COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton held their daily news conference on the coronavirus outbreak at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, there were 2,547 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, resulting in 65 deaths. The health department said of the 679 hospitalizations, 222 people are in the intensive care unit. There are confirmed cases of the virus in 72 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
On Wednesday, DeWine announced the state’s eight regions were divided into three zones that will work together to deal with capacity and level of care. Zone 1 includes Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Toledo and Lima; Zone 2 includes Columbus and Zanesville; and Zone 3 includes Cincinnati and Dayton. The Ohio National Guard is in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati assessing buildings for the expected surge of hospital patients. Possible structures include the Columbus Convention Center and the Duke Energy Convention Center.
DeWine said the state of Ohio worked with the U.S.D.A. Food and Nutrition Services to allow the most vulnerable to have access of food while keeping their potential exposure to a minimum. Those receiving SNAP benefits can now shop online and pick up their groceries from their cars using the “click and collect” option.
DeWine announced an order from Acton that non-testing hospitals are required to send specimens to the following labs: Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals. The governor said they are much faster than private labs, calling the turnaround of private labs unacceptable for patients.
Acton was asked about a timeline to return to normal after the peak. She said there is a task force to determine how to make that transition and some changes could be permanent since there is no coronavirus vaccine or treatment.
“I wish I could give you hope about your summer, but the truth is if the curve peaks in May, it will be a slow process to get to the end of the curve,” Acton said.
COVID-19 deaths by Ohio county: