Gov. Mike DeWine reported that, through the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, a coalition of 19 Ohio manufacturers has partnered with three hospital systems to design and produce a face shield for the state's health care workers, moving from prototype to production in just two weeks.
From 750,000 to 1 million of the face shields will be sent to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) over the next five weeks for distribution.
Eaton collaborated with hospitals and Cleveland's Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network to optimize the face shield design for production. The global power management company is now working with Thogus, a family-owned custom plastic injection molder, to help rapidly produce 360,000 reusable face shields.
"Ten business days ago, this project was just a concept. Today, we're moving forward with production and looking to expand further," said Michael Regelski, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Electrical Sector, at Eaton, in a statement.
The latest statistics from the ODH record 5,512 confirmed COVID-19 cases across 84 of Ohio's 88 counties. Of those,1,612 people were hospitalized (497 of them in intensive care). More than 20 percent (1,137) of cases are health care workers. There have been a total of 213 deaths in the state. More than 55,985 people have been tested in Ohio, according to ODH director Dr. Amy Acton.
She also presented five-day trend data that included averages for confirmed cases (355 new cases a day) and deaths in the state (an average of 22 a day over five days).
Both Acton and DeWine stressed that even with data indicating that social distancing is working to help flatten the curve of the virus's spread, it is not time to ease up at all.
"We've hit a home run," he said. "We've done a great job. Is it time to celebrate? No, the game is not over."
Acton cautioned that Ohio will reach a peak in new cases "soon" and there needs to be at least 14 straight days of decreased cases before it can be determined that the surge is on a downturn.
"We are not going to keep this one day longer than we have to," DeWine said. "We are going to do everything we can to not have a re-spike and it is not going to be easy."
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced that the Christ Hospital Lindner Research Center in Cincinnati has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for convalescent plasma protocol to treat high-risk COVID-19 patients with plasma from recovered patients.
Husted also reported that 207,000 Ohioans have received $132 million in unemployment compensation so far, adding that the Department of Job and Family Services continues to add staffing and computers to its system for processing claims. He said the ODJFS has now caught up on making payments for approved claims.
The lieutenant governor noted that while the federal CARES Act has a provision allowing independent contractors and other 1099 filers to apply for unemployment, it did not include any distribution system for them — so Ohio is building its own system, which he hopes will be up and running by mid-May, if not sooner. All claims filed will be backdated to the date of the person's eligibility.