Coronavirus Pandemic: Ohio cases surpass 2,500, deaths now at 65

COVID-19: What you need to know Wednesday

There are now at least 2,547 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Ohio with 65 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Six of the confirmed deaths are from Miami County. In Ohio, 679 people suffering from COVID-19 have been admitted to hospitals, with 222 of those in ICU.

The state has a population of 11.6 million.

[ Coronavirus: Local cases, deaths reported to Ohio Department of Health ]

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While the state is tracking confirmed cases, it’s important to note that due to the limited amount of testing available the confirmed cases number is not a true reflection of actual cases in the state.

A projected curve of new cases from Ohio State University predicted Ohio would have 533 new coronavirus cases today. The state reported 348 new cases, putting Ohio below the Ohio State projection curve for three days in a row.

The Ohio Department of Health is not tracking recoveries in cases.

Gov. Mike DeWine provided the following updates during his 2 p.m. update:

  • DeWine unveiled Ohio’s Hospital Preparedness Regions. Dayton and the majority of the Miami Valley fall into region 3. Mercer and Auglaize counties fall into region 1 and Butler, Warren and Clinton counties fall into region 6.
  • The state was divided into preparedness regions to deal with capacity and level of care.
  • The National Guard has been sent to Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati to start planning and assessing buildings possibly needed for the anticipated surge.
  • Gov. DeWine unveiled the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to fight COVID-19, which is a collaborative public-private partnership tasked with better coordinating efforts to provide healthcare workers and first responders with PPE.
  • Dr. Acton is issuing orders today for hospitals that don’t do their own testing to be required to send testing to another hospital for a quicker turn around time for results. Hospitals will no longer be allowed to send tests to private labs. “The turnaround at private labs is unacceptable for the patient and the rest of us,” Dewine said. Some of the hospitals that can do testing are Ohio State University Medical Center, MetroHealth in Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals in northern Ohio. Other hospitals may be added as the state confirms capacity.
  • SNAP benefits now can be used for online grocery store shopping and shoppers can swipe their cards from the car when they pick up the groceries.
  • The Presidential Disaster Declaration allows the state and local governments to receive FEMA grants that can be used for emergency operation center costs, state agency purchases in response to COVID-19, disinfection of eligible public facilities, PPE and temporary medical facilities and enhanced hospital capacity.
  • Gov. DeWine signed an order that seeks to provide some assistance for small businesses in the area of their mortgage and rent payments. “Through this order, I am issuing a plea -- a plea to lenders and landlords across Ohio to work with their small businesses and suspend payments for at least 90 days,” DeWine said. The goal of the order is to prevent foreclosures.
  • Lt. Gov. Husted said stores are asking people to do the following if they need to shop: Keep distance, shop patiently, shop alone when possible, stay at home if you don’t feel well, wash hands before/after entering store, don’t touch your face while shopping, wear a mask/gloves if possible, shop online and do curbside delivery/pickup.
  • Ohio Department of Health is ramping up testing capabilities, which includes working in three shifts due to the emergency.
  • Dr. Acton advised Ohioans to be kind. “Just like a virus is contagious, our moods are contagious,” Acton said.
  • DeWine addressed concerns over any churches holding in-person services amid the pandemic. “Anyone who goes into a big group of people is making a very, very serious mistake. They’re endangering themselves, their family, and total strangers. Any pastor who brings a group of people together - it’s a huge mistake,” DeWine said.
  • Acton said she wishes she could give hope for the summer season, but the reality is if the curve peaks in May - it will be a slow process to get to the end of the curve.
  • The state’s exit strategy from the coronavirus curve will not be “a flip of the switch," Husted said.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County provided a countywide update at 4 p.m.:

