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.


How can I protect myself?

There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

For more information about hand washing, see CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives!

Learn more about coronavirus prevention from the Ohio Department of Health website


Guidance for Travelers 

Visit the CDC’s travel guidance website for coronavirus information for travelers. 

Students traveling during spring break can view the CDC’s Spring Break Travel Guide for valuable information. 


Additional Resources

Ohio Department of Health Call Center

The Ohio Department of Health has opened a call center to answer questions about COVID-19. The call center is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or (833) 427-5634.