Nonessential surgeries to resume

Ohio officials issued an order allowing hospitals and outpatient surgery centers in Ohio to reevaluate elective procedures and surgeries they postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order follows a March 17 directive from Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton to postpone elective surgeries. The earlier order aimed to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and free up beds in the event they were needed for COVID-19 patients.

“Because of Ohio’s hard work to flatten the curve and because of our health care system’s efforts to come together to meet community needs as a team, we have prevented the massive spike of cases that we feared,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a news release.

“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,” DeWine added.

The order directs healthcare professionals to examine procedures and surgeries that were postponed with their patients. State officials want doctors and patients to make a joint decision about whether to proceed.

“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,” DeWine said.

The order also requires that doctors inform patients about the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the impact during the post-operative recovery process.

Jobless claims soar

While state and national officials are talking about the possibilities of reopening the economy once the coronavirus abates, the impact of the shutdown of all but essential businesses continues to be reflected in the latest unemployment data.

For the fifth week in a row, new claims for unemployment insurance were elevated well above normal levels in Ohio, coming in at 108,801 for the week ending April 18, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was a decrease of 50,516 from the previous week’s 159,317, but still well above the numbers seen before the COVID-10 pandemic hit the United States.

National claims were also continued to be well above historical norms, with 4.4 million claims filed across the United States. California led the nation with 533,568 claims, and West Virginia had the biggest jump in claims from the prior week with a 209 percent increase.

”The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.0 percent for the week ending April 11, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate,” a news release from the Department of Labor stated. “This marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.”

— The Center Square