It’s not just a medical crisis, it’s an economic crisis. One that will lead to suicide, drug addiction, and homelessness. Ohio’s leaders discussed the devastating economic fallout of the state’s attempt to flatten the curve in a Wednesday press conference at the Capital.
Governor Mike DeWine announced a new helpline for those suffering mental-health issues dues to the stay-at-home orders. Dr. Amy Acton said that elective surgeries and other procedures can begin again. She also spoke out about a controversial meme on social media. We’ve got all that and the latest virus numbers for the state. Here are the five major points to understand.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted said COVID-19 was not just a health crisis but an economic crisis.
“In March 5.6 million people working. Record low unemployment. Since March 15, we’ve lost about a million jobs in Ohio.”
He said it’s predicted that unemployment could jump as high as 20%.
“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.”
He said it weighs heavily on those with lower incomes. “There are many small businesses out there that are within days or weeks of running out of cash. If businesses are not operating and people are not working, state and local governments do not have the money to operate.”
Husted said that under normal circumstances the state’s rainy day fund would be enough. Husted said the state might need twice that. He declined to comment on what might be cut from the state’s budget.
However, he stayed positive. “We’re gonna fight back!”
He went on to say that rolling back certain restrictions weren’t going to make the Coronavirus less dangerous. The Lt. Governor called it a war. “You will be armed in this battle with masks, disinfectant, and six feet of distance.”
Despite the jump in confirmed cases, Dr. Acton said new cases were actually slowing. There’s still a huge spike in Ohio’s prisons.
- Cases Presumed: 14,117
Cases Confirmed: 13,609
- Deaths Presumed: 610
Deaths Confirmed: 584
- Hospitalizations: 2,282
ICU Admissions: 880
Scioto County 6
- Prisons: 3,762
2,011 of them Marion
- Ages: less than 1 week to 106
Dr. Amy Acton talked about the priorities for testing people and warned that due to the unique nature of COVID-19, people were walking into emergency rooms with low oxygen levels. Levels so low that normally they would have required intubation already.
Elective Surgeries Back On
On March 17, Dr. Acton issued an order postponing elective surgery to conserve PPE and clear out space in hospitals. Governor DeWine said that there were unintended consequences:
“Some of the surgeries that we had not intention of stopping have been postponed. That concerns me a great deal”
DeWine said his first concern was those who have had procedures delayed. He asked doctors and hospitals to reassess the procedures and surgeries that were postponed. “We’re asking that they review any of the postponed procedures in light of that patient’s current health situation or quality of life.” He also said for new situations.
Patients should be informed of the risk of contracting COVID-19.
He said he would rely on healthcare providers to make responsible decisions. Dr. Action said that certain procedures should be first in line and she would address that in her new order.
COVID Care Line
Governor DeWine announced a new hotline to help Ohioans in crisis:
“While Ohioans have done a phenomenal job following the Stay at Home order to reduce the number of people who get sick, this is undoubtedly a stressful time for many Ohioans. For some, it is worrying about when they’ll receive their next paycheck.”
The hotline number is 1-800-720-9616. It will be open from 8 am to 8 pm and roll over to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at night.
No Immune Certificates
Dr. Acton addressed a meme that’s been circulating on social media. Some were concerned her desire to have immunity certificates might violate Constitutional rights. She said that as a medical professional she sometimes doesn’t think about any ramifications statements might have beyond medicine.
“I was referring in the context of businesses reopening. And in the context of tests that showed you’d already had the virus.”
She said her dream is to have a vaccination and tests that would easily allow people to know if they were already immune to the virus so they could go on about their lives.
“That’s in our relationship with our doctor, not in a relationship with the government,” Acton said.
Governor DeWine added, “No one would be compelled to do this. It might give you the ability to make some judgment about what you should do.”
He said if a person was 70 and wondering if they should go back to work. Having information that they’d already had COVID-19 and recovered, it would allow them to safely go back to work.