Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
PICTURES FROM RIVER CLEAN SWEEP
About 38 Madison Township volunteers joined Roxanne Mantz and Todd Daniel for the River Clean Sweep on September 18th.
One year after scientists first identified the virus that causes COVID-19, several variations of the virus, which appear to spread more easily and quickly, have emerged. Reports about new variants of the coronavirus across the world have raised many questions for scientists and the world’s leading public health experts. Are these variants more contagious? Are they more dangerous? Will the current vaccines protect against these variations of the virus? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the emerging COVID-19 variants and what we know now.
Is it normal for a virus to mutate?
Yes. All viruses mutate, and new variants of a virus are expected over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, those variants remain. A mutation is a change in an organism’s genetic material. When a virus moves from host to host, not every copy is identical. These small mutations accumulate as the virus is passed on and copied.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is a type of coronavirus, a large family of viruses. Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces. All of the variants have mutations to the spike protein that the virus uses to gain entry to and infect human cells. These proteins help the virus attach to human cells in the nose and other areas and invade the body, causing illness with COVID-19.
New variants of the virus have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic and are common. For example, scientists at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine have discovered variants in Ohio, one of which has become a dominant strain across the Midwest.
Scientists monitor changes in the virus, including changes to the spikes on the surface of the virus. These studies help scientists understand how changes to the virus might affect how it spreads and impacts those who are infected.
If you have questions about how to protect yourself and prepare for COVID-19 in your community, the Ohio Department of Health (OHD) can provide answers.
The ODH coronavirus disease 2019 call center can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). ODH staffers operate the center seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, including weekends.
Call center staff are available to answer questions and provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, the state’s response, and help book COVID-19 vaccine appointments