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Coronavirus In Ohio: DeWine Names New Leaders For State Health Department

Stephanie McCloud, left, and Bruce Vanderhoff, right.
Bureau of Workers Compensation and Ohio Health
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Stephanie McCloud, left, and Bruce Vanderhoff, right.

Gov. Mike DeWine named two new leaders to the Ohio Department of Health on Thursday, while the state set a new record for daily COVID-19 cases.

Stephanie McCloud is the new director of the Ohio Department of Health. McCloud currently leads the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“Director McCloud understands how state government operates, and she knows how to get things done. She's a collaborator. She has the management and administrative expertise we need in these challenging times,” DeWine said. “She has the experience necessary to lead the department as it carries out its vitally important health functions, while at the same time battling this pandemic.”

DeWine also named Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff as the department's chief medical officer. Vanderhoff currently serves as chief medical officer for Ohio Health.

“We’re delighted he has accepted this position,” DeWine said. “[Vanderhoff] has years of real life experiences, leading large teams and successfully dealing with important health care issues here in Ohio,” said DeWine. “He prepared Ohio Health to deal with the threat of Ebola and the H1N1 flu pandemic. He's grappled with the pressing health care issues affecting the entire state from rural Appalachia to metropolitan Ohio.”

Lance Himes, who has been serving as the interim health director since the departure of former Health Department director Dr. Amy Acton in June, will remain with the department as a senior deputy. DeWine said Himes will lead the effort to work with local health departments and distribute a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it's available.

Kathleen Madden, currently assistant director at the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, will become chief of staff at the Ohio Department of Health.

The new agency roles were announced after DeWine detailed what he referred to as “shocking” COVID-19 numbers for the state. New cases reached an all-time high, at 4,961. Compared to the roughly 1,000 cases just four weeks ago, DeWine said it was an increase of “about five-fold.”  

The governor also reported 33 new COVID-19 deaths Thursday. To date, 5,461 Ohioans have died from the coronavirus.

"We continue to see increases in COVID-19 patients hospitalized, in the ICU, and on ventilators,” DeWine said. “There are 2,075 current patients today, which is a 55% increase in hospitalized patients compared to two weeks ago. There are 541 people in ICU.”

Every county in the state now has high incidence of the coronavirus by CDC standards, the governor said.

“It is everywhere,” DeWine said. “We can’t hide from it, we can’t run from it, we’ve gotta face it and we have to deal with it.”

A record 56 Ohio counties, comprising 86% of the state’s population, are now on red alert under the Public Health Advisory system, compared to 43 counties last week.

"We're seeing significant community spread in every county," DeWine said. "There's a lot of spread in households. So when one person gets the virus, so [do] the rest of the people who live in the home. Schools are continuing to do a great job. Social gatherings, including weddings and funerals and parties in people's homes, is really where we're seeing much of the spread."