A broadcast veteran of 40 years, including radio stints in Waverly, Circleville, West Union, Chillicothe and Columbus, Dan returned to Chillicothe as host of “Dan & Mike in the Morning” for nearly 25 years. Dan was known as “The Voice of the Chillicothe Cavaliers” for 35 seasons and in 2013 was inducted into the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS
Governor DeWine today announced that 82 of Ohio’s 88 counties are now considered high incidence counties as defined by the federal government. This means that the county has seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks.
Governor DeWine also announced that number of patients treated in Intensive Care Units at hospitals throughout the state are at the highest rate since the beginning of the crisis. He said that based on the indicators we have not yet reached the peak of our hospitalizations, and the ICU utilization has doubled since the beginning of October. Governor DeWine explained that most of Ohio’s cases are a result of community spread.
“As the virus spreads in the community from gatherings where people aren’t wearing masks or social distancing, it directly impacts our ability to keep our schools open, to protect our vulnerable elderly in nursing homes, and to keep our hospitals from being over-run and exceeding capacity,” said Governor DeWine.
Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans of the fundamental ways to stop the spread of the virus.
Wear a mask when you are out in public, when you go to a store, and when you are with friends.
Keep your distance.
Wash your hands often.
Keep your building well-ventilated.
He also asked Ohio businesses to allow employees to work from home, when possible; to remind employees of the ways they can stop the spread of the virus; and require customers to wear masks.
Governor DeWine also called on community leaders to inventory where they are in the battle against COVID-19. He asked them to work together to assess where they are, what they need to do, and set goals in their fight against the virus. The Governor and Lt. Governor will begin calls with the community leaders to develop strategies forward, starting with the three counties on the watch list.
Governor DeWine was joined by Secretary of State Frank LaRose today for an update on the election on November 2, 2020. Secretary LaRose outlined the precautions that the Board of Election offices are taking to keep Ohioans safe while voting. Secretary LaRose also reminded Ohioans that they can cast their vote early in person, by mail or on election day.
Additional information about the election, such as hours of polling locations, can be found at VoteOhio.gov.
CURRENT COVID-19 DATA
There are 202,740 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,239 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 18,433 people have been hospitalized, including 3,771 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has finalized details for several upcoming state tournaments, including cross country, volleyball and soccer. In addition, updates are included for football regional final and state semifinal sites, along with divisional breakdowns for the 2021 softball and baseball seasons.
SOCCER STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES TO BE HOSTED AT MAPFRE STADIUM
In partnership with the Columbus Crew SC, the OHSAA girls and boys soccer state championship games will once again be hosted at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus. The girls finals will be Friday, November 13, followed by the boys finals on Saturday, November 14. The OHSAA applauds the Crew SC for working with the OHSAA to make it possible for the finals to remain at MAPFRE Stadium, where they have been since 1999.
“We would like to thank the Crew SC for being such a great partner during these uncertain times,” said Kathleen Coughlin, OHSAA Director of Sport Management and soccer administrator. “Due to the attendance restrictions this year, we didn’t know if it would be possible to have our finals in such an outstanding venue, but the Crew SC made it happen and we couldn’t be happier to once again crown our soccer state champions at MAPFRE Stadium.”
VOLLEYBALL STATE TOURNAMENT TO BE HOSTED BY VANDALIA-BUTLER HIGH SCHOOL NOV. 13-15
The upcoming volleyball state tournament will take a hiatus from the Nutter Center at Wright State University and be hosted by Vandalia Butler High School. In addition, the event will move to a Friday-Saturday-Sunday format (November 13-15). School will not be in session at Butler High School that Friday.
“We are very thankful that Butler High School stepped forward to host our volleyball state tournament,” said Emily Gates, OHSAA Director of Sport Management and the volleyball administrator. “We look forward to our return to Wright State University in the future, but with the small number of fans who can attend this year, we needed to find a smaller venue that was still an exceptional site. We found that at Butler High School and are very excited to work together on this great state tournament.”
The facility will be cleared and cleaned after each match, so the state tournament schedule will be adjusted to the following:
Friday, November 13: Division II semifinals at 10 AM and 1 PM; Division I semifinals at 4 PM and 7 PM
Saturday, November 14: Division IV semifinals at 10 AM and 1 PM; Division III semifinals at 4 PM and 7 PM
Sunday, November 15: Division II final at 9 AM; Division I final at 12:30 PM; Division IV final at 4 PM; Division III final at 7:30 PM
On October 22, the OHSAA informed schools that the better-seeded team would determine the site for the regional finals, which can be at the better-seeded team’s home stadium or another site of their choosing. The Division I regional finals are this Friday, Oct. 30, while the regional finals for Divisions II through VII are November 6-7.
