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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 Health Dept. 'Cautiously Optimistic' About COVID-19

Courtesy of
Hamilton County Health Department
Map of current COVID-10 testing locations in Hamilton County.

Hamilton County's interim public health director said he remains cautiously optimistic as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Greg Kesterman spoke to reporters during a county briefing Wednesday morning.

"I've been very nervous with all of the people gathering downtown as well as with all of the gatherings associated with Memorial Day," Kesterman said. "We are now just two-and-a-half weeks past Memorial Day and we've yet to see a spike, which I think is very good news."

Kesterman said there's also good news when reviewing state and local data on the virus. Those include numbers on total cases, ICU admissions and deaths.

"And I think the thing that strikes me the most when looking at this data is those trends remain fairly flat," Kesterman said. "They do jump at moments and decrease at other moments, but overall over the course of the last 21 days we've not seen anything alarming in this data."

Kesterman also said the disease's reproductive number in Hamilton County is not concerning right now.    

The reproductive number is intended to be an indicator of the contagiousness or transmissibility of infectious disease. Kesterman said an outbreak is expected to continue if the reproductive number is greater than one. When the reproductive number goes below one, an outbreak will start to die down.

Two weeks ago, that number was 1.22, last week it was 0.74 and it's currently 0.87.

"A slight increase from last week, but once again nothing concerning," Kesterman said. "These values do go up and come down as time goes on."

The health department's websitehas now added a list and a map of COVID-19 testing locations in the county.  If you click on a particular site, you'll find directions and requirements for testing at that site.

The department said, "testing and then isolating positive cases while performing extensive contact tracing is the roadmap to ending this pandemic."

Kesterman also said Wednesday the department is getting about a dozen complaints a day concerning local businesses not following safety guidelines related to the virus. Most of those complaints are related to businesses not following social distancing requirement and employees not wearing masks when they should be.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.