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.
When OhioHealth nurse practitioner Jennifer Wagner found out she was pregnant in October, she wasn't working on the COVID-19 front lines.
Then in November, she was asked to redeploy to help out another area, which meant she would be working with COVID-19 positive patients most days at OhioHealth Urgent Care - Dublin.
OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital ICU nurse Lauren Herpy was interviewed by the Athens News, sharing a “day in the life” story of her experiences working throughout the pandemic. Though the day to day work in the hospital has changed and is full of new challenges, “helping people is exactly what we signed up for," said Herpy in the interview.
You've likely seen Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases on the news or on social media, touting the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine. On Monday, Dr. Gastaldo showed the community just how much he believes in the vaccine by getting vaccinated himself at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
Less than 24 hours after receiving its shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, OhioHealth began vaccinating frontline associates at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. Frontline workers include doctors and nurses, but also associates like housekeeping and food delivery, who have interaction with patients. The plan was to vaccinate about 40 associates during the first day, with the first two shots of the day happening just after 8 a.m. Continue reading
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the state, the number of hospitalized patients continues rise as well. And sick patients include caregivers, who are contracting it not at work, but out in the community.
ABC6 reporter Kalea Gunderson interviewed an OhioHealth associate who is battling the virus on the front lines.
Every Monday morning, around 6:07 a.m., Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases, is live on 610 WTVN with the latest COVID-19 news you need to keep you and your family safe.
On November 16, he talked with host Brandon Boxer about how Ohio is currently experiencing a surge of positive cases, and the numbers are continuing to rise.
"We are still going up the mountain," said Dr. Gastaldo. "We're not at the peak of the mountain yet. We also clearly have more hospitalized patients in Ohio." Continue reading
While social distancing and avoiding gatherings are important during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can also be quite challenging for many.
“Being socially isolated is a significant risk factor for suicide, and we know that it can also really contribute to depression for many people. And it can really worsen anxiety for some people,” said Megan Schabbing, MD, medical director of psychiatric emergency services at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. Continue reading
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when college students come home for the first time since they moved into school. But, because of COVID-19, this year's trip over the river and through the woods needs to look different from a typical trip home. And the time to start planning is right now. Continue reading
COVID-19 numbers are continuing to grow in Ohio, putting a straing on hospitals and frontline workers. On Nov. 11, Gov. DeWine made a plea to Ohioans to take responsibility to help stop the virus from spreading by masking and social distancing. But as the weather begins to get colder, there are more concerns about people following those recommendations.
Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases, spoke with WMRN radio this week about the latest developments in the pandemic.
On Wednesday, October 21, Ohio reported 2,366 new cases of COVID-19, a new record high for the state. The number of patients needing to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 is also on the rise.
With a number of factors in play - espcially colder weather leading to indoor gatherings, holidays and getting together to watch football games - healthcare leaders in Ohio say that now is not the time to let our guards down and get complacent.
As restaurants, bars, hair salons and shops continue to open, things might start to feel a bit more "normal." However, one day-to-day aspect of many that is different from a year ago is the importance of wearing a mask when out in public.
10TV medical reporter Tracy Townsend recently spoke with Dr. Gastaldo about why this is especially important for younger people. Continue reading
At his press conference on June 24, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine noted that positive coronavirus numbers are trending up for young adults in the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups. Gov. DeWine also noted that overall numbers in Ohio are increasing.
ABC6/FOX28 reporter Mary Smith spoke with Jospeh Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases, about why we are seeing an increase, especially in these younger age groups. Continue reading
OhioHealth announced today it will give back a portion of the supplies so generously donated to area hospitals in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March and April, supplies of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and other needed items were in short supply due to the worldwide demand and the scope of the pandemic. Continue reading
As Americans exercise their rights to protest, there is a concern about a second wave of COVID-19, due to the challenges of social distancing while in a large crowd.
