Wednesday Update: Husted Explains Unsettling Unemployment Projections

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

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) latest report shows another significant drop in daily COVID-19 cases. Just 392 coronavirus cases were reported in the past 24 hours, lifting the state total to 14,117. However, 53 new deaths were reported by the ODH, bringing the fatality total to 610.

2,882 Ohioans have now been hospitalized from the coronavirus; 880 have been admitted into the intensive care unit. Close to 98,000 COIVD-19 tests have been given in Ohio. The Buckeye State has a positive test rate of around 14%.

Update on Stark County

Just four new cases in Stark County. Stark is up to 255 total cases, 69 hospitalizations and still 28 deaths.

Testing Capacity

COVID-19 in Juvenile Detention Center

Governor Mike DeWine says the Ohio Department of Youth Services informed him this afternoon that they now have their first positive case of COVID-19 among the juvenile corrections population. Dewine says the youth started showing symptoms on Monday evening and was immediately isolated.

The living units do not intermingle, but all of the youth in this individual’s unit are being monitored for symptoms. DeWine says Contact-tracing with the ODH and the Cuyahoga County Health Department has also already started.

“Activity at our juvenile corrections locations has been limited for some time and unnecessary individuals are prohibited from entering the facilities,” DeWine said. “Both youth and staff have also been provided with face masks and are required to wear them.”

A Second Look at Elective Surgeries

Last month, Dr. Amy Acton issued an order postponing elective surgery in order to conserve critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and clear out necessary bed space we had anticipated would be needed to care for COVID-19 patients. DeWine says he has heard mixed reports on how hospitals have been following that order.

“I’ve heard stories that some surgeries that we had no intention of stopping have been postponed,” said DeWine. “That has concerned me a great deal, so we are starting back one step at a time.”

The Governor says because of Ohioans hard work and the state’s health care system’s coming together to meet community needs as a team, Ohio has prevented the massive spike of cases that we feared. Now, DeWine says Ohio must begin the gradual, multi-phased process of reopening.

DeWine says his first concern is the patients who have had procedures and surgeries delayed.

“They have been waiting. It’s important that their doctors and their hospitals reach out to them.”

Today Governor DeWine announced that he is asking health care providers in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to reassess those procedures and surgeries that were postponed.

“We ask doctors to review any of the postponed procedures or surgeries with the patient in light of their current health situation and quality life and make a joint decision about whether to proceed.”

In addition, for new or other chronic conditions that may have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, DeWine says providers and patients together may consider moving forward with diagnostic procedures.

The Governor expressed that patients must be informed of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and that impact during the post-operative recovery process. Patients must have the information necessary to make informed decisions and greater attention to the effectiveness of non-surgical options must be made.

“Resuming surgeries and procedures I’ve described will take clinical judgment and we will rely on our healthcare providers to make responsible decisions as we move forward,” said DeWine. “As we continue this phased-in approach, we are working with hospital systems, health care providers, patients, and other stakeholders to determine the next steps. Eventually, we will be reopening our doctors’ offices and dentist offices. Together, we will get back to normal.”

Unemployment Projections

Since March 15, about 1 million jobs have been lost in Ohio. Nationally, that number is over 25 million. Lt. Governor Jon Husted says it is projected nationally that unemployment may go to 20%. During the Great Recession in 2008, the highest unemployment rate was 10.9%.

“That seems reasonable compared to these other projections,” said Husted.

Husted says we also know from past recessions, as unemployment goes up, so does suicide, drug addiction, homelessness, domestic violence, and more health consequences.

“This is the reality we face,” said Husted. “If businesses are not operating and people aren’t working, then state and local government will not have the revenue to serve constituents.”

Lt. Governor Husted says state leaders are working hard to help lead Ohio through the difficult times ahead.

“You’ll be armed in this battle with masks, sanitizer, soap, and six feet of safety. These are strategies that we know will work. We all need to lead by example. The road to recovery will be long and gradual, but with the right precautions, businesses can create a safe environment.”

Husted says that creating a safe environment is the first step toward reopening the Ohio economy and starting the recovery process.

“When we start back we want to do it in a safe way. I’m consulting with a diverse team of business leaders on how we start back. We want to do this in the safest way possible to protect employees and customers. It is a balance.”