COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton held news conference on the coronavirus outbreak at 2 p.m. Monday.
As of Monday, there were 12,919 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state. The Ohio Department of Health said there have been 509 deaths from the virus.
Acton referred back to the St. Louis and Philadelphia comparisons during the flu pandemic of 1918. As the first cases were reported in Philadelphia in September 1918, authorities played down the significance and allowed public gatherings to continue. Closures were only enacted once the virus spread. The first cases in St. Louis were reported in early October with containment measures enacted two days later. St. Louis saw a significantly slower spread and lower mortality rate. Acton said St. Louis even saw bumps in cases along the way.
“We have to slowly go back in a way where when the hot spots occur, you can put them out immediately, and not have to dial back. We’re all working behind the scenes to make schools and businesses safer,” Acton said.
DeWine announced K-12 schools will remain closed through the rest of the school year.
The governor said coronavirus is disproportionately affecting African-Americans so he is creating the Minority Health Strike Force to address it.
DeWine talked about the balance between the public’s right to know and privacy rights. The state cannot release data that is so specific that it can lead to a person’s identity. He said there are limitations to data collection as well.
Data on the health department website is available on: overview of cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county; breakdown of case confirmed by laboratory testing; cases by age and gender; daily cumulative case count and death count; current trends; age range and median age; ICU admissions; percentage of health care workers; forecast modeling of predicted cases; and tests completed for residents at state-owned facilities.
DeWine and Acton spoke from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, instead of the Ohio Statehouse. There were several audio and video issues during the news conference, likely caused by the change in location.