Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday additional sites to increase hospital capacity should the near arise due to COVID-19. Ohio has developed a plan to expand healthcare services at alternative sites in addition to the traditional medical care facilities.
Representatives from health care systems, local governments, county emergency management agencies, state agencies, the Ohio National Guard, among others, examined buildings across the state that could support large numbers of patients.
The following sites have been selected based on considerations such as distance to an existing hospital, conditions safe for patients and health care professionals, and space to meet the region’s expected needs.
Seagate Convention Center, Lucas County; Case Western University’s Health Education Campus, Cuyahoga County; Dayton Convention Center, Montgomery County; Covelli Convention Center, Mahoning County; Duke Energy Convention Center, Hamilton County; and Greater Columbus Convention Center, Franklin County.
These facilities would be used for the mildly ill, while the sickest patients will be housed in traditional hospitals.
Assessments of other sites will continue if needed.
Health care regions in southern and southeastern Ohio have determined the existing hospital facilities in their areas will, with additional equipment, be capable to handle a surge in patients without going to an off-site location.
Governor DeWine announced that he has authorized the Ohio National Guard to assist federal authorities in the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County where seven inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and three inmates have died from the disease.
“To be clear, this is not a state facility, it is a federal prison – but, this prison is in Ohio. Ohio citizens work there, and their families live here,” said Governor DeWine. “As we’ve said for weeks, we’re all in this together, and providing state help for this federal prison is the right thing to do.”
The Ohio National Guard’s mission will be focused on providing medical assistance. They will not be armed, nor will they be providing security.
The guardsmen and women will assist in the prison’s infirmary with non-COVID-19 cases and with patients who are showing symptoms of the disease. These soldiers, who all work in the medical field, will have N-95 respirators for protection while they work to augment the current prison medical staff. They will treat those they can and triage others with serious symptoms for hospital care.
The guard also stands ready to help with transporting the seriously ill patients to the hospital in the event of a surge of sick inmates. In addition to staff, the guard will bring equipment and ambulances with them as well.
Governor DeWine also requested that the Federal Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Department of Justice cease accepting new inmates at the facility.