Hospital leaders, DeWine make appeals for masks in schools


Staff Report



Gov. Mike DeWine


Here are the latest details on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the area:

• Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday joined with the Ohio Children’s Hospitals Association in a direct appeal to school superintendents to require masks for staff and students during the current surge of the coronavirus.

“This is a perfect storm, and it’s impacting kids like it hasn’t before. It’s a combination driven by COVID-19 cases increasing, primarily driven by the Delta variant, increasing respiratory illnesses, more mental health challenges, and staffing challenges,” said Nick Lashutka, president and CEO of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. “Everyone can agree that our number one goal is to keep children in schools five days a week, and that’s what we shared with the state’s superintendents today.”

The plea was made during a virtual meeting with superintendents and the clinical leadership from six Ohio children’s hospitals including ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

“The data are now clear that there is a higher level of COVID-19 in school districts where masks are not required,” said DeWine. “If we want our schools to stay open, the best way to do that is for those 12 and over to get vaccinated. But because those under 12 are still too young to be vaccinated, we need students who come in to school to wear a mask until we get through this.”

Officials provided supporting data, including:

– Since Aug. 15, 2021, there have been 29,823 Ohio school-aged kids ages 5 to 17 with confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19.

– Cases among this age group increased 198% from the week of Aug. 15, as compared to the week ending Sept. 4.

As reported Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID-19 cases among children have increased 240% nationally since early July, when the Delta variant began to surge. During that same period in Ohio, there has been a 2,000% increase in cases among Ohio children.

– COVID-19 cases are increasing at nearly twice the rate among school-aged kids as compared to the rest of the population. This past week Ohio saw a 44% increase among school-aged children and only a 17% increase among the rest of the population.

– Over the two-week period ending Sept. 4, there was an average of 909 cases per 100,000 school-aged Ohio kids versus 561 cases per 100,000 people comprising the rest of the population.

– The 16 days with the highest number of cases per day throughout the entire pandemic for kids aged 5 to 17 in Ohio have all been in the last 19 days. This includes every day except the three days of the Labor Day weekend.

– In Ohio school districts where masks are optional among school-aged kids, there are both higher case rates per 100,000 at 945.7 and a greater week-over-week increase in cases. School districts where masks are optional have seen a 54% week-over-week increase compared to a 34% increase in school districts where masks are either required for all or required for some (usually K-8th grade).

“In the city of Toledo and at Ebeid Children’s Hospital, we’ve seen significant in-patient and out-patient volumes, and we’ve seen a significant increase in kids with respiratory illnesses,” said Paula Grieb, DNP, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital. “We had a significant event occur last night in Lucas County. That means if a rescue squad responded to a 911 call and picked up a patient to take them to a hospital that was on EMS bypass, that rescue squad would not be allowed to stop at that hospital. The county EMS system would have to dispatch each call one at a time. That means a patient wouldn’t necessarily go to the hospital closest to them or best-suited to take care of the patient’s needs.”

• There were 139 new cases reported early this week by the Fulton County Health Department. On Monday, 96 new cases were reported for Sept. 10-13 and on Tuesday, 43 new cases were reported for that day.

The highest number of new cases occurred in the 0-19 age group. On Monday, 24 of the new cases were among that group and on Tuesday, 10 were.

The total number of cases reported in Fulton County is now 5,059.

In the county, positive cases have included 2,764 females and 2,280 males. The case rate over the last two weeks is 486.6 in Fulton County and 582.4 overall in Ohio.

There was also 1 new hospitalization reported Monday for a total of 294.

• The level of community transmission of coronavirus in Fulton County is listed as high by the Centers for Disease Control. The levels are low, moderate, substantial, then high.

All counties in Ohio are listed as high.

Indoor mask wearing is recommended in areas with substantial or high transmission.

More information on the CDC categories of community transmission risk can be found at covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.

• In Fulton County, 45.43% of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Wood County has the highest amount in the area with 55.64%. In Williams County, 40.40% have received a vaccine, the lowest in the area.

• COVID-19 vaccine is available Mondays at the FCHD from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcomed.

Vaccine is also available at Rite Aid locations in Archbold, Swanton and Wauseon, the Wauseon Walmart, and Swanton Kroger.

Share your information at dstambaugh@aimmediamidwest.com.

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Gov. Mike DeWine
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Staff Report