29 confirmed deaths in Ohio due to COVID-19; 1,653 confirmed cases statewide

Gov. DeWine working with President Trump after FDA limits expansion on mask-sterilizing technology

29 confirmed deaths in Ohio due to COVID-19; 1,653 confirmed cases statewide
File photo. (Source: The Associated Press)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There are 29 confirmed deaths in Ohio, with 1,653 confirmed cases statewide. The numbers were released by The Ohio Department of Health Sunday.

There are 403 patients in the hospital, and 139 number of patients in ICU. The median age is less than one-year-old, to 98-years-old. The media age is 52-years-old. 50% of males, and 49% of females are effected.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he is working with President Donald Trump after the FDA limited the expansion of mask-sterilizing technology.

Gov. DeWine will be addressing Ohioans today at 2 p.m. in Columbus, even though he initially postponed any conferences until Monday “unless urgent new news” came up.

You can watch the press conference below.

UPDATES FROM SUNDAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE:

  • Gov. DeWine said we do not have enough of N-95 masks. He said they are working very hard to find the masks, it is a problem that is happening all over the country.
  • He said Battelle is the largest, private, non-profit research and development organization in the world. Battelle’s historical inventions have included contributions to the Xerox copy machine, cruise control, the compact disc, and bar codes. They now have now developed machines with the capability to sterilize 80,000 used surgical masks a day. We have two of these machines in Ohio. One is in New York, with another on the way. One is ready to be sent to Seattle, and one to the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia area. They have the ability in the next few weeks to make 15 more machines and send them to different parts of the country.
  • Batelle is ready go forward, but they are waiting for FDA approval, Gov. DeWine said. He also said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted has been working on this. They have been waiting. A little after 1 a.m. they got what they thought was good news -- that they’d approved it and we could start moving forward. It was only partial approval from the FDA. He talked with President Trump, told him he would do everything he could to get full approval today so that these machines can be fully operational.
  • Gov. DeWine said he talked with the FDA commissioner a few minutes ago who said this will be cleared up Sunday. “We’re not there yet, but I’m hopeful,” Gov. DeWine said.
  • “We want everyone to know that we’ve been pushing this for a week,” Lt. Gov. Husted said. “We’ve been waiting patiently. We were told on Wednesday that they would have a solution by the end of the week, and when I got the call at 1:19 a.m. I was thrilled, but the devil was in the details. The sterilization was only allowed to occur on a limited basis - and that’s just not good enough. Your Governor, Lt. Governor - our entire team is fighting for personal protective equipment.”
  • “We’ve proven this technology and we’ve built a system that can clean and reuse masks up to 20 times.,” Battelle President and CEO Lewis Von Thaer said.
  • “I expect a decision today. I’m an impatient guy, but lives are literally at stake," Gov. DeWine said. "We want everyone in the country to understand the importance of this. It’s why I called the President. The FDA commissioner assured me this would be done today. I’m cautiously optimistic.”
  • “We plan to take masks from all over the state," Von Thaer said. "We are ready to help everyone.”
  • Gov. DeWine said he called President Trump Sunday morning: “The President called me back. I explained to him what is happening. We had a good conversation. He understands that we want to protect our first responders/hospital employees. He was great. He said “I’m moving. I’ll get this done.””
  • “This needs to get approved today,” Lt. Gov. Husted said.
  • Gov. DeWine said he will let everyone know once they get the approval.
  • “I think when we come out of this, one of the lessons we are learning as a country is that we have to invest more public health," Gov. DeWine said. "It’s not a Democrat problem, it’s not a Republican problem. The second lesson is that we never want to be in a position where we can’t buy very important medical equipment in this country. We have to source this equipment in this country.”
  • “We do what we have to do to protect Ohioans," Gov. DeWine said. "What happened today is we’ve compressed into a short period of time what sometimes takes days. We hope this will allow us to get the approval for Battelle before midnight tonight so that they can help us save people.”
  • Gov. DeWine said he was assured by the President and FDA Commissioner, the approval will happen Sunday.

The Governor tweeted out that the President "understands the problem and says he will do everything he can to get this approved today.”

The President also tweeted out his agreement with the Governor, saying the “FDA must move quickly!”

