hospitals

Starr Roden, left, a registered nurse and immunization outreach coordinator with the Knox County Health Department, administers a vaccination to Jonathan Detweiler, 6, at the facility in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Child vaccinations in Ohio dropped dramatically in the first full month after the state shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As doctors around the country have expressed concerns that people are avoiding hospitals due to the pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) is urging Ohioans to continue seeking care for other ailments outside of the coronavirus. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, tours decontamination units at a COVID-19 testing site with Sean Harrington, of Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System, right, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Miami Gardens.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

In late March, workers at a Columbus warehouse were loading Battelle’s Critical Care Decontamination Systems onto truck beds. The technology is the first of its kind – modular so they could be easily shipped to coronavirus hot spots, with the promise of being able to clean 80,000 pieces of personal protective equipment for re-use up to 20 times.

On April 1 Teasha Tennyson gave birth to a six-pound, five-ounce baby at Good Samaritan Hospital. She'd already had a less than ideal birthing process there with her first child.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced Wednesday the state has received enough remdesivir from the federal government to treat about 100 patients.

The antiviral drug has shown promise treating COVID-19 patients and received Emergency Use Authorization recently from the Food and Drug Administration.

Two F-16s and a KC-135 with the 121st Air Refueling Wing of the Ohio National Guard conduct a flyby near the Wexner Medical Center.
Debbie Holmes / WOSU

The Ohio Air National Guard conducted a flyby Wednesday over several Columbus-area hospitals to honor the work of health care professionals, first responders, military personnel, and other essential workers during the pandemic. 

As hospitals were overrun by coronavirus patients in other parts of the world, the Army Corps of Engineers mobilized in the U.S., hiring private contractors to build emergency field hospitals around the country.

The endeavor cost more than $660 million, according to an NPR analysis of federal spending records.

But nearly four months into the pandemic, most of these facilities haven't treated a single patient.

Registered Nurse Janice Tatonetti, right, takes the temperature of Harry Pearson before he votes in Ohio's primary election at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

The nurse I’m speaking with over Zoom is rolling dough while her kids play in the background. She’s making three loaves of bread.

“I’m used to doing like a million things at once, so I can talk,” she assures me.

Like all hospitals in Ohio, Riverside Methodist Hopsital in Columbus has been told to cancel all non-essential and non-elective surgeries.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

May 1 marks the beginning of the re-opening of Ohio. It’s a gradual process, but the first step is to once again allow non-essential surgeries that don’t require an overnight stay or excessive PPE.

Dental Hygienist Kayla Whitmer works on a patient in Aspen Dental's MouthMobile, a dentist office on wheels, Thursday, May 7, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio.
Jay LaPrete / Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are all in agreement: non-emergency dental procedures should be postponed until further notice. 

People who have put off a medical check-up or procedures due to the coronavirus can begin to make appointments again starting Friday May 1, 2020. There are several changes in store, however, for patients when they arrive for medical visits.

The first phase of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s reopening plan includes allowing elective procedures and in-person doctor visits. Elective surgeries involving an overnight hospital stay are allowed under some specific conditions, such as if the patient is in extreme pain.

The national stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplied Ohio with more than 493,000 gloves, 271,000 N95 masks, 675,000 surgical masks and other gear.

But state and local leaders say those shipments weren’t enough to mount a proper defense against the coronavirus pandemic. So local governments have been asking for PPE donations — and in some cases, buying their own gear.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday a partial rollback on his ban on elective medical procedures in Ohio — the same day University Hospitals announced staff pay cuts. Less than 24 hours later, UH also said it plans to shut down some emergency services by the end of the month.

Inside a hospital "room" for coronavirus patients at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Greater Columbus Convention Center

The Ohio Department of Health reports 1,999 people, or about 17%, of Ohio's confirmed coronavirus cases, are health care workers. The Ohio Nurses Association, a union representing 8,000 nurses across the state, says it wants details on where those cases are located.

As the number of coronavirus cases surged in Massachusetts, nurses at a hospital in Milford were desperate. They held up cardboard signs outside the hospital asking for donations of protective gear to wear while treating infected patients.

William Touhey Jr. thought he could help. Touhey is the fire chief and emergency management director in this small town outside of Boston. He did some legwork, and placed an order for 30,000 protective gowns from overseas.

"We were hearing good things that it was coming," Touhey said.

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