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Nighttime Curfew Extended, Stay Safe Ohio Protocols Outlined to Avoid ‘Healthcare Tsunami’

Twelve healthcare providers from around Ohio outlined familiar measures that are part of Stay Safe Ohio protocols that Gov. Mike DeWine said are crucial to help Ohio get through the next 21 days, including the holiday season.

DeWine invited the doctors and a physician's assistant to participate in his briefing Thursday, to emphasize the need to follow the protocols. “I believe it is our pathway to getting through this crucial time as best we can,” DeWine said.

The protocols include:

  • Wear your mask.
  • Keep interactions short and stay apart.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Work from home.
  • Celebrate safe. Celebrate small.
  • Don’t eat or drink with anyone outside of your household.
  • Limit travel.
  • Keep weddings and funerals safe.
  • Enjoy safe holiday activities!

DeWine also said a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that was set to expire will be extended through Jan. 2, 2021. “We believe the curfew along with the enforcement of mask-wearing in retailers have had an impact,” DeWine said. He said a state investigative unit that has been spot-checking retailers around the state has reported compliance remains around 90%.

DeWine said the curfew will include a variance for several upcoming athletic contests that will end after 10 p.m. They include two Cleveland Browns games, a University of Cincinnati football game and a Columbus Crew game. But DeWine noted these events are outdoors and allow attendees to keep their distance and wear masks. “The biggest threat [from these events] is from those who have an urge to gather with friends, with people outside their own household to watch these games inside without following masking and distancing protocols,” DeWine said. “We would just ask you to please rethink that. Enjoy these events responsibly.”

Case numbers reported Thursday mark the fourth highest total since the pandemic began. The Ohio Department of Health reports 11,738 new cases of COVID-19 with 452 additional hospitalizations and 31 admissions to hospital intensive care units.

Five northeast Ohio counties remain at purple level risk for severe exposure and spread of COVID-19. They include Portage, Summit, Stark, Medina and Richland. Two counties, Ashland and Guernsey are on the watch list and three rural counties—Noble, Harris and Washington—are red for the first time.

A growing concern is the incidence of COVID-19 cases in hospital intensive care units. Ohio Health Department medical director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said “In my clinical experience it’s almost unheard of to have half an ICU with one condition.”

“We cannot afford on the very eve of a safe and effective vaccination to further overwhelm our hospitals and healthcare providers with a healthcare tsunami,” DeWine said.

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The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital ICUs is a growing concern around the state.
/ Ohio Department of Health
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital ICUs is a growing concern around the state.