Governor DeWine announces order to delay elective surgeries


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Governor Mike DeWine said he will be making an order to postpone elective surgeries to help preserve equipment and staff to treat COVID- 19 patients.

On Tuesday, DeWine also spoke about postponing the Presidential Primary election that was scheduled for March 17, and said they are making a recommendation to move the primary to June 2.

Then DeWine and health professionals spoke about the anticipated hospital surge. They said the surge will happen but by implementing these orders they have been giving, they could cut it by two-thirds.

They said they are getting creative in finding ways to allocate resources to hospitals as they prepare for the cases to increase.

DeWine said he will be making an order that postpones all elective surgeries, not because the hospitals are unsafe but because it will allow the hospitals to focus on priority cases.

Dr. Andy Thomas with the Ohio State University Wexner Center said this order postponing elective surgeries helps with social distancing at the hospital, but the main reason is it saves personal protective equipment, personnel, beds, ventilators and other equipment that they will need to treat coronavirus patients.

Thomas said they have decided on four categories of what qualifies as a necessary surgery that will not be postponed.

“Preservation of life, preservation of an organ or limb, preventing progression of disease or metastases for cancer, or progression of severe symptoms,” said Thomas. “Anything that fits in those four categories will still be able to be done in a routine basis as it’s been scheduled and potentially even moved up as other elective surgeries are removed from the schedule.”

In addition to help the upcoming increase of cases, health officials said veterinarians and dentist offices are donating personal protective equipment to hospitals.

They said some nursing homes and hotels could set up makeshift hospital rooms where they could care for people who are not coronavirus patients and need more traditional hospital services among other ways.

“I have talked to hospital leaders throughout our state who have been in contact with their local leaders to talk about reopening hospitals that have recently closed,” said Mike Abrams, the President and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association. “Premier Health has partnered with the University of Dayton, so now at UD arena, instead of seeing a basketball game you might see safe testing going on because they wanted to do that off site from the hospital. So there is a lot of innovation and creativity being offered to the healthcare infrastructure right now to make sure we can safely prepare for a surge.”

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