Mike DeWine on COVID-19, “Coronavirus in not a game. Ohioans are dying.”
Coronavirus team coverage continues with the most important points from Governor Mike DeWine’s COVID-19 update for April 10. The Governor and Dr. Amy Acton explained how a new way of calculating Coronavirus cases called presumptive positives will affect the case count and detailed some big changes that will make life a little easier for Medicaid recipients.
Dr. Acton also had a message to doctors not to withhold surgery from people in pain and the Governor spoke on more on what’s being done to stop the spread in prisons. On a happier note, Mrs. DeWine made a special guest appearance with cooking and craft tips.
Ohioans are dying. This is not some game.
In response to questions about Ohio’s Coronavirus case numbers coming in far under initial estimates, Governor DeWine said.
“No one should doubt how deadly this is. Your fellow Ohioans are dying today. You have fellow Ohioans in intensive care. You have fellow Ohioans trying to breathe.
This is not some game where I woke up one day and decided to impose these regulations. If we had not done that we would right now be heading right into the midst of that we saw in Italy and what we saw in New York.
There’s a reason our numbers are better. Ohio did this early. We were strong. We made all the difference in the world. Any Ohioan who has not had this can get it. What we need to do is stay home.”
Here’s where the numbers stand right now in Ohio and in Scioto County:
- Cases presumptive – 5,878
- Cases confirmed – 5,836
- Deaths probable – 231
- Deaths confirmed – 227
- Hospitalized – 1,755
- ICU – 548
372 negative and 3 positive test results for Scioto County. One man and two women between ages of 35 and 53.
“All these numbers are a gross under estimation.” Up to 25% of people don’t have symptoms,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton.
“This is a very special time of the year. The symbolism is not lost. We are sharing some great news in Ohio. But I never want to deny to you the fear and panic we’re going through from losses of jobs and other things.”
When asked how she was holding up under the circumstances, Dr. Acton choked up and thanked her husband for his support.
Presumptive positive is a new term you’ll be seeing a lot of. The CDC now wants states to include presumptive positives in their COVID-19 numbers.
Governor DeWine said, “We will follow the guidance and certainly understand the need for it, we want to make sure that we show the data to you in a way that is transparent.”
A confirmed case is one where a person has a positive laboratory result for COVID-19.
A presumptive case is one where:
- Someone has not been tested for COVID-19
- Has had close contact with someone with a confirmed or probable case
- Shows symptoms and/or has been in an area with community spread
- Has no alternative diagnosis like the flu
Dr. Acton said, “For example, in a nursing home, once you’ve tested a couple of residents you can pretty much guarantee that other cases, if they’re flu negative, have COVID-19.”
This also allows states to count the results for the new quick-acting tests that work in minutes. The tests are not in Ohio yet, but the Governor says they are on the way.
Essential and non-essential surgeries
Dr. Acton has a message to doctors and patients about what constitutes essential surgery, “If your patient is in extreme pain, that constitutes essential.”
The state criteria for essential surgery are:
- Threat to a patient’s life
- Threat of permanent dysfunction to an extremity or organ
- Progression or worsening condition of a disease
- Risk of rabidly worsening symptoms
She said, “You should not have unremitting pain or changes in your symptoms. If somebody has extreme pain or worsening condition, let’s look again.”
Governor DeWine announced a series of changes for Medicaid that should make it easier to get prescriptions.
- Prior authorizations will be bypassed for new prescriptions.
- Members will receive pharmacy benefits regardless of in-network or out-of-network provider status.
- The threshold for refills on certain prescriptions will be relaxed.
- Pharmacists who dispense emergency refills without a prescription will be reimbursed.
- Pharmacies that dispense over-the-counter medications without a prescription will be reimbursed.
- Member co-pays will be waived. This is for all prescriptions.
- 90-day supplies on maintenance medications will be authorized.
COVID-19 in Prisons
DeWine tackled the ongoing problem of the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio’s prisons.
When asked if prisoners and staff were safe, he said,
“No one is safe from the Coroanvirus. Once the virus gets into a congregate setting. What we’ve done in the past few days is that we’re starting to surge in there.”
He said the state will be testing all prisoners in prisons where they have confirmed or presumed cases of Coronavirus. “We have responsibilty to DRC employees. We have responsibility to the prisoners in our care.
As we get more masks in, if we get more equipment in. We’re going to focus that on hot spots. Whether that is a nursing home or that is a prison. We’re doing everything we can with tools at our disposal.”
Cooking and Crafts with Fran
Continuing her tradition of guest appearances at COVID-19 briefings, Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine showed off her homemade face masks including a tiny one she made for her youngest grandchild.
Mrs. DeWine also handcrafted an apron to match her mask as she’s been doing more cooking during the lockdown. She announced that she’d posted her grandmother’s whole wheat bread recipe to her Facebook page.
Also posted, a homemade formula for sidewalk chalk using cornstarch and food coloring.
When asked how the DeWines were holding up during the COVID-19 crisis, Mrs. DeWine said a friend had brought them a new puppy and that was helping.
Gov. DeWine said, “We’re doing fine. Others out there, first responders, have it a lot worse.”