Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday the state will issue an order banning mass gatherings, including sporting events.
"The reason we're doing the things we're doing is we have the potential of becoming Italy," DeWine said of the coronavirus precautions, according to The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Italy is among the countries hit hardest by the outbreak.
The Blue Jackets will close all games to the public beginning with Thursday's contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team announced Wednesday. Admission will be limited to home and visiting club personnel, credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff, and NHL officials.
The NCAA announced later Wednesday that its entire men's and women's basketball tournaments will be played without fans present.
DeWine declared a state of emergency in Ohio on Monday. So far, four cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, have been reported in the state.
"This seems difficult for people," DeWine, a Republican, said. "But we know what's coming. We know what's around the corner. ... Everything looks the same, but it's really not."