CDC changes how COVID-19 cases are reported

By Ivy Potter - [email protected]

COLUMBUS —Numbers from Friday’s press conference with Governor Mike DeWine revealed 5,878 total cases of COVID-19, growing by 366 from Thursday’s number of 5,512.

Ohio Director of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton stated there were 1,755 hospitalizations due to the virus and 548 individuals in intensive care units. The number of total Coronavirus deaths at the time of Friday’s press conference was 231.

Governor DeWine stated there had been a change in regards to CDC guidance in relation to how the Coronavirus statistics are reported. DeWine stated that while he and Ohio Director of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton understand the guidance and will follow the guidance, they want to make sure they show data in a way that is transparent. “We are going to be reporting these numbers in more detail that the guidance requires,” said DeWine.

DeWine said the numbers reported as of Friday will be under these new guidelines. On April 5, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), a national organization representing public health, put forth new case surveillance recommendations. “The CDC has now recommended states follow these guidelines. Before change the guidance allowed doctors to count COVID-19 cases only in those confirmed by a laboratory test,” said DeWine. “The new guidance was developed by a committee of state epidemiologists from Idaho, Iowa, Hawaii, Alabama and Michigan and is now a formal recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control. It will include cases that have been confirmed by quick tests which confirm COVID-19 antibodies in the blood.

“We would have not been able to count those testing positive with rapid testing under the old guideline,” said DeWine.

DeWine stated the new guidelines will also allow people to be counted if there is clinical evidence and epidemiological evidence that COVID-19 is present, and when no other likely diagnosis even with no laboratory test.

“This means doctors in hospitals or outpatient facilities may determine someone has COVID-19 based on his or her symptoms including fever and cough along with a history of exposure to a confirmed case,” said DeWine.

An example of this criteria, according to DeWine, is a person living in a nursing home displaying these symptoms with a case of the virus already being confirmed in the facility.

DeWine stated that Ohio will continue to report numbers by the ‘old’ method while also reporting numbers based on the new guidelines. Moving forward DeWine stated numbers will be reported in categories of confirmed deaths, new CDC guidance deaths, and a total of both numbers.

“What these new numbers allow us to do is track who has the virus currently and those who have had the virus, those who have recovered, and those who are no longer a threat in passing it to others. Using this guidance will be instrumental in allow us to trace the disease and isolating it to smaller pocket areas so we can open things back up again. At the same time it will allow us to target limited resources for a better public health response,” said DeWine.

Friday’s numbers reflected 42 cases based on the new CDC guidelines, with 4 deaths also following those guidelines.

In regards to Ohioans stepping up to help those along the front lines in the fight against the Coronavirus, DeWine stated Ohio’s distilleries are working to manufacture hand sanitizer. DeWine stated JobsOhio has purchased more than 3,100 cases totaling more than 1 million ounces purchased from these distilleries and will be donating those to the Ohio Association of Food Banks. These shipments will be arriving this week and will be delivered to the 12 food banks and distributed as needed.

DeWine announced some changes were being made in regards to Medicare and stated the goal was to remove as many barriers as possible to ensure those receiving assistance had access to care. “Medicaid, the Manage Care Plans, and My Care of Ohio Plans have come together to remove barriers for members,” said DeWine. “They have collaborated to maintain the health of individuals to keep them out of the hospital and reduce strain on our healthcare system.”

DeWine stated that these groups were working to reduce the administrative requirements of physicians to give them more flexibility to ensure safe patient care which will include the waiving of member copays for prescriptions among other things.

DeWine stated more information on these changes would be available on the state’s Coronavirus website.

By Ivy Potter

[email protected]

Reach: Ivy Potter(740) 353-3101 Extension 1932

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach: Ivy Potter(740) 353-3101 Extension 1932

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved