County cases steady; Ohio needs supplies

Staff and wire report

Champaign County’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases held steady at a total of 4, according to information released by the Champaign Health District (CHD) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The county has reported no deaths from COVID-19 since the cases began being tallied. Geographical locations and details of cases are not disclosed in the daily report.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 2,547 confirmed cases in Ohio as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, 65 deaths, 679 hospitalizations and 222 intensive care unit admissions.

Local hospital readiness

In response to questions posed by the Urbana Daily Citizen regarding capacity and readiness for COVID-19 cases, Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital officials confirmed on Wednesday afternoon the local facility “can care for COVID-19 patients. Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center adds to our capacity to care for COVID-19 patients and we can transfer patients who need a higher level of care to Springfield Regional Medical Center.”

Mercy Health officials added, “More generally, detailed data about hospital surge capacity in the state is coordinated and compiled by state and local health authorities. The most accurate capacity information should be obtained from these coordinating agencies. Mercy Health has plans in place to enhance capacity and we are working collaboratively with other health care and government agencies through this unprecedented event.”

More state developments

The Ohio Department of Health said it’s received Ohio’s allotment of personal protective equipment from the national strategic stockpile. That includes more than 100,000 gowns, nearly 500,000 gloves, and more than 670,000 masks. But Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said the supplies don’t meet the state’s needs and urged that supplies be conserved and new items donated.

Acton issued an order Wednesday to improve COVID-19 testing turnaround time. According to the Champaign Health District, this order is directed toward hospitals that send specimens to a third-party lab. Providers will now be required to send specimens to other hospitals that are testing. Hospitals with testing capacity are encouraged to take steps to do so. Private lab testing will no longer be happening due to a 5-6 day waiting period for results. The ODH lab will continue to analyze tests.

According to the CDH, DeWine signed an executive order Wednesday to further assist rent and mortgage payments of small businesses. The order suspends payments on rent and mortgages for 90 days. The goal is to stop foreclosures during this time, as well as to help renters and lenders.

In-person church gatherings

“It is not a Christian thing to do.” DeWine, responding to reports that some churches are continuing to hold services. DeWine called that practice “a huge mistake.”

People who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can now order groceries online. This reduces contact with others, and reduces the amount of time people are in public.

Nation to state

President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration late Tuesday for Ohio and ordered federal help for state and local recovery efforts. DeWine had been urging such a move.

The declaration provides grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to state and local governments; covers expenses related to emergency operation centers, state agency purchasing, disinfection practices, PPE, temporary medical facilities, and more; and allows federal assistance to local government such as the National Guard. DeWine said he’s sending the National Guard to Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus to assess spaces for extra hospital beds for an anticipated surge in cases. Gov. Mike DeWine Gov. Mike DeWine Gov. Mike DeWine Gov. Mike DeWine Department of Health Department of Health

Staff and wire report