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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

NKY Confirms First Case Of COVID-19

Roebling Bridge

Updated 7:16 p.m.

A 66-year-old Kenton County woman is Northern Kentucky's first confirmed case of COVID-19, health department officials announced Wednesday. The individual is in isolation at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Ft. Thomas. 

"Part of our preparations for dealing with patients with COVID-19, we have special units set up across our system that have the appropriate type of negative air flow that is required for care for these patients at this time," Dr. Larry Kendall, senior vice president and chief medical officer of medical services at Saint Elizabeth Health Care, said during a virtual conference call Wednesday night.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department is investigating the case to find out the travel history of the patient and who she may have been in contact with. 

"We need to take COVID-19 seriously and not panic," said Dr. Lynn  Saddler, district director of health. "We have been planning for the possibility of cases here in Northern Kentucky. All of us must do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by frequently washing our hands; avoiding touching our eyes, nose and mouth; avoiding close contact with ill people; covering coughs and sneezes properly; and staying home when we are sick." 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing. The health department advises those who think they may be infected to call their health care provider before going to a doctor's office or emergency room. This will help stop the spread of the disease. 

Meanwhile across the river, eight people in Butler County have tested positive for the virus and the city of Cincinnati is currently waiting for the results of 11 people who have been tested at the city's health clinics. Local hospitals are also awaiting test results for people they have screened.

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.