Lt. Gov. addresses media on COVID-19

Ohio Lt. Gov. John Husted addressed the media about steps needed to slow the upward trajectory of COVID-19, especially in southeast Ohio. Genesis HealthCare CEO Matt Perry (on left) also commented on the COVID-19 situation at hospitals in the area.

ZANESVILLE — Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted held a press conference at the entrance of Genesis Hospital in Zanesville on Wednesday, Nov. 18 to spread the word on Gov. DeWine’s latest steps to slow the upswing of COVID-19 in the Buckeye State.

“It’s pretty simple why I’m here,” began Husted. “We don’t want our hospitals to get overwhelmed.” He was addressing the surge in COVID-19 cases that have suddenly overtaken rural parts of the state, including southeast Ohio.

“It took five months for the state to record 100,000 cases of the virus. We had 100,000 new cases last week,” he said.

Calling the next 21 days “critical” in the effort to slow COVID-19, Husted hammered home the safe protocols message and touted the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew Gov. DeWine has imposed. The curfew began Nov. 19.

“Hospitals are overwhelmed all over the state,” Husted stated. He described the average stay in the hospital for a COVID patients is seven to 10 days, but stretching to 21 days when placement in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is involved.

Matt Perry, Genesis HealthCare CEO, echoed Husted’s comments, but also stressed that people should not put off treatment for other ailments for fear of contacting COVID-19 at the hospital.

“Our hospital is safe for patients who are coming in for other kinds of care besides treatment for COVID,” stated Perry. He said COVID patients are kept in a wing of the hospital away from other patients. Perry said that the 1,000 nurses and 300 doctors are being extraordinarily stressed with this latest COVID surge. Husted described what nurses and doctors are going through as “running a marathon and then being told you have to start over.”

Don Mason, Zanesville’s mayor, spoke about how COVID-19 is stressing the city’s employees. “I have 30 employees who are now in quarantine,” said Mason.

When asked about Gov. DeWine’s curfew plan, Husted acknowledged that law enforcement “can’t be overwhelmed” with enforcing the curfew. “The curfew is not designed to catch people, it’s designed to protect them and keep businesses open,” he said.

When questioned about the sacrifice the public is being asked to make for the next 21 days, Perry replied, “Ask our servicemen and women overseas about what it means to sacrifice. In my opinion, anyone who considers himself a patriot will be wearing a mask.”

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