Here are seven fast facts about the COVID-19 crisis from Governor Mike DeWine’s March 30th press briefing. Cases continue to climb, it looks like school’s out for the rest of the year, the Ohio National Guard is swinging into action, and prisoners will be making PPE.
- Total cases – 1993
- Hospital admissions – 475
- ICU Admissions – 163
- Deaths – 39
- Health Care Workers – account for 18% of cases. 1 ER nurse has died.
- Age range – less than 1- 98
- Counties – cases in 70 counties
- Tested – 27, 275
- Peak – expected mid to late April
National Guard Is Coming To Help
The Ohio National Guard is deploying to help fight COVID-19. General John Harris is leading the efforts to build out the capacity of Ohio’s hospitals to handle the expected surge of cases. Harris said, “I promised that when the National Guard had a new mission in your community, I’d tell you. Service members in uniforms are going to be in your area making assessments and collaborating with health care providers.”
He said the Guard would be working on the following:
- Acquiring new facilities to house patients
- Fitting unused state facilities to house patients
- Building out existing medical facilities
- Acquiring and moving equipment
- Helping move personnel
- Helping transport PPE
The General said, “The Governor has directed we use every approach. We are turning over every rock possible.” Harris said Ohioans had done great so far but must now exercise ‘tactical patience’ in the fight against the virus to aid healthcare workers. “Our actions now determine how hard their life is during this peak.”
School’s Out Until May 1 (at least)
Ohio K-12 school buildings won’t be back in session until at least May 1. Governor DeWine said it’s likely Ohio students will finish out the rest of the year with distance learning.
He said he realizes that is difficult for some areas with poor or no Internet connection. He said the state is exploring other alternatives to make sure those students are able to learn. “These are things we’ll have to figure out as we move forward. We do have money coming in from the Federal Government. Some of that will go to schools.”
No Basketball, Please
While the Governor has urged Ohioans to get outside for recreation, he draws the line at basketball because it’s hard to maintain social distancing. Many cities have resorted to taking down basketball hoops because of large crowds congregating.
A game at Mound Park turned into a near-riot situation for Portsmouth Police last week when they attempted to break up a crowd of 60 people.
Responding to questions about people not keeping a responsible distance in parks, DeWine said. “Our state parks are pretty big. There should be plenty of space. As the weather gets better, people congregate. We’ve issued a lot of orders. Question is, do we have to issue any more?”
Lt. Governor Husted said, “About 70% of us are probably listening and following orders. 30% are not. It’s going to take every one of us. You can’t rely on writing rules to make people comply.”
DeWine said new guidelines about outdoor activity could be on the way soon.
Send Tests To ODH
The Governor asked all Ohio hospitals to please send their COVID-19 tests samples to either the Ohio Department of Health or a local hospital that can do quick testing.
“I don’t think it’s acceptable to be in a situation for people to be waiting for four, five, or six days. The Ohio Department of Health will do this for free and get it turned around in less than 24 hours. Nothing wrong with private labs. But they’re behind. We are not.”
Prisoners To Make PPE
Ohio will be putting prisoners to work manufacturing personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. Governor DeWine said prison workshops are gearing up to make the following:
- Hospital gowns – so far they’ve made 500.
- Masks – they’ll be able to make 5,000 low-tech masks per day
- Hand sanitizer – up to 1400 gallons
- Face shields
The Governor thanked prison workers and the prisoners for their efforts. So far, no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in state correctional facilities.
DeWine was asked if he would consider banning travel from Coronavirus hotspots like Michigan. Detroit alone has 1,500 cases and 35 deaths.
The Governor said he’d just discussed that issue with the mayor of Toledo (which is on the border with Michigan.) DeWine called it ‘a concern’ and said it may be something the state has to consider.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said that anyone returning from traveling should act as if they’ve just been to China. She advised a 14-day self-quarantine. Acton also reminded people that you may not know you’ve been to a hot spot since testing is still limited.