Some good news for South and Southeast Ohio residents amid rising Coronavirus numbers. It looks like existing hospital facilities in our region will be able to handle the projected load of COVID-19 patients.
Convention centers in Columbus, Cincinnati, and around the state are being turned into makeshift hospital facilities. Governor DeWine is also sending the Ohio National Guard into a federal prison to help care for Coronavirus patients.
We’ve got all the important news from today’s COVID-19 briefing:
Cases of Coronavirus in Ohio continue to rise. Among those testing positive for the virus is a one-week-old baby in Cuyahoga County.
- Cases: 4,450
- Hospitalizations: 1,214
- ICU: 346
- Deaths: 142
- Ages: less than 1 week – 101
- Ohio Inmates: 10 positive
- Healthcare workers with positive tests: 888
- Number of Ohioans tested: 48,378
- Counties: 81 out of 88
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton encouraged Ohioans to keep up social distancing. “Double down. Let’s take on this virus.” She teared up when talking about the difference Ohioans sheltering in place has had on the spread of COVID-19. “The impact has been profound. You have saved lives. It’s working. It’s hard not to tear up thinking about it.”
Lt. Governor Jon Husted agreed, “Our destiny is changed by your actions.”
Local Hospitals Can Handle The Load
The Governor says the state has a plan in place in case hospitals get stretched beyond capacity. “Major hospitals and medical systems have put plans in place to expand their capacity. We’ve also been building a plan to expand healthcare at alternative sites beyond what we would normally think of as a healthcare facility.”
In these communities less critically ill patients will be treated at these facilities instead of local hospitals.
Hospitals, local EMA, local officials, and the National Guard teamed up to select the following locations:
- Seagate Convention Center, Lucas County
- Case Western University’s Health Education Campus, Cuyahoga County
- Dayton Convention Center, Montgomery County
- Covelli Convention Center, Mahoning County
- Duke Energy Convention Center, Hamilton County
- Greater Columbus Convention Center, Franklin County
There’s good news for residents of our area. It’s been determined that the existing hospital facilities in Southeastern and Southern Ohio should be enough to handle the need.
Governor DeWine announced that seven inmates at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County County had tested positive for COVID-19. Three inmates have died. The facility houses federal prisoners and Ohio has not control over the facility.
The Governor asked the Ohio National Guard to visit prison to assess the situation. He says they reported back back and said that there’s no doubt this prison needs help. “The medical staffing is not what it should be. This is not a state facility. But it’s in Ohio. It’s staffed primarily by Ohioans. That’s why I’ve authorized the Ohio National Guard to go into Elkton and assist. Right now the plan is to go into the prison for 7 to 10 days until more help arrives. We are planning to send at least 26 men and women from the Ohio National Guard to assist in the infirmary. The soldiers will have N95 respirators for protection. The Guard also stand ready to help transport seriously ill prisoners to the hospital.”
DeWine has also asked the federal government to stop sending prisoners to Elkton.
So far in Ohio’s state prisons, 10 inmates that have tested positive. DeWine said he would be announcing additional recommendations of inmates to be released from state prisons tomorrow.
Snowbirds Stay Home
The Governor said he knows that many snowbirds who winter in the south, especially in Florida are returning home this week. He said he was happy to welcome them home but now he wants them to stay there for at two weeks. “The population that comes back from Florida is generally older and the most susceptible. Whether you or old or young, you need to self-quarantine for 14 days. We cannot let up. One of the concerns we have is that people coming in from other states will bring something with them.”
He said if you are expecting friends or relatives back from down south, consider stocking their house up with food and getting everything ready for their return.
All travelers into Ohio are required to self-quarantine for two weeks. This does not apply to truckers or medical personnel traveling into the state to work. Those who live in border communities and are traveling for work, shopping, or medical care are also exempt.
Ohio is dong everything it can to make it easier for truckers who are keeping the supply chain open. Ohio’s rest stops will remain open and be frequently sanitized. ODOT is also looking into have mobile food trucks set up shop to make more meal options available for truckers.
Many restaurants have switched to drive-thru only and most drive-thrus cannot accommodate large trucks.