Gov. DeWine urges caution, warns of hospital surge during Toledo visit

Area hospitals are prepared for that surge, but resources could still run out if the case numbers continue to mount in the way they have been in recent weeks.
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 12:27 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SWANTON, Ohio (WTVG) - Governor Mike DeWine made an unannounced stop at Toledo Express Airport on Wednesday as the state continues to see a massive spike in COVID-19 cases. The governor was joined by Dr. Brian Kaminski from ProMedica Toledo Hospital to make a pointed plea for residents of Northwest Ohio to do what they can to limit the spread of the virus in the region.

“This threatens keeping our schools open, keeping our kids in school,” said the governor. “When you have wide community spread, it threatens our nursing homes and our loved ones in nursing homes. And it threatens our hospitals and the ability of hospitals to carry out their function every single day.”

The Governor is asking people to scale things back. Not a total stop of our daily lives but each day asking people to take one step back.

In the meantime, he’s asking people to limit personal contact, maybe fewer trips to the store or out to eat. Think about takeout like so many did in the spring. DeWine asked about Ohio’s new curfew, from 10pm until 5am that begins Thursday and whether this timeframe will slow the virus.

“The virus can spread at any time, 24/7. We don’t want to shut the economy down. We don’t want to have a total lockdown in Ohio,” said DeWine.

DeWine has made a similar pitch from this exact place, he did that in October. Even with numbers going up DeWine believes his message of masks, hygiene and distancing is getting through.

“The further along we get, as people see there’s more spread. Now they’re starting to know people who have COVID, know people who have died from COVID,” said DeWine. DeWine says if everyone gets behind this slowdown future shutdowns can hopefully be prevented.

DeWine says that even if there is no shutdown if people don’t feel safe going out and choose not to go out that too will have a devastating effect on the economy.

For his part, Dr. Kaminski stressed the fact that resources at Northwest Ohio hospitals are being threatened by the surge in virus cases, saying that the number of hospitalized patients in area hospitals has tripled in the last three weeks and they expect the number to grow.

“There is no doubt that our hospital systems will be overwhelmed,” said Kaminski.

Area hospitals are prepared for that surge, but resources could still run out if the case numbers continue to mount in the way they have been in recent weeks. While hospitals will be able to switch to surge capacity -- transferring medical staff from different departments to help with the number of COVID-19 patients -- staffing remains a primary concern for hospital administrators. As Dr. Kaminski pointed out Wednesday, and as other hospital and health officials have been warning, doctors and nurses risk exposure to COVID-19 both in their jobs and in their communities. Cutting back on community spread can also help protect those frontline healthcare workers.

Gov. DeWine was certain to point out that there is a light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the recent announcement of two vaccines in final stages of clinical trials. The governor says he hopes to be able to start distributing those vaccines to vulnerable populations starting as early as December, but admits that larger distribution will likely not come for some months.

Until then, the governor is taking steps to try to force residents to limit exposure, including a new retail curfew that begins at 10 PM on Thursday and runs for at least three weeks. Businesses will have to close to customers between 10 PM and 5 AM. That’s in addition to an expanded mask mandate in retail locations, which includes penalties for businesses that fail to enforce it.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.