  • Thursday, inspectors with Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County will begin visiting businesses to deliver orders to immediately cease operations because they are not essential businesses as defined by state order. Law enforcement will accompany the inspectors if need be, health Commissioner Jeff Cooper said
  • The number of businesses alleged to be in non-compliance with the essential business order has risen to 360 from 270, Cooper said, because more complaints have been filed and some businesses are asking for guidance
  • Businesses, not customers, are responsible for enforcing the state’s social distancing order, Cooper said
  • The Payroll Protection Program, from the federal Small Business Administration, will be a great help locally, County Commissioner Judy Dodge said, because loans for mortgages, food, utilities and more will be forgiven as long as employers keep workers on the job for eight weeks
  • The number of people seeking public assistance has seen a daily increase, Dodge said. There are 70,000 individuals and families in Montgomery County that have signed up for SNAP benefits
  • Montgomery County will receive $2 million from HUD for homeless and housing needs. Dodge said plans are being formed to distribute those funds
  • If you are a renter having trouble with a landlord, visit mvcovid19eviction.com for information on what to do and for a letter you can use to negotiate with a landlord. “If you cannot pay rent, don’t move out,” Mayor Nan Whaley said
  • Whaley is encouraging everyone to fill out the census: "It is vital to our community. “Every person equals 1,800 dollars per person per year for our community.”
  • Emergency requests to the United Way of Greater Dayton Area have increased from 43 in the first week of March to more than 240 in the third week because of the stay-at-home order that has led to the shut down of businesses, said Tracy Sibbing, vice president, community impact, United Way

President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force held an afternoon briefing:

  • Counter narcotics effort: Based on what Pentagon officials said was intelligence they received that criminal organizations are trying to bring more drugs into the United States to capitalize on the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump directed the military to begin enhanced drug interdiction activities in the Southern hemisphere. He called for more surveillance of drug activity, the seizure of suspected drugs and greater eradication efforts in the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
  • China and COVID-19: The task force cannot confirm reports that China under-reported numbers of the people who contracted the virus and virus-related deaths. Trump said he has not received any intelligence report about China and has not spoken with President Xi Jinping about it. “The numbers were on the light side,” Trump said.
  • PPE shipments: Trump said there was no truth to reports the United States is stopping shipments of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to other countries because the national stockpile is nearly gone. “We just ordered a lot from Walmart,” Trump said of PPE headed for U.S. hospitals and health care facilities
  • USS Roosevelt: The nuclear aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt will remain “fully operational” while the crew is being tested for COVID-19, a Pentagon official said. According to several reports, more than 100 sailors have been infected with the coronavirus. The carrier’s captain has asked U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.
  • Hospital ships on order?: Trump said the White House is looking at building two new hospital ships or renovating existing ships to be used to deal with the expected coronavirus surge. “Hopefully, we won’t need them,” he said
  • Iran and COVID-19: The World Health Organization has confirmed that Iran has been under-reporting COVID-19 cases and deaths, the latter of which could be more than 15,000. Whether Iran’s threats against the U.S. military is a bluff, a Pentagon official said, the Iranian people should focus on their own concerns

Here’s what you need to know today:

  • Miami County now has 44 cases related to the Koester Pavilion and Springmeade outbreak. Of those 44 cases, six have resulted in deaths of residents.
  • Premier Health said all of the beds that were previously housed at the now demolished Good Samaritan Hospital remain in the Miami Valley. Many of the beds were moved to existing Premier Health facilities that expanded areas to allot for the growth of patients due to Good Sam’s closure. What beds were left were donated to other local health facilities, Premier Health said.
  • The White House is projecting 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the virus if every American does everything they should be doing
  • The White House is holding back close to 10,000 ventilators for use in places that will need them, President Trump said. “When the surge occurs, if it occurs, we’ll be able to move them faster”
  • Trump said 11 companies are now making ventilators
  • Governors should not be bidding against themselves for ventilators, Trump said. “There are some hospitals that think they need ventilators. We don’t think they do."
  • Communities in Montgomery and Greene counties are doing a very good job in practicing social distancing, officials said, but more needs to be done
  • Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County is prepared to take to the prosecutor’s office businesses, not in compliance with the essential business mandates (stay and home and workplace social distancing)
  • Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley encourages everyone to stay home Wednesday, April 1, and fill out the 2020 census online
  • Coroner’s offices in Montgomery and Greene counties are in talks with coroner’s offices throughout Ohio, and the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, about how to handle coronavirus fatalities should the expected surge occur