Monday Update: Ohio Has Major Jump in Deaths, Stark County Now Has 100+ Cases

COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – After taking a day off for the first time in nearly a month, Governor Mike DeWine along with other state leaders and health officials spoke in Columbus this afternoon, providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio. Here is a full outline on everything that was discussed.

Update on Cases

The Buckeye State sees its biggest leap in fatalities. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reports that 142 people have now died from the coronavirus. Ohio has 4,450 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

1,214 Ohioans have been hospitalized; 371 have been admitted into the intensive care unit. 31 counties in Ohio have at least one fatality. Ohio has tested more than 48,000 people for COVID-19 so far.

Here is a graphic that breaks down the COVID-19 deaths in Ohio,

Two More Deaths in Stark County

Two more residents in Stark County have died from COVID-19. The Stark County Health Department tells WHBC News that both of the recent fatalities were residents from Lexington Township. The first was a male at the age of 81, while the second was a female, age 84.

Stark County’s death total now sits at seven. The county has 109 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 22 people have been hospitalized.

New Stay at Home Order Starts Tonight

Tonight at midnight, the requirements for the new Stay Home Ohio order begin. There are new requirements for retailers in this order, including determining a maximum number of customers allowed in the store to account for proper physical distancing.

The number of customers allowed must also be listed. Governor DeWine congratulated businesses that have already started doing this.

“Some stores are only doing one direction per aisle,” DeWine said. “This is a great idea that helps. Some retailers are also cleaning off carts and baskets.”

You can view the amended Stay Home Ohio order right here. 

Additional Hospital Spaces to Open in Ohio

Major hospitals and medical systems have put plans in place for expanding their capacity within their own facilities, or have collaborated on facilities. The state has also been building a plan to expand health care at alternative sites.

Representatives from health care systems, local governments, county emergency management agencies, state agencies, the Ohio National Guard, among others, have teamed up in regions of the state to look at buildings that can support large numbers of patients.

After visiting various locations and assessing for things, such as distance to an existing hospital, conditions safe for patients and health care professionals, and space to meet the region’s expected needs, the following sites have been selected:

  • Seagate Convention Center, Lucas County
  • Case Western University’s Health Education Campus, Cuyahoga County
  • Dayton Convention Center, Montgomery County
  • Covelli Convention Ctr, Mahoning County
  • Duke Energy Convention Ctr, Hamilton County
  • Greater Columbus Convention Ctr, Franklin County

There are currently no additional medical locations approved in Stark County at this time. DeWine says assessments of other sites will continue, as the state looks for additional space, should it be needed.

Health care regions in southern and southeastern Ohio have determined the existing hospital facilities in their areas will, with additional equipment, be able to handle the surge in patients without going to an off-site location.

Looking for More Medical Equipment

As Ohio continues to move through this crisis, DeWine says his administration is working to ensure that the state’s health care workers have the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they need.

“If we can find it in the marketplace, we’re going to buy it,” said DeWine. “If we can’t buy it, we’re going to make it or re-purpose it.”

Governor DeWine added that the efforts to strengthen Ohio’s manufacturing sector will help the state both today and in the future.

Once Ohio has its supplies, DeWine says the state is going to use technology and innovation to identify ways to make everything last. The Governor used the Battelle mask cleaning technology as an example.

Ohio has had at least 1400 Ohio manufacturing companies who have responded to the state’s call to try and help in this crisis. The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance reaches out to each company to find out where they fit into our strategy.

Ohio Staying at Home

This weekend the New York Times released a map that shows what areas in the United States are doing the best when it comes to staying at home. Lt. Governor Jon Husted mentioned the graphic this afternoon, saying he was proud of how Ohio’s efforts were displayed.

OH National Guard to Help with Federal Prison Issue

Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County has had a COVID-19 outbreak within the facility. This is a federal, not state facility. Seven inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 – but we also know that dozens more have shown symptoms, some very serious. Three have died.

The prison’s medical staffing right now is at 50%. For every 1 federal inmate at the hospital, they need 2 federal guards standing watch.

Governor DeWine clarified that this prison is not a state facility. However, he noted that this prison is in Ohio.

“Ohio citizens work there,” said DeWine. “Their families live here. When an inmate gets sick, they are transferred to local hospitals with Ohio doctors and nurses.”

Today Governor DeWine authorized the Ohio National Guard to go into Elkton prison to assist. This is limited in duration and scope. Right now the plan is to go into the prison for 7-10 days until more federal assistance arrives.

“We have an advance team from the guard there today, and we are prepared to send at least 26 guardsmen and women to the prison to help in the Elkton infirmary,” said DeWine. “This is a medical mission only. The guard members will not be armed and they will not be providing security.”

The soldiers will be there to assist with non-COVID cases, as well as with those who are showing symptoms of this highly contagious, deadly disease.

These soldiers, who all work in the medical field, will have N-95 respirators for protection while they work to augment the current prison medical staff. They will treat those they can while trialing others with serious symptoms for hospital care.

DeWine added that the Ohio National Guard also stands ready to help with transporting the seriously ill patients to the hospital in the event of a surge. In addition to the staff, the guard will be bringing equipment and ambulances with them as well.

The Governor has also made a plea to both the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to stop prisoner intake at this facility.

More Jobs!

There are over 29,000 open jobs listed on the state’s COVID-19 job search website. Lt. Governor Jon Husted says these are great opportunities to pitch in and help the team of people trying to deliver the services we all need.

A Big Surge is Coming Soon

Dr. Amy Acton with the ODH says Ohioan’s social distancing efforts are helping. However, she says that now is not the time to ease off.

“We need to double the hospital capacity to handle the upcoming surge,” said Acton. “Our social distancing has absolutely had an impact. This is going to be a hard week, and we have a couple hard weeks ahead. But we can’t let up. The moment we let up it will all unravel.”

Acton added that she doesn’t think this is our peak week.

“I think our peak will be further out,” said Acton. “What we’re doing today is contributing to controlling the surge. Don’t give up. Our ability to control this storm is in our hands. A huge part of it is what we are doing collectively.”