DeWine asks for masks in schools | News, Sports, Jobs
WHEELING – Gov. Mike DeWine urges schools to implement mask warrants amid a “ascend” of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ohio.
DeWine held a press conference Friday morning at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport to discuss the increase in cases and its impact on the healthcare system. He said there were 3,080 people with COVID-19 in hospitals in Ohio – 982 in intensive care units and 617 on ventilators.
“One in six people in our hospitals has COVID, and one in four people in the state is in intensive care. These are amazing numbers, and there is no part of the state that is truly immune to what is going on, ” he said.
DeWine said hospital admissions had increased dramatically from last year despite vaccinating around 50% of the state’s population. In Region 8, which includes Belmont, Monroe, Harrison and Jefferson counties, numbers have dropped from four COVID-19-related hospitalizations in July to 172 hospitalizations on Friday.
“It continues to increase dramatically. … This is a great concern ”, he said.
Dr Bruce Vanderhoff, director of health for the Ohio Department of Health, said hospital systems are facing a dramatic increase in the number of patients they treat. He said the current outbreak is largely due to unvaccinated residents.
Vanderhoff said hospitals are meeting needs; however, it puts a lot of pressure on them and on emergency rooms. To alleviate some of that pressure, he recommends that people with less severe symptoms contact a primary care doctor or consider being seen in a clinic rather than going to the emergency room. Additionally, people in need of a COVID-19 test are encouraged to visit coronavirus.ohio.gov to find a local pharmacy, library, or health department for a test.
Vanderhoff said the best protection for residents, their loved ones and the community is to get vaccinated.
Dr George Grecco, president of Medical Group Enterprise at Trinity Health System, said that at first the virus wave appeared to be a disease of overcrowding among prison systems and nursing homes; however, he now appears to be among the unvaccinated. He said 80% of hospital admissions are now unvaccinated residents.
Grecco commended the frontline suppliers for their continued work during this time.
“We hoped and thought it was over. … We had to pull ourselves together, and our front line nurses, our respiratory therapists, our doctors, all of our healthcare workers are really up to the task, and I just want to take a moment to thank them ”, he said.
As cases continue to rise in Ohio, DeWine is urging school boards to institute a mandatory mask policy to help stop the spread of the virus. They should do this for the purpose of keeping the children in the classroom and ensuring their safety, he said.
He said last year the state had many schools that stayed open year round and educated students in person.
“The only way for them to do it is because each school was masked and we didn’t see any spread in the classroom” DeWine said. “This year is different. We are seeing a very significant increase in the number of children with COVID. “
DeWine said the only way to keep children in class is to have children 12 and older vaccinated, and for those who are not eligible for vaccination due to their age to wear a mask.
“We are seeing statewide that schools that mask see far fewer cases and miss fewer days,” he said. “It’s our ticket to keep kids in school, it’s for schools to order a mandatory mask.”
DeWine said officials are seeing a dramatic increase in positive cases among young people. He said the delta variant is a much more contagious strain of the coronavirus and that students wore masks during the past school year, which has helped slow the spread.
“We try to keep our kids in school and we try to keep our kids safe, but the other challenge when we see the spread in school is that it comes down to families. In a county where only 50% of the population is vaccinated, this means that half of these children return to families that are not vaccinated ”, DeWine pointed out. “… It’s not just about protecting children or keeping children in school, it’s about slowing the spread in the community and schools can be, when children are not immunized, a large vector of propagation. “