COVID-19

MANSFIELD -- Gov. Mike DeWine will deliver a statewide broadcast on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to "discuss the critical stage Ohio is at in battling COVID-19 and its impact on Ohio moving forward," according to a press release from his office.

The broadcast will be made available to networks in the state and also streamed live on the Ohio Channel website: http://ohiochannel.org.

The governor cancelled his planned Tuesday 2 p.m. press conference, his office announced.

Support Our Journalism

Facts over fear:

That's been our guiding light as we navigate the uncharted waters of this pandemic. If you think we've been good stewards, consider a membership today. 100% of your support goes to our reporting efforts. Above all, thank you for taking this journey with us. Stay safe, stay healthy.

On Monday, DeWine assembled a press conference that included medical leaders from around the state, who cautioned residents the ongoing recent rise in the spread of COVID-19 around the state is not sustainable -- in terms of physical hospital space or for hospital staff members.

"We are grappling with unprecedented COVID-19 numbers and they are impacting every community. Our hospitals statewide are approaching maximum capacity. We are exhausting the available supply of trained personnel. We need your help with masking, distancing and hand hygiene," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhof, announced last week as the Ohio Department of Health's chief medical officer

"If we don't control the spread, we won't be able to continue caring for the acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent, care. This kind of shift could happen in a matter of weeks if trends don't change. We are seeing an increasing demand on our staffing. Every county in the state is feeling the brunt," said Vanderhof,  who had been the senior vice president and chief medical officer for OhioHealth.

Based on information from the Ohio Department of Health, it does not appear Richland County hospitals are overwhelmed at this point, though the county remains "red," or level three in the color-coded Public Health Advisory System. The county has been level three for six straight weeks and is also considered "high incidence" for community spread of the virus under CDC standards.

Richland Public Health reported on Monday there are 56 county residents hospitalized for COVID-19 in the county. The number of patients in local ICU beds was not released.

According to the Johns Hopkins University website, Richland County has 41 ICU beds, 279 staffed beds and 409 licensed beds.

A licensed bed is the maximum number of beds for which a hospital holds a license to operate. Many hospitals do not operate all of the beds for which they are licensed. Staffed beds are beds licensed and physically available for which staff is on hand to attend to the patient who occupies the bed. Staffed beds include those that are occupied and those that are vacant, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Since the state launched its Public Health Advisory System website on July 30, Richland County has triggered the "sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions" three times in 15 weeks of the color-coded system used to monitor community spread of the virus.

With this indicator, a county is flagged if it reports an "increasing trend of at least five consecutive days in the number of new hospitalizations due to COVID over the last three weeks."

Richland County met this indicator on Oct. 1, 8 and 15, but has not been flagged for it in the three weeks that followed. The county saw an increase of COVID-19 hospitalizations from Sept. 19 through Sept. 30, though it has not triggered the indicator for the last three weeks.

In terms of ICU bed usage for COVID-19 patients, the 13-county region which includes Richland County has never triggered the indicator that monitors this aspect of the pandemic.

According to the ODH, a district meets this indicator "if the percentage of the occupied ICU beds in each region goes above 80 percent for at least three days in the last week, and more than 20 percent of ICU beds are being used for COVID-19 positive patients for at least three days in the last week."

The region has seen an increase in ICU bed usage for COVID since mid-September. The percentage of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients has grown from 1.69 percent on Sept. 19 and peaked at 12.64 percent on Oct. 26. It has declined since then and was at 11.06 percent on Nov. 3.

During a Richland County commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Commissioner Marilyn John said local "capacity is a concern on both fronts, both in terms of the number of beds and ICU beds."

Given the tenor of the governor's press conference on Monday, John said she was hopeful that "a readable report (on local hospital/ICU usage) that is understandable by the public should be on everyone's agenda."

Commissioner Tony Vero said he had a meeting planned Friday with local hospital leaders and hoped to be able to provide additional information.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"