Morning Headlines: FDA Revises Rule for Sanitizing N-95 Masks; Ohio COVID-19 Cases Approach 2,000

Mar 30, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 30:

  • FDA revises rule for sanitizing N-95 masks;
  • Ohio COVID-19 cases approach 2,000;
  • Severe weather spawns '100-year flood' in Cleveland;
  • DeWine: Ohio 2 weeks away from being slammed by virus surge;
  • First COVID-19 case confirmed in state prison system;
  • Cleveland officers hospitalized after flood rescue mission;
  • Cuyahoga County places new rules on trash, recycling pick-up amid pandemic;
  • Sherwin-Williams donates 3,000 N-95 masks;
  • Giant Eagle sets up site tracking employees confirmed with COVID-19;
  • Traffic decreases during Ohio's stay-at-home order;

FDA revises rule for sanitizing N-95 masks
Federal regulators have reversed an order that limited Columbus-based lab Battelle to sanitize 10,000 N-95 masks each day. Gov. Mike DeWine called the limited order reckless during a press conference Sunday and asked President Donald Trump to intervene. The FDA’s revised order says Battelle can sanitize up to 8,000 masks per chamber load, or as many as 80,000 a day. The private research laboratory said its process can clean a single mask up to 20 times before the mask has to be discarded. The health care industry is facing a shortage of the masks nationwide. 

Ohio COVID-19 cases approach 2,000
Twenty-nine Ohioans have died from COVID-19 and 1,653 people have tested positive, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That's an increase of more than 200 cases from Saturday. More than 400 people have been hospitalized and around 30% of them are in the ICU. Summit County has recorded five deaths and Cuyahoga County, which has the most cases in the state, has reported three deaths, including the first in Cleveland. Lorain and Medina counties each reported their first death on Sunday.

Severe weather spawns '100-year flood' in Cleveland
Authorities said severe weather in Ohio has spawned what forecasters are calling a “100-year flood" in Cleveland and led to a number of water rescues. Cleveland firefighters said a man was rescued from the basement of an apartment building on the city's East Side on Saturday. The man called 911 saying the water was up to his chest. One firefighter had a minor injury and 10 people were displaced. Cleveland police said emergency medical personnel took an officer and sergeant to a hospital Saturday night for treatment of exposure after they entered frigid water to aid civilians.

DeWine: Ohio 2 weeks away from being slammed by virus surge
Ohio is likely to see a surge of coronavirus cases in about two weeks that could peak at 10,000 per day. Gov. Mike DeWine said that is the latest projection from modeling done by the Cleveland Clinic. DeWine said the latest information suggests the cases won't peak until mid-May. He said it's critical that the state dramatically increase the number of hospital beds that are available. The governor also said this is why it's so important to stay home and stick to social distancing guidelines. On Friday, DeWine signed Ohio's first major legislative response to the pandemic.  

First COVID-19 case confirmed in state prison system
The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the state prisons system. A staff member at Marion Correctional Institution has tested positive. No employees or inmates will be transferred in or out of the facility. The institution had more than 2,500 inmates as of last July. The Ohio Department of Health reports 20 inmates have been tested so far, including at least one at Marion. All tests have come back negative so far.

Cleveland officers in hospital after flood rescue mission
Two Cleveland police officers were hospitalized during a flooding rescue mission in the University Circle area. Cleveland.com reports the officers were admitted for exposure to cold and their conditions are unknown. Cuyahoga County was under a flash flood warning Sunday morning after torrential downpour the night before. Parts of the county reported 2 to 3 inches of rainfall within 24 hours. The Cuyahoga River was at near-historic crest levels.

Cuyahoga County places new rules on trash, recycling pick-up amid pandemic
New rules are in place for trash and recycling pick-up in Cuyahoga County to protect sanitation workers from COVID-19. The Cuyahoga County Joint Solid Waste District is suspending curb-side bulk pick up and asking residents to contain all items in the bins. Health officials believe the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for a long time — up to three days on steel and plastic, four days on glass and about a day on cardboard.

Sherwin-Williams donates 3,000 N-95 masks
Cleveland-based global paint giant maker Sherwin-Williams has donated 3,000 N-95 face masks to the Cleveland Division of Emergency Medical Service — a piece of equipment that's in severe shortage for health care workers. The masks have special material that effectively help people on the frontlines of the pandemic avoid contracting COVID-19. ICU doctors use around 13 N-95 masks within a 24-hour period. Gov. Mike DeWine is asking all businesses and schools that aren't using any protective equipment like gloves or gowns to donate them to local health departments.

Giant Eagle sets up site tracking employees confirmed with COVID-19
Grocery store chain Giant Eagle has set up a website tracking COVID-19 cases internally after many employees have tested positive. The site lists the store location and its status, along with the date of the confirmed test and when the employee was last in the store. Out of the six confirmed cases, one employee works at a GetGo in Brunswick and worked on Thursday. The rest are in Pennsylvania.

Traffic decreases during Ohio's stay-at-home order
Emptier roadways are becoming an ode to Ohio's stay-at-home order. ODOT says last Tuesday's traffic was down nearly 43% across the state compared to an average day. Before the order went into effect a week ago, traffic was down around 30%. ODOT has been displaying messages along interstates saying "STAY HOME OHIO, STOP COVID-19." Although the order doesn't prohibit interstate travel, it does ask residents only to travel when absolutely necessary.