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Coronavirus Update: Schools Closed Until May, New Battelle Technology & More

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Coronavirus Update: Schools Closed Until May, New Battelle Technology & More
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Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.

Numbers out of the Ohio Department of Health now have Ohio at over 1,900 cases, 475 hospitalizations and 39 deaths as of Monday, March 30. Franklin County has 281 cases and 43 hospitalizations. Nearly half of those hospitalizations are patients under the age of 60.

More updates include school closures being extended statewide, the status of new decontamination technology from Battelle, the 2020 Olympics and discounts for healthcare workers.

Schools Closed Until May 1

On Monday, March 30, during a press conference, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced an upcoming executive order would close schools across the state until May 1. Columbus City Schools, Bexley City Schools, Reynoldsburg City Schools and Dublin City Schools’ last days were originally scheduled for late May.

Battelle and the FDA

A back-and-forth between the office of the governor, Columbus-based nonprofit scientific research organization Battelle and the United States Food and Drug Administration on new technology that would decontaminate surgical masks for reuse took place over the weekend.

After the FDA limited the use of Battelle’s Critical Care Decontamination System to 10,000 masks a day, the DeWine administration expressed frustration and called the White House to intervene. Eventually late Sunday night, the technology, which can sterilize up to 80,000 masks per day per machine, received full approval.

The decontamination system sanitizes masks with a concentrated hydrogen peroxide vapor for several hours, a process that has reportedly been tested and proven by Battelle. Each mask can be sanitized and reused up to 20 times before affecting the integrity of the masks.

This technology is being offered first in Ohio. A process for carefully picking up and delivering masks to hospital systems across the state has been developed logistically with the Ohio Department of Health, beginning this week.

Nearly two dozen machines are also planned for shipment across the U.S. in the coming weeks, including New York and Washington state.

It was also announced Monday that Battelle and the Ohio State University Wexner Center have developed a new rapid sensitive diagnostic test for COVID-19, which will allow for faster turnaround time on test results. Wexner Medical Center will reportedly administer the new test under its existing FDA certification permits.

More Updates

The Short North Arts District will go virtual for April’s Gallery Hop.

Hyatt Place Columbus/OSU, a hotel located in Grandview Yard in Grandview Heights, is offering special discounted rates to healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic, including first responders, doctors, nurses, and those working in healthcare clinics, hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Workers can receive special overnight accommodation discounts and significantly reduced daily rates as part of the program. Learn more by contacting Holly Draughn at [email protected] or calling 614-569-2912.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021, exactly one year after they were originally planned for 2020.

For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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