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COVID-19: Continuing Coverage

Welcome to our continuing media team coverage of COVID-19

In this series, you will find news stories and informational resources featuring OhioHealth physicians, nurses and other clinical experts who are working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio while educating our community. 

Columbus Dispatch: What Pregnant Women Need to Know About COVID-19

Medical experts are continuing to research more about how COVID-19 might impact pregnant women, deliveries and their babies. For now, the most important thing expectant mothers can do is stay calm and not panic.

On April 5, Jason Melillo, MD, medical director of women’s health at OhioHealth, spoke with the Columbus Dispatch about some of the questions surrounding COVID-19 and pregnancy.

Continue reading


Safeguarding Your Zoom Meeting/Telehealth Visit

Use of Zoom has skyrocketed in recent weeks as co-workers, friends and families use the video-chat platform to stay in touch. But this increase in use has also led to an increase in instances of what people are calling Zoombombing.

Definitely disruptive and often offensive, Zoombombing occurs when an unauthorized person or people gain access to your Zoom meeting, most likely with malicious intent. But don’t give up on Zoom just yet. Continue reading

Columbus Business First: Hospitals Brace for the Storm

In anticipation of the expected surge of COVID-19 patients, Ohio’s health systems are doing everything they can to make sure their facilities are as prepared as possible.

Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, OhioHealth senior vice president and chief medical officer, was recently interviewed by Columbus Business First about how OhioHealth is collaborating with other health systems to take on this unprecedented pandemic for a recent front page story. Continue reading

ABC6: What to Know About Malaria Drug and COVID-19

Finding treatment options for COVID-19 is a top priority in the medical community right now, and hydroxychloroquine, a type of drug used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, has been mentioned frequently in the news.

Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, sat down with ABC6 to talk about whether this drug is safe and effective at treating COVID-19 patients. Continue reading


10TV: How to Properly Wear a Facemask

When it comes to wearing a face mask and gloves, there are dos and don’ts to make sure you’re properly protecting yourself against COVID-19.

Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, shared some of his tips and tricks with 10TV on how to wear, care for and take off both face masks and gloves.

His first piece of advice? Don’t go for the surgical face masks. Continue reading

Mansfield News Journal: Shelby Woman Recovers From COVID-19

As Ohio bands together to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19, one patient at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital shares her story about recovering from the virus.

After feeling sick for weeks, Donna Bourne, 54, was hospitalized for five days at Mansfield Hospital, where she tested positive for COVID-19.

One of her first symptoms was pain in her upper arms and upper thighs, followed by muscle aches in her back, headaches and pain across the bridge of her nose. Continue reading

10TV: How COVID-19 is Challenging Healthcare Providers

With over 3,300 positive tests for COVID-19 in Ohio as of April 3, the virus has posed new challenges to healthcare workers as they prepare for what's to come.

Laurie Hommema, MD, OhioHealth medical director of provider and associate well-being, spoke with 10TV about how the industry is handling the rapidly evolving situation.    Continue reading

Columbus Dispatch: COVID-19 Food Safety

Suddenly, going to the grocery store became a lot more nerve-wracking than ever before. But if you’re worried about contracting COVID-19 from your food, experts say you should be more worried about the people handing it to you and the packaging of the food itself.

When it comes to going on a grocery run, it’s best to follow this simple rule: get in, get your food and get out. Continue reading

Columbus Dispatch: Anticipating COVID-19 Patient Surge

As cases of COVID-19 reach into the thousands, central Ohio healthcare providers are planning for both the best and worst case scenarios. At OhioHealth, doctors and hospital leaders have spent the past several weeks on conference calls and in video chats putting together contingency plans.

OhioHealth and other area hospitals have asked patients to call ahead for appointments, restricted visitors, postponed elective procedures and boosted their reliance on technology. Continue reading

NBC4: Making Room for COVID-19 Patients

With new cases of COVID-19 being diagnosed every day, OhioHealth is making sure its hospitals are well prepared for a potential surge of patients. As of March 25, OhioHealth has all the necessary space to treat its current COVID-19 patients.

“We have freed up at least 35 percent capacity at every care site, some more and some less than others,” Stacey Armstrong, chief operating officer at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist  Hospital, told NBC4 reporter Dan Pearlman. Continue reading

10TV: Dr. Gastaldo Takes Part in COVID-19 Q&A

Wondered what's going on with COVID-19 testing in Ohio right now? Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, recently took part in a live phone interview with 10TV on March 23 during the 5:30 p.m. newscast to answer viewer questions.

