Thursday, October 29th, 2020

DeWine: Mercer hospital about full

By Leslie Gartrell
CELINA - Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday highlighted Mercer County's struggle with COVID-19 as he discussed the growing number of cases across the state.
DeWine's comments arrived the same day the county saw a record 39 new cases on Wednesday, raising the county's total to 1,523.
In an appearance on Bill Cunningham's radio show on WLW-AM on Wednesday, DeWine said he had spoken with Lisa Klenke, CEO of Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, about the hospital's capacity and transferring capabilities.
"We had the CEO of the hospital there, and she told us for example in Mercer County, they're about full at their hospital," DeWine said. "And she said the three hospitals they normally transfer to… they're not taking transfers now."
Mercer Health vice president of development, marketing and community relations Mindy Kremer told the newspaper while the hospital wasn't at full capacity as of Wednesday evening, the situation could change at any moment.
"It's not static," she said. "We've definitely seen an increase in positive cases. We're fuller than we have been, but we're not at capacity yet."
Klenke and Susan Miller, vice president of patient care services, during Wednesday evening's hospital board meeting said hospitals around the region overall have seen more patients.
"Locally, regionally, there's uncertainty of what you'll be dealing with," Kremer said. "We have to stay nimble at this point in time."
While Mercer Health has adequate personal protective equipment, Kremer said the hospital is going through it more quickly than before.
She said the census, or current number of inpatients, at the hospital constantly fluctuates.
"We, as well as regional hospitals, are consistently seeing higher census, which can at times limit transfers," she said.
"We typically have a higher census during the cold and flu season, with current census hovering in the lower 30s," Kremer said.
Klenke and Miller said they've experienced issues transferring patients to facilities they normally would use, such as St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima, because other facilities are also experiencing a surge.
Klenke mentioned on one particular day, St. Rita's, where Mercer Health transfers most of its serious patients, had been diverting patients.
While Mercer Health is still working with hospitals in the region, Miller and Klenke said they may need to consider sending patients to more distant facilities if current conditions continue.
However, Kremer said the strain on the health care system can be eased if people protect each other.
"We can get this under control," she said. "Maybe withhold some pride if need be. We have the ability to control this, and it's up to us to decide if we're getting on the boat or letting things continue as they are."
Mercer County has struggled to stop the spread of COVID-19, and on Wednesday the county had its highest daily case count. Mercer County Health District officials reported 39 new cases, 173 probable cases, 12 hospitalizations, 1,324 people who have recovered, 27 deaths and two probable deaths from COVID-19. Of the 1,523 confirmed cases, 167 are active.
Mercer County is third in the state for counties ranked by highest rate of new cases per capita in the past two weeks.
The county has a rate of 478.5 cases per 100,000 people. Auglaize County is second in the state with 538.8 cases per 100,000 people.
In Auglaize County, health department officials in a news release reported 28 new confirmed cases, raising the county's total to 1,054. The department also reported 201 probable cases, 81 total hospitalizations, 801 people who have recovered and 16 deaths from COVID-19. Of the 1,255 confirmed and probable cases, 426 are active.
COVID-19 cases have been reported in all areas of the county since the beginning of the pandemic. Wapakoneta has the highest cumulative number with 424; St. Marys, 369; Minster, 194; New Bremen, 135; Cridersville, 53; Waynesfield, 33; New Knoxville, 24; Botkins, four; Spencerville, four; Saint Johns, three; Uniopolis, three; New Hampshire, two; the Lakeview area, two; Lima area, two; Buckland, two; and Mendon area, one.
As of Wednesday night, the Ohio Department of Health reported 205,347 confirmed and probable cases in the state, 18,606 hospitalizations and 5,256 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases/deaths:
Mercer County had record number of COVID cases Wednesday.
Ohio cases 205,347
Ohio deaths 5,256
Mercer County cases 1,523
Mercer County deaths 27
Auglaize County cases 1,054
Auglaize County deaths 16
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Booster Stadium
The teams met in the 1962 and 1963 seasons with the Flyers winning by scores of 58-0 and 24-0.
All games start at 7 p.m.
Division VII Region 28
Riverside at Marion Local
New Bremen at Fort Loramie
Bryan at Celina