Careful, phased re-opening key to minimize harm, says Public Health doctor

Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

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Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director at Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, said as a physician, he often is measuring things in terms of suffering, and that includes the response to the pandemic outbreak.

There’s a great deal of suffering associated with the outbreak — and that suffering has not been distributed equally — but the goal of a gradual and careful lifting of restrictions in Ohio is to limit suffering as much as possible, Dohn said.

“I would argue that if the restrictions are lifted thoughtfully, we can minimize the suffering all around,” Dohn said.

The current restrictions can cause all kinds of suffering, as people lose their jobs, as child abuse and domestic violence risks increase, as people in pain have their medical procedures put off, and more, he said.

But he said there's also different suffering that can come if the restrictions are lifted too quickly, if cases surge, if the hospital gets overwhelmed, if an overwhelmed hospital can't properly respond or even treat other types of medical problems.

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“We know from history that places that follow that red curve have tremendous amount of economic disruption,” Dohn said, referring the sharp peak of an unflattened outbreak curve. “People get scared. People get sick. Managers get sick. Employees don’t want to go to work and so they don’t … customers stay home even without a ‘stay at home’ order.”

Dohn said what he has been most encouraged with is that many people are taking the right measures, taking their own temperature, and staying home if they are sick.

“By and large people are saying ‘there is a greater good, and I’m going to do my part here,’” Dohn said.

There have been 8,239 test confirmed cases and 74,840 tested in Ohio as of Thursday afternoon, up from 7,628 test confirmed cases and 71,552 tested as of the day before. That includes 28 new deaths confirmed.

The state does not yet have regular updates on the number of people who have recovered from the virus. Recovery from a severe case of COVID-19 can be a long process, with patients in the ICU sometimes staying 20 days.

In Butler County, there have been 148 confirmed cases, with 50 hospitalizations and two deaths. That’s 15 more cases and five more hospitalized since Wednesday.

In Clark County, there have been 23 21 confirmed cases with five hospitalizations and no confirmed deaths. That’s two more case since Wednesday.

In Champaign County, there have been six confirmed cases, two hospitalizations and one deaths, with no newly confirmed changes since Wednesday.

In Darke County, there have been 55 confirmed cases, nine hospitalizations and 10 deaths. That’s three more confirmed cases and two more hospitalizations since Wednesday.

There have been 33 Greene County cases reported, including nine who were hospitalized, with two more cases confirmed since Wednesday.

In Montgomery County, there have been 213 cases and 74 hospitalizations, which is two more cases and one more hospitalization tallied since Wednesday. Eight people have died.

In Miami County, there have been 127 125 cases in Miami County with 47 hospitalizations, which is two more confirmed cases since Wednesday. Twenty-two people have died, including 18 people connected to outbreaks at two nursing homes.

In Preble County, there have been 20 confirmed cases, five hospitalizations and one death, no changes confirmed since Wednesday.

In Warren County, there have been 89 confirmed cases, 16 hospitalizations and four deaths, with four more cases and two more hospitalizations confirmed since Wednesday. One more person’s death was also confirmed.

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