Dr. Gastaldo told viewers that OhioHealth currently has a variety of mechanisms to test people. Continue reading

10TV: What Pregnant Women Need to Know About COVID-19

As medical experts continue to research COVID-19, questions about how the virus affects pregnant women are becoming more and more pressing.

Jason Melillo, MD, OhioHealth director of women’s health, talked with 10TV for a story that aired on March 23 about what women who are expecting need to know to keep themselves and their babies safe.

While pregnant women are typically more susceptible to respiratory viruses like the flu, preliminary data about COVID-19 indicates that pregnant women aren’t at any more risk for contracting the virus than anyone else. Continue reading

Modern Healthcare: Preserving Personal Protective Equipment with Telemedicine

OhioHealth is working to conserve PPE by giving around 500 iPads to its intensive-care and surgical units who have patients with COVID-19 or are awaiting test results.  This strategy is expected to cut in-person visits in half. Where possible, OhioHealth is also replacing face-to-face appointments with audio or video connections, with the goals of reducing infections and preserving PPE. Continue reading

NBC4: How to Talk to Your Kids About COVID-19

As scary as COVID-19 is for adults, its impact on children can be just as severe. Kristen Hicks, a bereavement counselor with OhioHealth, spoke with NBC4 on March 23 about how parents can talk about COVID-19 with their kids.

According to Hicks, it all starts with asking questions and being honest. Start by asking your child what they already know about the situation and be ready to answer any questions they might have. Continue reading

NBC4: COVID-19 Testing Capabilities

It's one of the most common questions in the country right now - can I get a COVID-19 test? Health systems nationwide have a limited number of tests they are able to provide each day. And once the test sample is obtained from the patient, there's a process it must go through. Currently, it's taking patients up to five days to get their test results back. 
Continue reading

Coping With COVID-19 - How to Protect Your Well-Being

Working from home, cancelling birthday parties and not having regular get togethers can take its toll during the quarantine. Columbus Dispatch reporter Holly Zachariah recently wrote a story about ways to cope with stress and anxiety during the outbreak.

She spoke to Megan Schabbing, MD, medical director of psychiatric emergency services for OhioHealth. Continue reading

NBC4: Blood Donations Still Needed During COVID-19 Outbreak

During the COVID-19 outbreak, one thing that definitely doesn't stop is the need for blood donations.  With schools closed and large gatherings discouraged, many blood drives have been cancelled.  The American Red Cross says that nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives from around the county have been cancelled, resulting in about 86,000 less blood donations than normal. Continue reading

ABC6: Construction Companies Donating Masks to Hospital Workers

Construction companies in central Ohio have been stepping up and donating their unused masks to hospitals for healthcare workers.

“We’ve actually had dozens of our partners already reach out,” Roland Tokarski, OhioHealth VP, Construction Real Estate and Facilities told ABC6 reporter Tara Morgan.

Those same masks construction workers where to proctect tmeselves from debris can also be used by doctors and nurses. Continue reading

ABC6: Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

ABC6 recently asked viewers to submit questions about the COVID-19 outbreak to be answered by experts. They connected with Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, to answer a few of them. Continue reading

Columbus CEO: Healthcare Workers Remain Strong Against COVID-19

With close to 90 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio as of March 18, OhioHealth is taking the necessary measures to stay on the front line of this growing pandemic, including visitor restrictions, hourly bed planning and equipment and containment measures.

OhioHealth is also continuing to explore new options, like expanding bed capacity by converting private rooms into two-occupancy ones. For patients who need not only a private room but sterile air, we are also considering creating a negative-air-pressure unit with portable systems.

For now, resources remain the top priority. Continue reading


10TV: What Social Distancing Means for Cancer Survivors

COVID-19 prevention isn’t just about protecting yourself: it’s about protecting everyone else around you too, even people you may not come into contact with every day. Some of the most at-risk populations for severe COVID-19 symptoms include those who have preexisting medical conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 

Mike Racey, an Upper Arlington resident, has been cancer-free for over a year. But the new threat that COVID-19 poses could land him back in the hospital. That’s why the choices we make as a society could have serious consequences for others in similar situations. Continue reading

ABC6: What Postponing Elective Surgeries Means

With the Ohio Department of Health’s recent order to end all elective surgeries and procedures in Ohio’s hospitals, conserving space and personal protective equipment for first responders and healthcare workers has become a top priority.

"We're trying to save beds, we're trying to reduce COVID-19 exposure," Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, told ABC6 reporter Mary Smith.  Continue reading


ABC6: Keeping Yourself Safe Against COVID-19

When it comes to protecting yourself and others against COVID-19, it really is the little things that make the biggest difference.

