COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, and Lt. Governor Jon Husted held their daily briefing on the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the state at 2pm, Thursday.
As of Thursday, there are 5,512 cases reported leading to 1,612 hospitalizations and 213 deaths.
Of Ohio’s 88 counties, 84 have reported a positive case of the coronavirus.
To start Thursday’s news conference, Gov. DeWine announced the Ohio Manufacture Alliance has teamed up for a large scale production of face shields to be sent to health care workers.
“These are true partnerships, Ohioans coming together,” said DeWine.
Nearly 1 million face shields over the next five weeks will be distributed to Ohio Department of Health which will distribute them throughout the state.
DeWine then touched on modeling in the state and how the initial reports on the amount of people projected to be diagnosed daily with the coronavirus were wrong.
“Ohioans have made a difference. We have made a huge difference.”
Lt. Governor Husted talked Thursday about a text he received Tuesday from Dr. Dean Kereiakes from the Linder Center for Research and Education at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati with some good news regarding the coronavirus. Dr. Kereisakes informed Husted that The Chris Hospital has plasma protocol in place for people who are most at risk for death of COVID-19.
“This allows healthcare workers to identify those individuals earlier and treat them earlier, which they believe will help save lives,” Husted said.
Husted also announced Ohio Job and Family Services has grown their team processing unemployment claims in the state to 20 times.
Thursday morning, the ODJFS announced 226,007 people had filed for unemployment in the state for the week of April 4. That’s the second straight week of more than 200,000 claims.
After talking about the number of cases in the state, Dr Acton announced 55,000 people had been tested, but says Ohio is still struggling with the lack of testing.
“We have some hope on that horizon. We have whole teams of folks working to expedite testing in the state,” said Acton.
However, during Thursday’s briefing, protesters could be heard in the background from the outside of the Statehouse.
“O-H-I-O! Acton’s got to go!” the protestors shouted.
Both the governor and Dr. Acton addressed the protests going on outside the statehouse.
“I want to say to you Ohioans, stay strong, keep doing the right thing,” Acton said. “There are people protesting right now outside the statehouse. People are worried, they’re afraid, they’re afraid about things like their jobs, and I want you to know, we are working just as rigorously on the recovery from this. We’ve been determined to protect Ohioans from the beginning, and the steps you’re taking and continuing to take are saving lives.”
DeWine also talked about the possibility of students returning to session before the end of the school year.
When asked about the reopening of schools, DeWine stated he wanted to bring students back but it was all pending the spread of the virus in the state.
“There are indicators that we are looking at; the hospitalization rate, for example. You look at that rate, how that is coming,” said DeWine. “We certainly have a ways to go. The death rate continue to go up tragically in Ohio.”
Last week, DeWine ordered schools to be closed until at least May 1, and said that date will be reevaluated as the time gets closer.