Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made a plea to manufacturers across the state to help provide personal protective equipment to Ohio's health care workers.
"If you are a manufacturer and you can make any of this stuff, we need to hear from you right away," DeWine said at the March 28 press conference on COVID-19 and the state's response at the Ohio Statehouse.
DeWine unveiled a list of the top 10 most wanted items:
- surgical gowns (S, M, L, XL, XXL)
- face/surgical masks (adult, pediatric)
- gloves (nitrile, vinyl or butyl)
- N-95 particulate respirators
- isolation gowns
- face shields
- Tyvek coveralls
- foot coverings
- ventilator tubing
"It takes a total of 66 pieces of PPE for one patient for one day, so we must conserve this life-saving gear," DeWine said.
Anyone who has these items and can give them, or who can produce these items, is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
We've had a lot of help, DeWine said, but we need more.
The governor also made a public plea to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a process developed by Battelle that would sterilize surgical masks. When the process is approved, Battelle would be able to sterilize 160,000 surgical masks a day in Ohio alone.
"Please, please give us the approval to use these," DeWine said. "We have nurses, we have doctors, we have people working at nursing homes who need the masks. They need these as we move forward and as we go farther down the line in regard to the pandemic we are in. ... It truly is a matter of life and death. We need to be able to protect our people who are risking their lives every day."
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Acton likened the pandemic to a hurricane. Models can give us an idea of where the hurricane might land, but can't say exactly where it will hit. As it gets closer, the predictions get better, Acton said.
The prediction of 8,000 to 10,000 new cases a day may seem high, Acton said, but the actions taken by the state and by Ohioans is flattening the curve and shrinking those numbers. There is no scenario without a hurricane, she said, but stopping the spread of the coronavirus is making a difference for the frontline health care workers.
Among other points DeWine addressed:
- The state will be checking with all state contractors with essential contracts to ensure they are following best practices.
- As the weather gets warmer, Ohioans will want to spend more time outside, but they still need to practice social distancing.
- Hospitals in eight regions of the state have submitted their draft action plans for the capacity increase. All hospitals in each region will have one plan and need one voice, working closely together, to help Ohio get through the pandemic.
- Those who are still conducting religious services should reconsider. Congregating is dangerous and poses a risk.
- Local health departments are closing businesses that are not essential.
Among the updates from Lt. Gov. Jon Husted:
- Beginning March 30, Ohio public broadcasting stations are offering educational programming for pre-K through high school to help supplement the students' learning experience at home.
- The state is building up its capacity to handle unemployment filings online and in its call center. All benefits will be retroactive.
- Essential businesses need to ensure their policies to keep employees and customers healthy are more than just a policy. Safe practices must be followed all the way through the system.
The daily press conference featured a smaller behind-the-scenes crew on March 28. A staff member from the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, which helps facilitate the daily press conferences, had fallen ill with pneumonia. So officials took extra precautions and reduced the number of people working at the press conference, including fewer technical staff members and the absence of the interpreters, who were available on the Facebook page for Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. DeWine said the individual has tested negative for COVID-19.
The press conference started with a phone call from Sen. Sherrod Brown, who praised the supply chain in Ohio. He said it will be essential for the public and private sectors to work together to keep Ohioans safe, and said he would be working with Sen. Rob Portman and DeWine to help Ohioans. Brown thanked the state's leadership and frontline workers for providing essential services during the pandemic.
Ohio now has 1,406 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths, the Ohio Department of Health reported March 28. That's an increase of 269 confirmed cases and six deaths since March 27.
Franklin County accounts for 222 of the confirmed cases, 29 hospitalizations and two deaths.
The confirmed cases span 66 of Ohio's 88 counties. Some counties do not yet have testing, Acton said.
The ODH reports 344 individuals have been hospitalized, and 123 have been admitted to the ICU due to the coronavirus.
Health care workers constitute 246 (17%) of the cases, and 39 (3%) of the confirmed cases are long-term care residents.
The individuals who have tested positive range in age from less than 1 year old to 96 years old, with a median age of 52.
If you have questions regarding COVID-19, call 833-4ASKODH (833-427-5634) or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.