COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – For the third straight weekend, Governor Mike DeWine along with other state leaders and health officials spoke in Columbus on Saturday afternoon, providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio.

Here is an outline on everything that was discussed.

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has reported that six more people have died from COVID-19 bringing the state’s death total to 25. Ohio now has 1,406 confirmed cases. 66 counties have at least one confirmed case.

Here is a graph showing the ages of the 1,406 confirmed cases in Ohio.

344 Ohioans have been hospitalized from the coronavirus, 123 people have been admitted into the intensive care unit. Stark County now has 25 confirmed cases, still just two deaths.

Here is a graph showing the ages of Ohioans who have been hospitalized from COVID-19.

The ODH says that 17% (246) of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio are healthcare workers. Just 3% of confirmed cases (39) are long-term care residents.

Dr. Amy Acton with the ODH says there is currently no accurate number for the total amount of COVID-19 tests given in Ohio.

She encourages Ohio hospitals to report there testing numbers to the state, so health officials can get a greater understanding.

New “Breakthrough” Technology

Battelle Labs has developed new technology to sterilize surgical masks. Governor DeWine says one machine can sterilize up to 80,000 masks a day.

There are currently two machines available to use. The machines must still be approved by the FDA.

DeWine pleaded to the FDA to approve the technology, saying it will not only help the state of Ohio, but other states like New York, Washington, etc. that are being hit hard by the spread of COVID-19.

Order for State Contractors

Governor DeWine issued an order Friday night to his team pertaining to every state contractor with an essential state contract. The state will go out and check that they are following best practices. “They’ve always been subject to this,” DeWine said. “Now we’re going out to make sure.”

Regional Hospital Plans

This morning, hospitals from the eight divided regions of the state of Ohio submitted their draft action plans for their capacity increase. Governor DeWine says the ODH and the Ohio National Guard are currently reviewing the plans and will get back with the hospitals soon.

“The most important thing is that we cannot get through this by each hospital doing its own thing,” said DeWine. “The only way we get through this is by all hospitals in each region having one plan, one voice, and a commitment to work closely together as we move forward.”

Still a need for PPE

Governor DeWine says that Ohio hospitals still have a major need for personal protective equipment.

He asks any factory owners or manufacturers in the state, that are capable of producing any of the following products to help out and provide healthcare workers with the equipment they need.

DeWine says the state is also working to obtain more ventilators. Those who want to help are encouraged to contact the state by emailing: [email protected]

Educational Television

Lt. Governor Jon Husted says with K-12 students at home, Ohio’s public broadcasting system is going out of its way to help provide educational content.

“We know a lot of students don’t have access to the internet, and even if you have it might be slow because of the current demand,” said Husted. “Now, PBS stations will be offering educational television for kids to tune into.”

More information on at home learning resources can be found here.

Hospitals Should NOT be Turning People Away

With hospitals now being divided into eight regions in the state of Ohio, there are concerns that some citizens can not receive healthcare coverage at any of the hospitals in the region that they live in.

Dr. Acton says this is not a time for hospitals to turn any patients away.

“I’ve heard horrifying stories of people without insurance being turned away across the country,” said Acton. “We don’t want hospitals to turn anyone away in Ohio.”

Acton added that more details and information on this situation will be provided in the days to come.