"Respiratory droplets occur with coughing and sneezing, but they also occur with normal conversation - talking, yelling and screaming - and the droplets are spread that way," said Jospeh Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infections diseases in an interview with 10TV's Tracy Townsend. Continue reading
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, people still need to receive medical care, whether it be in the emergency department, a screening mammogram, an elective surgery and more. But as we continue to get used to a "new normal" many are wondering just how safe it is to enter a medical facility. As always, OhioHealth is prioritizing the safety of our patients, physicians and associates. The latest OhioHealth Medical Minute shares ways we are working to keep you safe. Continue reading
On May 23, Mankind Murals, a local non-profit, paid a visit to OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital to help spread some cheer to our associates and visitors.
The group of local artists created a temporary chalk art mural outside the hospital's emergency department along Glessner Avenue. The mural, entitled “We Flatten the Curve,” features colorful illustrations of physicians, nurses and staff, along with a huge message of thanks to our frontline healthcare workers. Continue reading
Nurses and staff are creating personal cards for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.They stamp their own thumbprints, shape them into a heart and write their names underneath. The cards are then laminated and sanitized before being given to the patient's family.
Nurses and staff are creating personal cards for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. They stamp their own thumbprints, shape them into a heart and write their names underneath. The cards are then sanitized before being given to the patient's family. Continue reading
Benjamin Bring, DO, a family physician at OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, spoke with NBC4 about some of the concerns doctors are having over childhood obesity rates now that children have a lack of access to recess and physical education. Continue reading
In the midst of leading central Ohio's largest healthcare system through the COVID-19 outbreak, Stephen Markovich, MD, president and CEO of OhioHealth, appeared on an episode of Modern Healthcare's "The Check Up" to talk about the organization's incident command center and how the pandemic has impacted his leadership skills. Continue reading
It's the big question circling everyone's minds these days, especially as restaurants and retail stores start opening back up: should I wear a face mask when I leave my home? Despite the political dilemma surrounding the decision to wear a mask, medical experts are urging everyone to continue wearing them, not for the safety of yourself, but to protect others. Continue reading
We've heard firsthand accounts from patients diagnosed with COVID-19, but have you ever wondered what it's like to be a medical professional treating someone with the virus?
We sat down with Alfred Vargas, MD, OhioHealth system chief of medical oncology, for a virtual OhioHealth Medical Minute to talk about whether cancer patients are more at risk for contracting COVID-19 and whether their cases of the virus are more severe. Continue reading
COVID-19 has been linked to things like pneumonia and other types of respiratory illness, but now stroke has also been added to the list of medical problems the virus can cause.
More and more young people have been experiencing an uptick in stroke symptoms, yet they haven't been seeking medical care. B.J. Hicks, MD, a vascular neurologist at OhioHealth, spoke with 10TV about the issue. Continue reading
Even as Ohio slowly starts moving toward a back-to-business model, the impact of re-opening still poses great risks to medical professionals, as well as the general public.
Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, spoke with 610 WTVN's Joel Riley about the risks of re-opening and the continued importance of masks and social distancing. Continue reading
Soon after Stephen Markovich, MD, a retired Air Force veteran and family and emergency physician, took over as president and CEO of OhioHealth last July, his abilities as a leader were heavily relied upon when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation.
Over the past few months, Dr. Markovich has led OhioHealth through unforeseen circumstances, using a few skills he picked up in the military along the way. Continue reading
When COVID-19 turned the healthcare industry upside down, it took everyone pitching in to get the job done.
James Jeansonne, a digital marketing employee at OhioHealth, experienced this firsthand when he traded in his normal desk job for a slot working the overnight shift and taking temperatures at OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital. Continue reading
With elective surgeries now making a gradual return to OhioHealth, the need to keep patients safe remains as important as ever.
Shay O'Mara, MD, OhioHealth system chief for trauma surgery, spoke with Joel Riley on 610 WTVN to answer some questions surrounding what elective surgeries will look like and the steps healthcare providers are taking to keep everyone safe.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, it can be hard not to lose sleep over all the new stress we're experiencing. Finding a way to battle restless minds and anxious thoughts with some simple meditative exercises can be key to getting rest.
