COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, provided an update Saturday on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
There are currently 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in eight Ohio counties. The 12 women and 14 men range in age from 31 to 86 years old. Seven people are hospitalized.
"The increase in those testing positive for COVID-19 should not alarm anyone," said Governor DeWine. "We predicted that this would happen. This should not cause panic, we are enacting an early, targeted, and layered plan aimed at reducing the number of people affected."
LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY CLARIFICATION
Clarifying the order prohibiting visitors to long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, Governor DeWine clarified that there is an exemption of this prohibition for those, including clergy, visiting residents in end-of-life care.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HOSPITALS
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Lori Criss announced that she has prohibited visitors to the state psychiatric hospitals and is making every effort to ensure video visitation for patients.
EXPANDING TELEHEALTH SERVICES
In partnership with the Ohio Department of Medicaid, Director Criss announced emergency orders that reduce restrictions on telehealth, ensuring that every Ohioan has access to behavioral health Care via telehealth services by landline or cell phone.
Director Criss encouraged all Ohioans to monitor their mental wellness during this time and described resources available at mhas.ohio.gov/coronavirus.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Governor DeWine announced that the state had received its personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, gowns, and goggles, from the National Strategic Reserve last night. He asked all health care providers and others that use PPE to conserve their supplies. Governor DeWine requested that dentists and veterinarians postpone elective surgeries.
Governor DeWine explained that his health advisory group is in the process of developing guidelines for doctors for postponing elective surgeries that will not put patients at risk. These measures will open up critical treatment beds while preserving the state's limited supply of PPE.
The full update can be viewed on the Ohio Channel website.
On Saturday Dr. Acton signed the public health order closing all K-12 schools.
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.