67 confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio; Health officials say ‘surge’ is inevitable

Coronavirus
Data pix.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Governor Mike DeWine and several Ohio officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to update citizens on the status of the coronavirus and the state's response.

He addressed the new coronavirus cases, interventions being implemented across Ohio, the close working relationship with our hospital systems and the state's recommendation to delay the primary election until June 2.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio across 16 counties. 17 people are hospitalized.

Patients range between the ages of 14 and 86 years old. The median age of patients is 48. 26 females and 41 males have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The fatality rate can be 1 in 250.

Number of cases by county:

  • Belmont: 2
  • Butler: 6
  • Coshocton: 2
  • Cuyahoga: 31
  • Darke: 1
  • Franklin: 4
  • Geauga: 1
  • Lake: 1
  • Lorain: 4
  • Lucas: 1
  • Mahoning: 1
  • Medina: 3
  • Stark: 3
  • Summit: 4
  • Trumbull: 2
  • Tuscarawas: 1

Dr. Amy Acton, with the Ohio Department of Health, says at this point "there is no scenario where we don't have a surge." She encourages Ohioans to continue taking precautionary measures in effort to prevent further spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, Governor DeWine has already taken many steps aimed at protecting the health and safety of Ohioans including:

  • Extending spring break for all Ohio schools by 3 weeks
  • Banning gatherings of 100 people or more
  • Closing all restaurants and bars
  • Closing fitness centers, gyms, bowling alleys, public rec centers, movie theaters, indoor water parks, and trampoline parks
  • Postponing in-person voting for Ohio's primary election until June 2

On Tuesday, the Governor also issued an order declaring that elective surgeries and procedures in Ohio's hospitals be postponed in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and first responders.

Surgeries or procedures in Ohio will be delayed unless there is a: 

  • Threat to the patient’s life if surgery or procedure is not performed
  • Threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system
  • Risk of metastasis or progression of staging
  • Risk of rapidly worsening to severe symptoms

Governor DeWine also signed an executive order establishing a temporary pandemic child care license that allows the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to care to families where parents work in the health, safety, and essential service fields during coronavirus outbreak.

The agency will issue temporary pandemic child care licenses to ensure communities have access to child care.

“It is important that professionals who are essential to protecting the public, are able to ensure their families are have safe places to go while they are at work,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Helping to address this need, allows our health and safety providers to focus on protecting and caring for all Ohioans.”

The new temporary pandemic child care centers will operate under reduced regulations focused solely on the health and safety of children.

Pandemic child care center licenses can be granted to already existing child care centers or new child care centers that may be created in response to community needs. For more information visit jfs.ohio.gov. 

These new orders go into effect on Wednesday.

FOX 8 Live Blog (archived):

  • Gov. DeWine says Ohio's goal is that everyone will get the chance to vote and won't have to choose between their health and constitutional right to vote.
  • The decision protects citizens and thousands of poll workers, especially because many people can be asymptomatic and have the virus and not even know it.
  • DeWine wants everyone to vote and wants to everyone "ample time to vote."
  • DeWine says we will be entering a difficult time where more of our citizens will be getting sick.
  • Ohio has extended the absentee ballot program in conjunction with the Secretary of State.
  • "We are open certainly for discussion about how this gets worked out but it is really a simple thing to do." -DeWine
  • Ohio's normal primary would be in May but was pushed to March because it's a presidential election year. DeWine says moving to June 2 gives ample time to hold an election.
  • Ohio has asked dentists, doctors, vets to postpone all elective surgeries.
  • Dr. Acton says timing is everything and that Ohioans will get through this together.
  • Science is changing every day, every hour.
  • Four layers of early, targeted, layered intervention
  • Acton says we have to extend the time of precautions because it slows the curve, peak
  • "There is no scenario now by which we don't have a surge." -Acton
  • Hospitals are working together and had delayed any non-essential procedures. The public should understand that procedures are being delayed not because hospitals are unsafe but because we need to allocate resources to the highest priority cases.
  • Hospitals are regularly pressure-testing their own infrastructure and how to best serve in their communities.
  • Ohio hospitals can safely surge another 25% of people without extreme measures. Most hospitals are currently at 75% capacity.
  • Hospitals are in discussion with local nursing facilities where they may be able to accept a certain number of non-infectious patients to a specific wing in the home. This could provide more hospital services. Some hospitals have reached out to local hotels to do similar measures.
  • Some local areas are considering reopening hospitals that have recently closed if need be.
  • Hospitals are preparing for a surge.
  • Non-elective: surgery that is life-saving, preserves a limb or organ, surgery that limits progression of disease and progression of severe symptoms.
  • Goal: to preserve beds, staff and key equipment used during elective surgery
  • Federal gov. has allocated a certain amount of money for each state to address issue. Ohio has received full allocation. State needs to work together on conservation steps.
  • Unemployment benefits process has been expedited. Ohioans are asked to use online instead of phone number to address unemployment benefits.
  • Employers are considered to send sick employees home. If there is not a paid system, these employees would be eligible for unemployment.
  • Amazon looking to hire 4600 people in Ohio alone.
  • Some states that held elections today saw that many poll workers didn't show up.
  • DeWine is encouraging Ohioans to continue to support restaurants by getting carry out.
  • Ohio is asking that people try to find a way to celebrate their wedding or have a funeral service, but postpone the large gathering/party.
  • Governor says he will be giving legislator a list of things he wants them to consider in addition to election changes.
  • "Schools are doing what they can" and the "focus is to continue learning at this time." - DeWine
  • DeWine says "odds are very heavy" that the school closure will continue.

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