Wednesday Recap: 10 More Dead in Ohio, Summer Plans for Citizens in Jeopardy

COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Once again, Governor Mike DeWine along with other state leaders and health officials spoke this afternoon, providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio. Here is a full outline on everything that was discussed.

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health reports that another 10 people have died in Ohio from COVID-19. The states death total now sits at 65. There are 2,547 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Buckeye State. 72 counties have at least one confirmed case, 24 have at least one fatality.

679 Ohioans have been hospitalized so far while 222 have been admitted into the intensive care unit. Stark County now has 52 cases, still just three deaths. Mahoning County has 10 confirmed deaths, which is more than any other county in Ohio.

Eight Regions of Health

Governor DeWine spoke last week about how the state has been divided into eight regions, who will all be responsible for developing a plan for its hospitals in the upcoming weeks. Here is a map that lays out all eight regions.

Those eight regions have now been split into three zones. Here is a map of the three zones.

National Guard Coming to Cleveland

Governor DeWine has sent the Ohio National Guard to Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati to start planning and assessing the structures needed for the anticipated surge. The Ohio National Guard will continue to work to expand the capacity of hospitals. The possibilities for expansion:

  • college dorms
  • convention centers
  • closed hospitals
  • unoccupied medial options

Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19

Due to Ohio still have a real need to significantly increase Personal Protective Equipment, Governor DeWine announced today the establishment of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19. This is a collaborative public-private partnership.

The partnership includes:

  • The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association
  • The Ohio Hospital Association
  • MAGNET Ohio
  • Ohio MEP
  • Nursing Homes
  • JobsOhio
  • The Ohio Department of Administrative Services
  • The Ohio Development Services Agency
  • The Ohio Department of Health

They are tasked with better coordinating efforts to provide health care workers and first responders with the Personal Protective Equipment they need to safely care for patients.

DeWine had a message to all manufacturers, saying “We need your help and we need your help now. If you think you can create any of the products we need.”

Those who can create new PPE products and are looking for more information can find it at the project’s new website.

Testing Updates

Governor DeWine has asked Dr. Amy Acton with the ODH to require non-testing hospitals — those that send their specimens to a third party to be tested — to contract with any of the following labs:

  • Ohio State University Hospitals
  • The MetroHealth System
  • The Cleveland Clinic
  • University Hospitals

DeWine says these hospitals have the capacity to do tests and are much faster than the private labs. “The turnaround at private labs is unacceptable for the patient and the rest of us,” said DeWine.

The Ohio Department of Health will continue to analyze tests for the most critical patients, including hospitalized and symptomatic healthcare workers.

There may be other hospitals that have the capacity and can do testing – when the state confirms that, DeWine says Ohioans will be informed.

“Click to Collect”

To help ensure  Ohioans have access to food while helping to keep potential exposure to COVID-19 to a minimum, the state has been working with its federal partners, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and the grocery stores on a “click and collect” option to get groceries.

Now, those receiving SNAP benefits are able to shop online and go to their grocery stores to pick up their items in the cars. SNAP recipients will be able to swipe their EBT cards from their cars now without entering the store.

“With this change, the mom who does not have child care, the adult with an underlying health condition, or the senior citizen at high risk can order groceries at home and just go to the store to pay and pick up curbside, where available,” said DeWine.

For those stores that do not have a mobile point of sale device, a SNAP recipient can continue to order online, then pick up the groceries/pay inside the grocery store. This option reduces the time SNAP recipients are in the grocery store and reduces the risk of community spread.

Census Day

For those of you that have not yet completed your Census, Governor DeWine is asking you to please do so. He says it is important that every Ohioan is counted because of the impact the U.S. Census has on our state.

It will determine things like how the roughly $675 Billion in federal funds are distributed among states and how many seats Ohio has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

By now Ohioans should have received census forms by mail. The form should include a code that will allow citizens to fill it out online over the phone, along with the traditional way.

Businesses Getting Help with the Rent

Governor DeWine signed an executive order that seeks to provide some assistance for small businesses in the area of their mortgage and rent payments. “We know that these businesses are hurting and have made hard choices,” said DeWine.

DeWine issued a plea to lenders and landlords across Ohio to work with their small businesses and suspend payments for at least 90 days.

Requested Shopping Tips from Ohio Grocery Stores

Lt. Governor Jon Husted says he spoke with grocery store chains in the state about what can be done to help shoppers be safe during these difficult times. Grocery stores ask Ohioans to abide by the following rules:

  1. Keep space between you and others
  2. Shop patiently
  3. Limit shopping trips
  4. Shop alone, when possible
  5. Stay home when you’re not feeling well
  6. Wash/sanitize hands before and after
  7. Don’t touch your face while shopping
  8. Wear a mask/gloves if you can
  9. Shop online for curbside pickup/delivery

Message to Churches

Governor DeWine had the following message to Churches who remain open.

“Anyone who goes into a big group of people is making a very, very serious mistake,” said DeWine. “They’re endangering themselves, their family, and total strangers. Any pastor who brings a group of people together – it’s a huge mistake.”

A Long Journey Back to Normal

When asked about what Ohioans should do if they have summer plans, Dr. Acton had tough news to deliver.

“I wish I could give you hope about your summer,” said Acton. “The truth is if the curve peaks in May, it will be a slow process to get to the end of the curve.”

Acton says returning to normal will not be as simple as flipping a switch. She added that without a vaccine, it will be a long time before things are completely back to the way they were before the virus showed up in the US.

Lt. Governor Husted and Acton have formed a task force that is now examining what Ohio’s recovery from COVID-19 will look like. They have come up with five requirements a state and or country should have before social distancing measures start being drawn back. They include:

  1. Having adequate testing
  2. A solid snapshot on the cases a state has.
  3. Proof that the cases are no longer increasing but steadily decreasing
  4. No more shortage of PPE for healthcare workers
  5. Hospital Capacity must be stabilized