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Ohio Could See Up To 8,000 COVID-19 Cases Per Day At Peak; Coronavirus Update, March 26, 2020

Updated: 4:38 p.m., Thursday, March 26, 2020

State health department officials are predicting anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 new cases of coronavirus a day when the epidemic peaks in Ohio, which is now expected in mid- or late April.

The new model from researchers at The Ohio State University factors in the effects of business closures and social spacing measures put in place by the state government in recent weeks, said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton Thursday.

“We’ve got to even clamp down more,” said Acton. “We’ve got to stay home and we can’t go the other direction right now.”

As of Thursday, the state reported 867 confirmed coronavirus cases — up from 704 the day before — 15 deaths and 223 hospitalizations.

According to the new projections, the anticipated need for N-95 respirator masks is almost 42 times greater than what are available.

Hospitals in Ohio are working on new ways to use medical devices and working on ways to dedicate entire hospitals to coronavirus patients, so other facilities can be used for procedures like giving birth and training surgeons who usually perform elective surgeries in ways to contribute once the COVID-19 surge hits.

“We are inventing things. We are building out hospitals and existing building structures, but we know that we will need more,” said Acton.

A stay-at-home order for Ohio is in effect. Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the closure of all K-12 schools in the state on March 12 and the closure of bars and restaurants on March 15. Without those and other measures taken by the state, the outbreak would have reached its peak by mid-March with close to 40,000 new daily cases, according to OSU’s projections.

“We’re really using the full force of mitigation now,” Acton said. More recommendations will be coming, she added, similar tothe federal government’s request that travelers leaving New York City, an outbreak hot-spot, self-quarantine for two weeks.

“I think there will be layers upon layers of subtlety,” Acton said. “But there isn’t anything that we have on the horizon right now.”