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Gov. Mike DeWine provides update on Ohio's alternative care centers for COVID-19 surge

The state is preparing facilities in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati for a potential surge of coronavirus patients.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Despite the fact that news continues to be more promising in Ohio in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, state leaders are continuing to prepare for what they believe is an eventual surge of cases. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine provided an update on the status of Ohio's alternative care centers in the state's largest cities. Earlier this month, DeWine announced that there would be six sites for coronavirus surge hospitals, including Case Western Reserve in Cleveland:

  1. Seagate Convention Center, Lucas Co
  2. Case Western University’s Health Education Campus, Cuyahoga Co 
  3. Dayton Convention Center, Montgomery Co
  4. Covelli Convention Ctr, Mahoning Co
  5. Duke Energy Convention Ctr, Hamilton Co
  6. Greater Columbus Convention Ctr, Franklin Co

The Samson Pavilion of Case Western Reserve's Health Education Campus is already in the process of transforming into a coronavirus surge hospital. Located just across the street from Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, the shared 477,000-square-foot structure will allow for full monitoring of up to 1,000 patients, in addition to the administration of needed oxygen and IV medications.

DeWine said the facilities in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati are in the process of being prepared for use during a surge. "But candidly, we hope we never have to use these," he added on Tuesday. The facilities in Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown are being held in reserve. Health care regions in southern Ohio and southwest Ohio have determined that their facilities will be able to handle a surge without the use of an alternative care center. 

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther joined the briefing via video conferencing and updated on the status of turning the Greater Columbus Convention Center into an alterative care center. Like in Cleveland, the facility will be able to care for 1,000 patients.

"Our greatest hope is that we never have to open this alternative care center, but we have to be prepared to make sure we are protecting the health and safety of Ohioans," Ginther said. 

Ginter, a Democrat, voiced his support for the DeWine administration's belief in a slow recovery from the pandemic. "I echo others who have said we must reopen Ohio gradually and thoughtfully," he said. "We must do this the right way to avoid a second surge."

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