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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.

Hamilton County Reports First COVID-19 Deaths

Courtesy of Ohio State University

Hamilton County Public Health reports two patients have died after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The patients were men, one in his 60s and the other in his 50s. Both had underlying health conditions and it's unknown how they acquired COVID-19, the agency says.

"On behalf of all of Hamilton County, we express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the patients who died," says Greg Kesterman, interim Hamilton County health commissioner in a statement. "We are heartbroken and we extend our sympathies and support to all in Hamilton County and Ohio who are battling this illness. We will not release any identifiable information about the patients to respect privacy."

Kesterman says Hamilton County Public Health is reaching out to known contacts of people with COVID-19 to help prevent spread.

He reminded people to continue following precautions and stay home as much as possible.

"Staying at home and social distancing if you must go out are already having an effect on flattening the curve."

Hamilton County Public Health issues these directives to prevent spread:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow

Ohioans can also call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 hotline with any questions or visit or The call center is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.