Ohio State announced more cases of COVID-19 in the community Thursday. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Former Managing Editor for Design

More cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Ohio State community — but the total number will not be shared, University President Michael V. Drake said in an email Thursday. 

Drake announced the first two confirmed cases related to Ohio State in a universitywide email March 18. Since that time there have been additional confirmed cases with Ohio State ties and more that are sure to follow, Drake said in the email.  

However, the university will not publicly confirm or share individual cases of COVID-19 in order to “respect everyone’s medical privacy and ensure the accuracy of information.”

In the email, Drake stressed the continued need for social distancing and exemplary hygiene, such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap throughout the day and after touching surfaces and not touching faces, to prevent the spread. 

“We all must assume we either are carrying the virus and are at risk of exposing others, or that those around us are carrying the virus and are at risk of exposing us,” Drake said in the email. 

At a University Senate meeting Thursday, Drake said the universitywide email announcing the first two COVID-19 cases related to Ohio State was sent out in an attempt to contain any outbreak.

“If you can isolate that case and contain that case — as you might do for a rare disease like syphilis or something else — you say here’s that case, here are the contacts, isolate those, treat them differently and we can sequester the issue,” Drake said in the meeting.

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Drake also said there is no longer a need to announce cases because the virus has already spread throughout Columbus and Ohio.

“We’re past the containment phase and into the mitigation phase,” he said in the meeting.

At the time of publication, there are 867 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, with 223 hospitalizations and 15 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health website. 

There are 108 confirmed cases and 2 deaths in Franklin County, according to the Ohio Department of Health website. 

In the email, Drake recommended people contact their primary care physicians if they are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses.

“By working together in these efforts, we will win,” Drake said in the email.

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