New data shows that the novel coronavirus was present in Ohio as early as January, according to Dr. Amy Acton, director of the state’s health department.
Acton revealed the new data during Monday’s coronavirus briefing, explaining that antibody testing now shows at least five COVID-19 cases in five Ohio counties have a date of symptom onset in January. The earliest one dates back to Jan. 7.
Previous data showed an onset of symptoms as early as February.
The Ohio Department of Health is investigating these cases and looking to see whether they are linked to any recent travel, according to Acton.
As more antibody testing is conducted, Acton said health officials will learn more about how long the virus has been circulating in the Midwestern U.S. state. As of Monday, the state had reported a total of 24,777 cases of COVID-19 with 1,357 deaths and 4,413 hospitalizations.
Meanwhile, retail stories across Ohio were allowed to reopen Tuesday so long as they adhere to the state’s guidelines for social distancing.