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Coronavirus In Ohio: State Begins Tracking Ventilators

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, speaks at a coronavirus briefing.
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, speaks at a coronavirus briefing.

The state will start tracking ventilators through a new database as part of the ongoing effort to build up capacity for the projected peak of coronavirus in Ohio.

Gov. Mike DeWine wants medical facilities around the state to report how many ventilators they have and where they're located, to prepare for a coming surge.

The order requires the tracking of ventilators, CPAP and VPAP machines as well as other devices and tubing through a state website every Wednesday at 5 p.m. starting on Wednesday, April 1.

The tracking requires reporting by any entity in the supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, physicians, clinics, hospitals and others. Ventilators for personal use are excempted. 

"This is allow for the identification and redistribution of machines from health care providers who are no longer performing elective procedures. It will also help our regional hospital colaboratives by giving them information on the availability of these machines in their respective regions," DeWine said.

Hospitals will also continue to track ventilators on a daily basis through the Ohio Hospital Association. 

DeWine said the state is working to acquire more ventilators and will provide more information in the coming days.

Hours after the order was issued, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said a recent shipment of personal protective equipment from the federal stockpile, combined with the existing state supplies, will not be enough to meet expected demand.

Acton also asked Ohioans to be even more thoughtful about essential trips to places like the grocery store or pharmacy.

"You can do it, we need you to be able to do that. But double up," Acton said. "Think about your being out there strategically. Because it's very, very important right now that we minimize our exposure to others."

DeWine says they expect to release more details on the capacity build-up plans soon. The Ohio National Guard is working with hospital systems in eight regions of the state to increase capacity and optimize personal protection equipment for medical staff.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.