Ohio hospitals will have to triple capacity for predicted mid-May coronavirus peak, according to Cleveland Clinic

Ohio Gov. DeWine shows latest modeling
Ohio Gov. DeWine shows latest modeling(Source: Ohio Statehouse TV)
Updated: Mar. 27, 2020 at 3:25 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The latest coronavirus projections from the Cleveland Clinic have prompted Gov. Mike DeWine to begin executing a plan to significantly increase capacity in Ohio’s hospitals.

The Governor announced during Friday’s briefing that swift and immediate actions are being taken after speaking with officials from the Cleveland Clinic regarding the hospital’s latest prediction.

19 deaths from coronavirus in Ohio, 1137 cases confirmed statewide

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Friday, March 27, 2020

Within the next two weeks, the Cleveland Clinic expects the pandemic to worsen in Ohio.

“It’s going to kick in much harder,” DeWine said on Friday when speaking about his call with the Cleveland Clinic.

The latest modeling from the Cleveland Clinic now projects a surge to peak by mid-May, according to DeWine.

“The good news: Our hospitals have all been thinking about this, planning for this, beginning to move forward,” the Governor said.

DeWine ordered the Ohio National Guard to begin with building additional facilities or space for future patients to adhere to the Cleveland Clinic’s recommendations, which predicts statewide hospital space needs to increase by up to three times.

“There is no health care system in the world that can take on this virus when it was built,” Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said.

Currently, Ohio’s hospitals are at about 60% capacity.

Increasing the hospitals’ capacity will require increased staffing; a real concern given the fact that approximately 16% of all Ohioans who tested positive for the coronavirus are health care workers.

To accommodate with a potential shortage, Dr. Acton and Governor said certain medical personnel can be transferred to other areas of the hospital system. For example, physicians who regularly performed the now-postponed non-essential procedures may be asked to perform nursing duties, or plastic surgeons could be shuffled to work in intensive care units.

House Bill 197, which was signed on Friday by Gov. DeWine, also includes language that allows nursing graduates to obtain a temporary license to begin practicing.

DeWine said that the state has been divided into eight regions. The teams tasked with overseeing each region has been asked to submit preliminary ideas for hospital buildup by Saturday morning with a final plan in place by Monday.

Dr. Acton said on Thursday that she could not rule out the possibility of up to 8,000 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed on any given day between now and May, but she changed that figure on Friday, saying the figure is likely closer to 10,000 cases reported daily.

“If you don’t believe that we could see 10,000 new cases a day; we’ve tried to describe what the science tells us,” DeWine described. “Hospitals looking at the modeling and say that this is coming. It’s here.”

As of March 27, at least 19 individuals have died from COVID-19 with 1,137 confirmed cases statewide.

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