COLUMBUS (WYTV) – Another day brought new developments in the COVID-19 outbreak. On Tuesday, we learned there are four total confirmed cases in our area.
Health departments say there are 67 cases across Ohio, including two in Mahoning County and two in Trumbull County. The pandemic has affected 16 counties across the state.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held his seventh-straight press conference in Columbus Tuesday afternoon, addressing the coronavirus. One of the main issues discussed was how hospitals will deal with this long-term and the kinds of surgeries that will be allowed during this time.
Basically, all elective surgeries have been canceled for the time being. The following surgeries will still happen:
- Any life-saving surgery or surgery to save an organ or limb
- Any surgery to reduce the risk of growth for cancer
- Surgeries to reduce the risk of severe progression of symptoms
Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer of the OSU Wexner Medical Center, said one of the reasons for reducing surgeries is to allow for more social distancing in hospitals.
“Also, it preserves key equipment. So ventilators, it allows us to free up staff to perform other functions, whether that’s screening, swabbing or really caring for more and more patients that we’re getting in our hospitals that are being ruled out for coronavirus.”
He said they want people to realize conserving personal protective equipment (PPE), like surgical masks and gloves, is “paramount.”
“If we don’t do conservation steps now, we will not have health care workers that are protected to care for the most sick.”
PPE is much needed around the state right now. If dentists, veterinarians, schools or restaurants have PPE they will not be using, those items can be dropped off at your county emergency management agency.
Ohio has received its allocated amount from the national stockpile and won’t get anymore.
DeWine also mentioned old, recently-closed hospitals could be put back online.
In Pennsylvania, the department of health is working to open public testing sites for coronavirus in Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
The state now says it’s dealing with 96 confirmed cases — still none in Mercer or Lawrence counties.
Health systems and hospitals are working to set up their own local sample sites and testing labs.
Amtrak is shutting down lines in Pennsylvania and the turnpike is ending dining at its service plazas.
“We are asking businesses to take a common-sense approach to this and to follow the governor’s directive,” said Neil Weaver, with the Department of Community & Economic Development. “We don’t think and the governor does not believe that this is the best use of our public safety.”
Employers are urged to allow employees to work from home.
The Department of Labor and Industry announced workers impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits.