Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday, April 1 that he has deployed the National Guard to Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati to help prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases, expected by medical experts to hit Ohio near the end of April or beginning of May.
To prepare for anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, DeWine said that officials had separated the state into three hospital regions — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati-Dayton — and that locations were being scouted in each region to build excess capacity.
Right now, DeWine said, space in hospitals is temporarily increasing because of the cancellation of elective procedures. But DeWine and the Department of Health have been anticipating a need for additional capacity when the biggest wave of positive cases and the associated hospital stays arrive.
Teams from the National Guard are now working with local engineers and hospitals to plan build-outs. Wednesday afternoon, teams were assessing the possibility of using both the Columbus Convention Center and the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati to expand hospital capacity in those regions.
In Cleveland, both the Huntington Convention Center and the IX Center have been floated as potential "field hospital" sites for overflow capacity. DeWine mentioned that unused college dorm rooms, hotel rooms and unoccupied medical offices may also be conscripted.