The Ohio Department of Health gets daily updates on the total number of beds and ventilators that could be available for COVID-19 patients at hospitals throughout the state. But so far the agency hasn’t provided any hospital-by-hospital breakdown, and the agencies that collect capacity information on their behalf have also declined to release their assessments. The result: Ohioans don’t know how many beds and ventilators are available where they live. Timely and meaningful knowledge could benefit Ohioans from a health perspective, while also helping them understand the range of public policy issues surrounding the crisis.
The availability of resources to care for COVID-19 patients could mean life or death for thousands of Ohioans. “It’s what keeps me awake at night,” said Ohio Department of Health (ODH) director of health Amy Acton, MD, MPH of her fear of running out of beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment. Governor Mike DeWine echoed “that is what we really fear” at the same Ohio Statehouse Press Conference on March 25.
DeWine has received national recognition for the aggressive actions he’s taken to protect the state of Ohio. He and Dr. Acton report numbers, and announce action items daily at 2:00 p.m. Estimates from Ohio State University and the Cleveland Clinic project that at Ohio’s rate of new COVID-19 patients, the state may have 6,000 or as many as 10,000 a day by late April.
“[A]t the projected peak, we need to go up 3x in our hospital capacity,” DeWine tweeted on March 27. “We have a long way to go.”
However, neither he nor the department of health has stated where the greatest needs are on a local basis. Nor has baseline information for different areas been made available.
The Ohio River watershed is dotted with thousands of small dams. Many are remnants of bygone days of grain mills and the steel industry, which used dams to pool water needed during production. The dams are no longer needed.
One year into his first term, Ohio’s top utility regulator, Samuel Randazzo, has signaled that winning approval to build and operate wind and solar projects in the state could be even more difficult in the future. At the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Power Siting Board, which Randazzo also chairs, recent decisions have blocked a new solar development and imposed new restrictions on wind energy — moves consistent with Randazzo’s longtime criticism of renewables as a registered lobbyist and lawyer representing heavy industry before the utilities commission.
Investigation: Blacks, black neighborhoods most likely to be traffic stop targets in Ohio’s 3 biggest cities
By Max Londberg and Lucia Walinchus
Video by Michael Nyerges
Reporters from the nonprofit newsroom Eye on Ohio, The Cincinnati Enquirer and researchers from Stanford University’s Big Local News program examined police stops to assess how the three largest communities in Ohio use public safety resources and to identify potential bias in policing. Followed in a public park and forced to leave.