COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and Lt. Governor Jon Husted are scheduled to hold a 2pm news conference, Thursday, to provide updated information on the state’s response to the spread of COVID-19.
As of Thursday, there are 2,902 confirmed cases in the state, 802 leading to hospitalization. A total of 81 deaths have been reported.
Dr. Acton says the number of positive cases reflects the fact that the state still has limited testing available.
The latest models project a mid-to-late-April peak for coronavirus cases in Ohio.
Governor DeWine showed a new division of dividing hospital capacity in the state. Normally, hospitals coordinate their efforts in eight regions. The state is now grouping those regions into three zones.
DeWine also announced the start of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19. The alliance is a group of organization that are coming together to manufacture materials needed to fight the virus in the state.
Anyone who believes they can help the effort should visit https://repurposingproject.com/.
Dr. Amy Acton signed an order Wednesday requiring hospitals to send their tests to other hospitals to process instead of private labs. DeWine called the turnaround time from private labs unacceptable.
The order will also allow the state to use rapid testing. Although those tests are not here yet, the Governor said he believes they will be in the next week. These tests will help speed up the process but Ohio will still have a limited number of tests.
“We still have fractional testing and even when we have the rapid test they are going to be, it makes it go faster but it doesn’t give us a huge volume more,” said Dr. Amy Acton.
In order to ensure the most vulnerable Ohioans have access to food, DeWine said they have been working with the USDA to enable a ‘click and collect’ for SNAP recipients. Those receiving SNAP benefits are able to shop online and swipe their EBT card from their car.
The governor also announced he is signing an executive order to provide assistance for small businesses with mortgage and rent payments.
The latest unemployment numbers in Ohio were released Thursday, with more than 270,000 claims filed in the state for the week ending March 28.