“If anyone has any of these, we need them,” DeWine said. “If you’re not in a critical medical field and you have these, we need them.”
Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus also is developing technology to sterilize surgical masks so they can be re-used in a medical setting, DeWine said during his daily news conference on Saturday. The governor appealed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the technology sooner than later.
“Please, please approve these,” DeWine said. “This would boost our capacity to be able to re-use these. Please do this. It really is truly a matter of life and death.”
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Ohio’s confirmed coronavirus cases climbed to 1,406, including 344 hospitalizations and 25 deaths, as the state heads into what is expected to be a steep increase in cases. The deaths in Ohio include four Miami County nursing-home residents, who are now confirmed to have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus.
The Cleveland Clinic estimates that Ohio would have to double, possibly even triple the capacity of hospital beds to deal with the amount of incoming cases.
According to the same report delivered from the clinic to the state on Friday morning, the peak of the curve might not come until mid-May, which is later than originally predicted.
“The only way we can get through this, is all the hospitals working together, having one plan and continuing to work very closely together,” DeWine said. “We also ask each region of hospitals to remember your community partners. People who are not infected could use other spaces. We know some of you are looking at hotels, some of you are looking at hospitals that have been closed.”
DeWine thanked churches who moved their services online and warned churches who are continuing to meet in person against spreading the virus. While he said he would not order them not to gather, he asked those that are still actively meeting in person to “please stop.”
“Let’s not congregate together, it’s much much too dangerous,” DeWine said. “It is not a wise thing.”
Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, commended those who are following the social distancing measures.
“You are flattening the curve,” Acton said. “We know we are blunting the curve. We’re making a hurricane a three or a two instead of a four or a five.”
The social distancing and staying home practices are ways the public is stretching out the day of peak impact of the hurricane and making it a weaker storm all together, Acton said. However, she said there is no scenario where there is no hurricane at all.
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Acton encouraged Ohioans to reach out to vulnerable people in their neighborhood to ask how they might help. She suggested that people buy groceries or run errands for someone who could be especially vulnerable to the virus, especially the elderly. She recommended elderly people not leave their homes.
Ohio public broadcasting stations will begin showing educational television for children starting on Monday, Ohio Lt. Gov. John Husted said. Those shows should be a help for homes with no internet access, he said. More information on that programming and other educational assistance for families can be found online at coronavirus.ohio.gov/learnathome.