COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton are discussing the latest efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in Ohio during a briefing Wednesday afternoon.
As of Wednesday, there are 2,547 confirmed cases in the state, 679 leading to hospitalization. A total of 65 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.
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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.
Tuesday, President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Ohio, paving the way for federal assistance to the state.
DeWine said he is very happy about the declaration being approved. The declaration provides for state and local grants to organizations involved in the response to the pandemic. The declaration shifts some of the funding burden to the federal government.
The governor announced he is signing an executive order to provide assistance for small businesses with mortgage and rent payments.