COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D. MPH held a briefing Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in the state.
As of Wednesday, there are 7,791 cases reported in the state, leading to 361 deaths. A total of 2,237 hospitalizations have been reported.
Governor DeWine announced an expanded partnership with Battelle that will allow first responders to have their N95 masks sanitized for free.
DeWine also urged Ohioans to complete the census, and challenged the state to beat Michigan in completing its reporting.
The governor said two additional inmates have died form coronavirus. DeWine said they will continue to look for nonviolent offenders with 90 days or less left on their sentence to be candidates for early release.
DeWine said although the curve has been flattened, there are still concerns regarding PPE. He has asked the Hospital Association to come up with a plan that will allow them to start moving forward the healthcare that has been delayed while still preserving the needed equipment.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted discussed problems and delays with the state’s unemployment system. He says the system is outdated as far as technology goes. It is using a 2004-era mainframe, not a cloud-based system.
“We’re in this battle with the system we have,” said Husted.
Husted said pre-pandemic, 42 people worked in the call center. Now, it’s 1,194 and it’s still not enough. More claims have been filed in the last month than the last two years.
Husted says they are in the process of bringing in an additional 337 staff.
The state is now using updated criteria when reporting case numbers, based on CDC guidelines.
Before this change, the guidance only allowed doctors to count COVID-19 cases that had been confirmed by a laboratory test. Now, the new guidance will include cases that meet the following criteria:
- A person will be counted if a quick test determines the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in the blood
- A person will be counted if there is clinical evidence and epidemiological evidence of the presence of COVID-19 when there is no other likely diagnosis, even if there’s no lab test
Wednesday’s numbers include 7,628 laboratory confirmed cases and 163 that fit under the expanded definition. Fifteen of the 361 deaths fit under the expanded definition.