On March 11, Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, sat down with ABC6 reporters Terri Sullivan and Adam Slinger to take a deeper dive into how the virus is spread, why it’s different from influenza and what populations are most at risk.

“Sneezes and coughs are no doubt how coronavirus and other respiratory viruses are spread,” said Dr. Gastaldo. “When somebody coughs or sneezes, we say there’s about a five or six-foot radius that their projectiles go to.” Continue reading

Columbus Dispatch: Weakened Immune Systems Keep Vulnerable at Home

One of the reasons people are being asked to stay home right now is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) to those with suppressed or compromised immune system. Those with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease are also at a higher risk to suffer from negative outcomes or have a more difficult recovery if they contract COVID-19. Continue reading

ABC6 and NBC4: Emergency Rooms Are Not for COVID-19 Testing or Advice


If you start to experience symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus) the emergency department or urgent care is not the place to go to get tested. Testing kits are not available at these locations. And, by walking into those spaces, you could potentially be infecting other patients, physicians, nurses and staff.

If you are a patient who suspects you may have COVID-19, please call your primary care physicians’ office. You can also call Ohio's 24-hour coronavirus hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Continue reading

OhioHealth Medical Minute: COVID-19 Symptoms and Prevention 

In this OhioHealth Medical Minute, we'll talk about COVID-19. This is a virus that we have never seen before, a novel virus. It is spread very similarly as the common cold or flu. Initial symptoms may look like the common cold: a cough, runny nose, fever and headaches. As time goes on, those symptoms can progress to shortness of breath. Continue reading

NBC4: COVID-19 Myths and the Media

Getting the facts straight about COVID-19 is as important as ever, and Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, clears up some of the confusion surrounding the virus in a recent interview with NBC4. Continue reading

NBC4: Common Questions About COVID-19

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reaching over 1,000 in the United States as of March 12, Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, answers everything you need to know about this virus, like where it came from and how to protect yourself from contracting it. Continue reading

10TV: Busting COVID-19 Myths

With all the questions and concerns floating around right now about the COVID-19 outbreak, it can be easy to fall victim to misinformation. On January 30th, Joe Gastaldo, MD, an infectious disease specialist at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, debunked some of the most common myths out there about COVID-19 on WBNS 10TV. Continue reading 

NBC4: Negative Pressure Rooms Ready for Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

OhioHealth has negative pressure hospital rooms for any patient that would be hospitalized at OhioHealth with COVID-19, to provide a safe environment for our patients, associates, physicians and visitors.

Jo Henman is the director of infection prevention for OhioHealth. In a recent interview with NBC4 reporter Ted Hart, Henman talked about the features of negative pressure rooms. Continue reading


10TV: Sorting Through the COVID-19 Facts

On March 5, 10TV invited medical experts from central Ohio hospital systems, including Joe Gastaldo, MD, medical director of infectious diseases at OhioHealth, to answer questions submitted by viewers about COVID-19 (coronavirus.) Continue reading

The Athens News: Local Agencies Prepare for COVID-19

While no cases of COVID-19 have been reported at Ohio University or in Athens as of March 11, health officials at the University and OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital are taking proactive steps. OU has suspended in-person classes through at least the end of the month. And O’Bleness is prepared in the event a case presents itself at the hospital. Continue reading

Mansfield News Journal: Treating the Flu and Preparing for COVID-19

As Richland County public health officials prepare for COVID-19, the area is also getting hit hard by the flu, with over 530 cases documented in January alone.

With both the flu and COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the country, hospitals in Richland County are keeping a close eye on the situation, including OhioHealth. Continue reading


NBC4: OhioHealth Discusses Systemwide COVID-19 Preparedness

With testing for new COVID-19 cases continuing throughout the country, OhioHealth is reviewing and bolstering its plans since the virus has hit Ohio. Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, OhioHealth senior vice president and chief medical officer, talked to NBC4 reporter Rob Sneed about how OhioHealth is preparing. Continue reading

WOSU: How Ohio Hospitals Are Preparing For COVID-19

On March 6, Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, OhioHealth senior vice president and chief medical officer, was interviewed on WOSU radio, where he said that OhioHealth has been preparing since January for possible cases. Continue reading

NBC4: Widespread Testing Provides Valuable COVID-19 Data

In an interview with NBC4 on March 3, about a week before the first cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) were confirmed in Ohio, Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, talked about how widespread testing of suspected COVID-19 cases helps provide valuable data to healthcare workers. Continue reading