Nonessential surgeries will be postponed across the state to preserve hospital equipment. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Managing Editor for Multimedia

Nonessential surgeries will be postponed across the state to preserve hospital equipment for the expected surge in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a press conference Tuesday. 

DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton, director of health at the Ohio Department of Health, would be signing an order to postpone nonessential, or elective, surgeries to ensure there would be enough hospital equipment and personnel for the expected surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Procedures are being delayed because of the importance of allocating resources in a way that allows us to focus on priority cases,” Mike Abrams, president and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association, said at the press conference. 

DeWine’s order follows the Wexner Medical Center’s Tuesday morning postponement of nonessential surgeries.

The Wexner Medical Center defines essential surgeries as those that will preserve life, preserve an organ or a limb, stop the progression of disease or stop the progression of severe symptoms, Andrew Thomas, chief clinical officer at the Wexner Medical Center, said at the press conference. 

 DeWine also said there will be ample opportunity to vote.

“We are entering a more difficult time. We are going to have more and more citizens who are ill,” DeWine said. “We have plenty of time to hold an election, to continue this election and to move us forward.”

The election was scheduled to occur Tuesday, but Acton ordered the closing of all polling locations due to public health concerns late Monday. Secretary of State Frank LaRose will be pursuing a court order to extend absentee voting to June 2. 

Acton’s order comes after a lawsuit filed by Ohio citizens to extend the election was rejected by Judge Richard Frye in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Monday for failure to bring forward the lawsuit in a timely manner. 

Acton said as of Tuesday morning there are 67 confirmed cases from 16 Ohio counties. The cases range in age from 14-86 and the median age is 48. There have been 17 hospitalizations in the state. 

There were no confirmed cases at Ohio State at the time of publication. 

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