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Coronavirus cases in Ohio spike to 704

Trumbull doubles patients to 9, while Mahoning jumps to 42

COLUMBUS — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio is skyrocketing, and state officials don’t expect the virus to peak until May 1.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 704 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Wednesday.

That’s up from 564 cases Tuesday.

On March 17, a little over a week ago, the state had 67 confirmed cases. It has increased more than tenfold in eight days.

“We know again that (704) is the tip of the iceberg because our testing is so limited,” said Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Acton said Wednesday 14,764 people have been tested.

If the state hadn’t taken measures to slow the spread, Acton said there could be 6,000 new cases per day.

“We’ve got to slow this down,” Gov. Mike DeWine said.

As of Wednesday, 10 were dead in Ohio, up from eight on Tuesday.

Two of the dead are each in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Stark counties and one each in Erie, Gallia, Lucas and Miami counties.

As of Wednesday, Mahoning County reported 42 confirmed cases, up from 28 Tuesday.

It more than doubled in Trumbull County in one day. It went from four on Tuesday to nine on Wednesday.

Columbiana County has four cases. The state reported three cases in that county Tuesday afternoon, but a fourth case was confirmed later that day by that county’s health department.

Statewide, 182 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Wednesday. The number was 145 Tuesday.

The number of those in intensive-care units went from 62 Tuesday to 75 Wednesday.

DOUBLE CAPACITY

“We’re going to need to double the capacity in the ICU in the days to come,” Acton said.

Also, 116 confirmed cases Wednesday are health care workers, 16 percent of all cases. That number was 91 a day earlier.

“We’re going through some unprecedented things, but I need you to stay at home,” Acton said.

DeWine said: “I’ve said many times that we must focus more on public health in Ohio. Historically in this country we’ve underfunded public health. One of the lessons from this pandemic will be that we have to consistently fund public health in the United States.”

DeWine ordered the closing of nonessential businesses and for the public to stay at home, effective at 11:59 p.m. Monday, through April 6 with exemptions.

“We hope everyone is back in business shortly, but we don’t think this will peak until May 1,” he said. “The only way we slow it down is with physical social distancing.”

DeWine didn’t issue any new orders Tuesday or Wednesday.

But he said Wednesday the state is taking action against one undisclosed company that stayed open and is clearly nonessential.

“We expect it won’t be the last company,” DeWine said.

However, he said regarding being considered essential: “Business owners must read the order and make their own judgments.”

Acton, a Mahoning Valley native, said she’s been overwhelmed by the attention given to her since the pandemic started.

“Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve all the attention I’m getting,” she said. “I am the tip of the iceberg of a group of amazing colleagues of mine. There is a huge amount of folks working on your behalf. They will keep working for you. It’s not just me, it’s all of us.”

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