Ohio coronavirus cases spike upward reaching unprecedented numbers
The Ohio Department of Health reported 1,122 COVID-19 hospitalizations. Facing an unprecedented health crisis, Gov. Mike DeWine has authorized the implementation of mask requirements statewide.
The Ohio Department of Health reported 1,122 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday, which is the highest daily number seen in the state since the beginning of the pandemic, reports say.
The previous high was in late April, when Ohio reported 1,103 coronavirus hospitalizations, according to Cleveland’s Fox 8 News. By Wednesday, the department reported 1,100 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 348 people in intensive care.
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The news comes as the Ohio Board of Pharmacy withdrew a ban on Thursday that previously set out to stop medical facilities from selling or dispensing malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat or prevent COVID-19. While the ban was set to go into effect on Thursday, officials now say the prohibitions "will not take effect at this time."
The requirements under the rule are no longer applicable.
"As a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Governor DeWine, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has withdrawn proposed rule 4729:5-5-21 of the Administrative Code," according to a statement from the board.
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The new move will allow the board to "reexamine the issue with assistance of the State Medical Board of Ohio, clinical experts, and other stakeholders to determine appropriate next steps."
“Basically, it’s a patient safety issue,” Cameron McNamee, the board's director of policy and communications, told The Columbus Dispatch before the board reversed its decision. “We’re looking at the best science to determine what’s best for the patients of Ohio.”
The initial decision had nothing to do with President Trump's public support for the treatment, she said at the time.
On July 23, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the designation of 23 counties in a “Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency,” with Allen County approaching a “Purple Alert Level 4.”
Four other counties (Butler, Lorain, Summit and Wood) were downgraded to an “Orange Alert Level 2.”
"Overall, the downgrade in the risk levels in these four counties tells us that the measures to mitigate COVID-19 spread in red counties – including increased diligence in social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently and reducing interactions with others outside your household – may be helping to slow the spread in these counties," DeWine said in a press release.
"We are cautiously optimistic about this, but these are still high levels of spread, and citizens across Ohio must continue to be vigilant."
Finally, Ohio joined Indiana and Minnesota in implementing statewide mask rules last week. DeWine said mask rules will be extended statewide for anyone over the age of 10 starting July 23. The Republican had originally resisted expanding the mask mandate to all of Ohio but noted a recent rise in coronavirus cases in counties around the state.
To date, the state health department has reported a total of 83,213 confirmed cases, 3,156 confirmed deaths, and 10,553 hospitalizations.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall and Nick Givas contributed to this story.
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