Elective Medical Procedures To Resume As Ohio Moves To Ease Coronavirus Restrictions!

Ideastream.org, By Jess Mador-WYSO, Posted April 29th 2020

The thousands of Ohioans whose elective medical procedures were postponed during the coronavirus outbreak will soon be able to access needed treatment, with first priority will be given to patients awaiting surgeries.

The state announced a halt to elective procedures March 17 in hopes of preserving scarce masks, gloves and other protective equipment (PPE) desperately needed for health-care workers, as well as ICU beds and other critical medical resources.

The governor urged physicians to talk with patients in need of elective procedures to assess their health and quality of life and determine which procedures should move forward. Diagnostic procedures and those needed to address chronic conditions could also be considered, if a patient’s health issues are interfering with their quality of life.

“Patients must be informed of the risk, of course, of contracting COVID-19, and that impact during the post-operative recovery process,” DeWine said.

DeWine will sign an order allowing procedures that do not require an overnight stay in the hospital to resume. There are exceptions to the overnight stay rule, such as cases involving cancer or extreme pain. The order also applies to dentistry and veterinary offices. 

The governor did not announce a timeline for reopening private medical and dental offices.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reports more than 14,000 COVID-19 cases statewide, including 13,609 cases confirmed through testing and another roughly 500 probable cases.

Ohio hospitals are counting more critically ill COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU with dangerously low oxygen levels, ODH Director Dr. Amy Acton said. Acton said it’s important to identify positive COVID-19 cases earlier to prevent more people from deteriorating at home and having to come to the ICU as beds fill up.

Test kits remain in short supply, but DeWine said the state continues to expand its ability test for COVID-19, to test for antibodies among survivors and to conduct broader contact tracing to better identify cases and potential viral hotspots where the disease could spread quickly. DeWine said he’s growing more “optimistic” about the state’s testing capacity, especially among health workers and other essential employees.

Ohio has launched a new mental-health assistance hotline to help anyone struggling with isolation, stress, addiction or other issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. The hotline is staffed with licensed, trained counseling professionals and is designed to provide real-time assistance as well as connect callers who need it with continuing care in their communities down the road.

Anyone in need of emotional support can call 800-720-9616 daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. After 8 p.m., calls will be routed to a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services officials said.

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