DeWine, colleagues give Tuesday COVID-19 update
There are now 564 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio. This includes cases in 49 counties, and eight deaths.
At the Tuesday press conference, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said it’s important to make sure the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed and can take care of patients with COVID-19.
He said two ways of achieving this goal are through social distancing and working on increasing the capacity of items like hospitals beds and personal protective equipment.
PPE includes items such as gloves, masks, gowns and face shields.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said researchers are working on ways to possibly reuse PPE, and DeWine said they are also asking private businesses to possibly give them equipment, conserve it, procure it, or even make it.
Acton said ICU hospital bed capacity, and the ability of hospitals to treat the sickest, are big deals in this situation, and the state is looking into making hotels and dorm rooms into hospital units.
“That’s why every move you’re doing is making all the difference,” said Acton.
Acton said there are some new symptoms that seem to be emerging related to COVID-19, such as feeling fatigued, or an upset gastro-intestinal system.
She encourages most patients to speak to their primary care providers and to do so whenever possible by phone or “telemedicine.”
She encourages anyone who doesn’t feel well to stay home and make that call.
Residents can also reach the Ohio Department of Health call center at 1-833-427-5634.
DeWine said he would like to see the economy up and running, and does want to get out of this situation as fast as possible, and get people back to work.
But, until then, he said the short-term consequences of slowing down the economy will outweigh the long-term economic impact of a deadly virus that is kept unchecked.
“We are at war with a real enemy,” said DeWine.
He said protecting people and protecting the economy are not mutually exclusive and depend upon each other, and Ohio is saving its economy by first saving lives.
An overwhelmed hospital system would leave Ohioans dying needlessly, he said, and have long-term ramifications, leaving healthcare and the system in shambles.
He said when people are dying, and others don’t feel safe, the economy is not going to come back.
The goal is that when the “wave” of illness comes, it’s not as big as it would have been and the state is prepared for it.
DeWine said he understands that the health and well-being of every Ohioan is tied to the economy, but each step the state takes to keep Ohioans safe from the virus helps the economy from crashing.
Lt. Gov Jon Husted still encourages businesses to look at the “stay at home” order at coronavirus.ohio.gov, and use their judgement as to whether they are an essential business.
He does not want businesses calling law enforcement or health departments to interpret the language of the order for them.
But, he said customers or employees who believe a business is in violation of the order can report it to their local health department.
He said they want citizens to be part of the solution, not the problem.