Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday an easing up on the prohibition of elective surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic.
DeWine said that doctors can now review postponed procedures and surgeries with patients in terms of their current health situation and quality of life, after which doctors and patients can make a joint decision about whether to proceed. New or other chronic conditions that may have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life should also be evaluated.
“We must now begin the gradual, multi-phased process of reopening, and my first concern is the patients who have had procedures and surgeries delayed,” the governor said in a statement released after the briefing.
Dr. Acton directed healthcare providers in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to reassess procedures and surgeries that were postponed.
“I’ve heard stories that some surgeries that we had no intention of stopping have been postponed,” DeWine said. “That has concerned me a great deal, so we are starting back one step at a time.”
DeWine said that patients be informed of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the impact of contracting the illness during the post-operative recovery process.
“Resuming elective surgeries and procedures will take clinical judgment, and we will rely on our healthcare providers to make responsible decisions as we move forward,” said Governor DeWine.
On March 17, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order postponing elective surgeries to conserve critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and to open bed space needed to care for COVID-19 patients. Those extra beds were not needed after all, DeWine said.
The COVID-19 tracker shows Ohio has 14,142 diagnosed coronavirus cases, 88,143 negative test results, with 2,960 hospitalized and 656 deaths.
Watch Wednesday’s press briefing:
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Samantha Witwer is a reporter at The Ohio Star.