1,137 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Ohio Department of Health on Friday, growing by 270 cases since their update on Thursday.
The latest numbers also showed 276 people being hospitalized due to the Coronavirus and 107, up from 91 on Thursday, now in intensive care units. The number of deaths within the state has risen to 19, a 27% growth in 24 hours. According to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, the age range of the COVID-19 deaths span from 58-94.
Governor Mike DeWine began Friday’s news conference with the signing of House Bill 197, which will make changes in the state as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. DeWine summarized that the bill will make some necessary accommodations, such as waving of state testing requirements for school children this year, extending professional licenses of nurses who amid this crisis do not have the opportunity to get those licenses renewed, and allowing local government to hold virtual meetings to comply with sunshine laws. DeWine stated to mirror actions already taken by the Federal Government, the bill will also extend the income tax deadline to July 15th. DeWine called on citizens to remember local business owners during this time and do what they can to show support.
“Each one of us has local shops and restaurants that are our favorites. We can’t go there now, can’t go there in person at least to shop or sit down and eat. But we can certainly still support them. Today the state is launching an effort to try and support small businesses by launching a campaign encouraging Ohioans to continue to support the many local retailers by shopping online, choosing local, ordering carryout, and taking virtual tours of well-known attractions around the state. There are currently more than 250 local restaurants and virtual activities being featured online,”said DeWine. DeWine stated to find a restaurant or shop to support or have your business featured you can go online to ohio.org/supportlocalohio.
“These are challenging times for the state, but we are in this together and if we can support out local shops and restaurants that is great. It’s very important that we try to do that.”
DeWine stated that since his first COVID-19 press conference he has promised to relay new information as it was avaibile.
“We have committed to telling you what we know when we know it, Cleveland Clinic gave new information in regards to modeling and projections. Throughout this crisis we have said there are two different variables we are trying to impact,” DeWine said these include social distancing and how Ohio is preparing their medical system for the surge of COVID-19.
“Within two weeks it is going to kick in much harder. We’re really going to be hit very hard in our hospitals and hospital admissions. They project that we may not hit the peak until now mid-May,” said Dewine. “In addition, they are telling us that we need to look at a two and possibly three times build-out of what we have today in hospital beds, in ICU beds. We have a long way to go. That’s the stark reality.”
DeWine stated the good news is that our hospitals have been anticipating this and have already begun preparing and planning. “In that regard, we are now really closing up the planning and moving to the action.”
In conferences with hospitals across the state, DeWine said he has divided the state into eight regions and has asked that each region have their collective plan on his desk by Saturday morning at 8 a.m. DeWine said this is to be a rough draft, with a final plan to be done by noon on Monday.
“I have asked General Harris of the Ohio National Guard to oversee this build up. Again, many of the hospitals have plans in regard to the implementation of these plans, but General Harris is not in his capacity really as the head of the guard but in a new capacity. We will hear from him tomorrow.”
DeWine and Dr.Acton both stressed the importance of following the “Stay at Home” order as the surge of COVID-19 grows closer for Ohio.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740)353-3101 Extension 1932
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