UPDATES FROM YESTERDAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE:

  • There are 25 deaths from coronavirus, and 1,406 confirmed cases statewide, The Ohio Department of Health said.
  • The Ohio Department of Health said there are 344 number of patients in the hospital, along with 123 in the ICU. The age range is from less than 1-year-old to 96-years-old, with a median age range of 52. 50% of males, and 49% of females are affected.
  • Battelle has developed new technology to sterilize surgical masks. As soon as it is approved by The FDA, the state of Ohio will begin using them, Gov. DeWine said.
  • Gov. DeWine said he issued an order last night for state contractors to our team that every state contractor with an essential state contract -- Their team will go out and check that they are following best practices. They’ve always been subject to this, but now we’re going out to make sure.
  • Gov. DeWine continued from his report from the Cleveland Clinic yesterday, which projects Ohio won’t be hit hard until about two weeks, and the states peak won’t hit until mid-May. Gov. DeWine said they may have to triple hospital capacity.
  • Gov. DeWine said hospitals are divided from eight regions submitted their draft action plans for their capacity increase. The Ohio Department of Health and Ohio National Guard are currently reviewing and will get back to the hospitals soon.
  • Gov. DeWine thanked the house of worship for doing their part of what they are doing to bring services to homes online to protect people. He said for those still doing services, they ask for you to not do that. He stresses to use technology. He explained later on during a question and answer with reporters that they made the decision when we did the order not to infringe on religious liberty, but this is a critical time -- for the safety of everyone, and he can’t imagine that there is anyone who would want to take that risk.
  • He also said there is no surprise we see shortage of personal protective equipment. Here are the top 10 most wanted items: (1) Surgical gowns (S, M, L, XL, XXX); (2) Face/surgical masks (adult/pediatric); (3) Gloves (nitrile, vinyl, or butyl); (4) N-95 particulate respirators; (5) Isolation gowns; (6) Face shields; (7) Tyvek coveralls; (8) Thermometers; (9) Foot coverings; (10) Ventilator tubing. If anyone already has these items, and you don’t need them - we need them. Please contact at: together@governor.ohio.gov.
  • Ohio Health Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton uses the hurricane analogy. She said we are flattening the curve in Ohio. She said we are making the hurricane now a category two or three. Pay attention to the blue line, that is who we are.
  • She said she would rather not have the elderly go out at all, and use the neighborhoods to help.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted thanked everyone in the education community for what they are doing.
  • He also said PBS stations will be offering educational television for kids to tune into starting Monday. For more info, please go here.
  • Lt. Gov. Husted said the federal package signed by President Trump; states had to opt into the provisions -- which includes 1,099 and self-employed individuals. Ohio has opted in. They are working on getting the system up and running.
  • He also told businesses that even when we start to phase out of this in the future, we are still going to have to practice safe workplace practices. You have to make sure the message is getting through all the way to your employees.
  • “Keep your chin up, we’re fighting through this," Lt. Gov. Husted said. "We’re going to get through this. By our actions, we can all be part of the solution.”
  • “I’ve heard horrifying stories of people without insurance being turned away across the country," Dr. Amy Acton said. "We don’t want hospitals to turn anyone away in Ohio.”
  • The Ohio National Guard will be helping hospitals where they can. The whole goal is to increase capacity as soon as possible. Gov. DeWine said the team is working every day to try to obtain more ventilators.
  • Gov. DeWine said at least two of our hospitals have figured out how to put more than one person on a ventilator. Innovation is happening in Ohio.
  • Gov. DeWine said they had a conversation with mayors this morning. Different health departments are going out and closing businesses that are not essential. You can expect that to continue. Today he asked all the chiefs of police to give them a report of what they are seeing as far as compliance.
  • “The numbers are a range," Dr. Amy Acton said. "I know 8,000-10,000 sounds like a lot, but that really isn’t a huge amount of Ohioans. We want it to spread slower, but it is spreading. When we stay home, the effectiveness will show up in our data a few weeks from now. It’s complicated, but you don’t have to trust the modeling to see what’s happening in other states. We are planning for worst-case scenarios with the hope that everything we do will take us away from that number. We are lengthening the onset of the peak time and flattening the curve. The flattening is happening in Ohio, but how much we flatten will depend on all of us.”

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