As hospital systems start to embrace telehealth, Obi Moneme, MD, OhioHealth neurologist and medical chief of telehealth, and Megan Schabbing, MD, OhioHealth psychiatrist and director of psychiatric emergency services, spoke with the Columbus Dispatch about its role in the future of healthcare. Continue reading
Are you hungry, or are you just bored? That's the question Americans keep asking themselves now that they're moving less and working from home - many just steps away from their refrigerators!
Prya Patel, a registered dietician with OhioHealth, is all too familiar with "bored snacking," and she recently spoke with 10TV about some of the ways you can avoid becoming elbow-deep in a bag of chips the next time the cravings hit. Continue reading
After a post-dinner conversation between Laurie Hommema, MD, OhioHealth medical director of provider and associate well-being, and her husband, Kevin, the idea to clean and re-use N95 masks has now become a reality that's keeping thousands of frontline healthcare workers safe.
Pulse oximeters measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. A percentage above 95 percent is considered normal, although it's natural for this number to decrease while you're asleep. Continue reading
Once you've been diagnosed with COVID-19, can you test positive a second, or even third time? Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, recently spoke with 10TV about how testing positive multiple times is possible - but it might not mean you've contracted the virus multiple times. Continue reading
Currently, all operations and procedures must be outpatient. Per orders from Gov. Mike DeWine, elective surgeries that would require overnight stays in the hospital are not permitted at this time. Continue reading
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Precention (CDC) shows that calls to poison control centers around the country have increased by about 20 percent during the COVID-19 outbreak, as compared to this time last year. Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases, spoke with ABC6 reporter Mike McCarthy about how dangerous these chemicals can be when ingested or injected. Continue reading
Luckily, Amy Kleski, a clinical exercise physiologist at the OhioHealth McConnell Heart Health Center, has a few tips and tricks for getting your body up and moving during the stay-at-home order. Kleski shared those tips with 10TV Commit to Be Fit reporter Molly Brewer. Continue reading
We've all heard about giving blood before, but did you know you can donate your plasma too? Right now, there is an ask for confirmed COVID-19 survivors, who have been symptom free for at least 14 days, to consider donating theirs. This convalescent plasma, a special component of the blood, is now becoming a major factor for treating critically ill COVID-19 patients.
According to Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, masks may not necessarily keep you from contracting COVID-19, but they will help keep others safe from it.
However, Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director, infectious diseases, spoke with NBC4 on April 14 about how they might just be giving people a false sense of security instead. Continue reading
As more numbers and data becomes available about COVID-19, the pandemic has revealed certain disparities within our public health system. Public health and community leaders have found that African Americans are being infected with and dying from COVID-19 at higher rates compared to others.
According to information from Columbus Public Health, African Americans make up 38% of hospitalizations from COVID-19, but just 28% of the city’s total population.
“It’s part of the job,” Jennifer Wenger, RN, a nurse at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital told 10TV in a recent interview for their "Not All Heroes Wear Capes" special. “We signed up to be here. We signed up to help our citizens of Columbus.” Continue reading
One of the biggest challenges in the fight against COVID-19 has been the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages for frontline healthcare workers. But that's started to change once Laurie Hommema, MD, OhioHealth medical director of provider and associate well-being, and her husband, Kevin, came up with a life-saving idea at the dining room table one night.
Employees from central Ohio's own Battelle have recently decontaminated over 30,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline providers who are treating COVID-19 patients. This includes PPE for OhioHealth and over 100 other enteties.
Following the decontamination process, the masks are sent back to the facilities they came from. The PPE can be decontaminated and reused up to 20 times, which helps conserve this vital resource for frontline providers. Continue reading
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, many people remain stressed and need help coping with their concerns. Because of this, calls to crisis hotlines and behavioral health telemedicine appointments are on the rise.
In a recent interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Megan Schabbing, MD, OhioHealth medical director of psyciatric emergency services, said that while overall emergency room volumes for medical patients have decreased at OhioHealth, there has been a fairly consistent volume of psychiatric patients coming to the emergency rooms and inpatient psychiatric units. Continue reading
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
“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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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