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Coronavirus In Ohio: DeWine Expand Telehealth Access To Counselors

Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at his daily coronavirus press conference on March 30, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order to expand telehealth in the state on Saturday to help with fight the spread of coronavirus.

The order will allow Ohioans to more easily access services with mental health workers like social workers, counselors and marriage counselors. Patients will be able to see such professionals without first having had an in-person consultation. He also waived telehealth training for these providers.

DeWine said during his daily press conference that he sent part of the day working on building capacity at hospitals. The state is increasing the number of hospital beds by cutting down on elective surgeries, having the Ohio National Guard add hospital space, and hospitals creating more rooms on their campuses. DeWine said he'll elaborate on making more hospital beds available next week. 

As of Saturday, April 4 at 2 p.m., there are 3,739 cases and 102 deaths of or due to COVID-19.  

The CDC issued guidance Friday regarding face masks in public. It endorses cloth face masks as a preventive measure towards contracting and spreading COVID-19.

DeWine said he intends to wear a homemade cloth mask created by his wife, Fran, in public from now on, and encourages others to allow masks to become socially acceptable. The state added instructions to its coronavirus website on how to make cloth maks. Both DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said the masks are not a substitute for social distancing or the stay-at-home order.

Battelle is sterilizing N-95 masks for Ohio's hospitals free for a couple of weeks, so DeWine encourages hospitals to bring their masks to be cleaned. That technology will allow masks to be re-used up to 20 times.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said there is a link on the state’s COVID-19 website to help people gain access to hot spots for better internet access.

Coronavirus In Ohio: Live Coverage