Later this week, the OHSAA will announce how the regions will be paired for the Division I state semifinal games. Next week, the OHSAA will announce how the regions will be paired for the state semifinals in Divisions II through VII. The OHSAA will select neutral sites for the state semifinal games and the state championship games. Sites will be announced as soon as possible. Of note, many traditional host sites are not available to serve as neutral sites due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SOFTBALL AND BASEBALL DIVISIONAL BREAKDOWNS POSTED FOR 2021 SEASONS
The divisional breakdowns for the 2021 softball and baseball seasons have been posted at OHSAA.org. Of note, competitive balance data was not used for the breakdowns due to the cancellation of the 2020 season.
With Trick-or-Treat events happening this week, the Ross County Health District has provided guidelines for making it a safe experience during the pandemic.
Most Beggar’s Night activities will be taking place Thursday from 6:30pm-7:30pm in Ross County. The RCHD notes aligning the event at the same time in each community will reduce the commingling of communities, which could potentially cause an increase of COVID-19 cases. In addition, the RCHD recommends:
Participants stay in small family groups (no more than 10 people)
Children be accompanied by an adult
All participants wear a face covering (or mask for those dressing up) in accordance with the current face covering order (NOTE: Face covering should never be placed on children younger than 2 or anyone who cannot easily remove them)
All candy be handed out by an adult (do not grab candy directly from bowl), preferably while remaining outside
Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy
In addition, RCHD asks that Ross Countians:
Stay home if they feel sick
Do not pass out candy if you feel sick
Wash hands (or sanitize) often
Observe social distancing and do not gather with other family groups
Be respectful of homes/families who choose not to participate
Not congregate in groups larger than 10 people
Wipe off candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes when you arrive home. (NOTE: Never wipe unpackaged food with wipes)
For more details or questions regarding a safe Beggar’s Night, contact the RCHD at 740-779-9667.
The Ross County Commissioners have allocated Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to cover the cost of testing for any qualified resident of Ross County who needs a test. Adena Health System will execute the testing program through its multiple COVID-19 testing facilities, after the person contacts the AdenaCOVID-19 Hotline at 740-542-SAFE (7233).
“Ross County was fortunate to be awarded funds from the CARES Act,” said Commissioner Steve Neal. “The costs associated with COVID-19 testing is forcing some families to make a decision to forgo or delay testing when experiencing symptoms of the virus. This collaboration with Adena, the City of Chillicothe, and the Ross County Health District gives us an opportunity to provide testing for qualified Ross County residents at no cost to them, and saving lives.”
If a resident of Ross County – or any county in the south central and southern Ohio region – believes they have symptoms of Coronavirus; or if they are not showing symptoms but have been in contact with someone confirmed to have the virus, they should call the Adena COVID-19 Hotline before seeking care. Once callers access the COVID-19 Hotline, a screener will conduct a brief interview to determine if testing is needed. An appointment will then be set up for the caller at one of Adena’s Urgent Care testing facilities throughout the region.
Patients with COVID-19 symptoms will:
· Be scheduled for a required exam at the testing location; and
· Testing will be administered and sent to Adena’s lab for processing.
Patients not showing symptoms butwhohave been in contact with a COVID-positive person will:
· Be scheduled for a curbside nasal swab at their nearest testing facility;
· The patient will NOT exit their vehicle; and
· Receive a COVID PCR Test with results provided in two to five days, depending on statewide testing volume.
Because of the virus’ high risk to others, COVID-19 testing is NOT a walk-in service at Adena Urgent Care locations or physician offices. For anyone in need of a test, the first act is to CALL Adena’s COVID-19 Hotline at 542-SAFE to begin the process of setting up an appointment.
Expanding community-wide testing also includes the addition of in-school testing for any Chillicothe City Schools student. This in-school testing is being provided with CARES Act funding that has been awarded to the City of Chillicothe.
“Any Chillicothe City Schools student with COVID-19 symptoms, or who has been identified by the Ross County Health District as being in contact with a COVID-19 positive person can be tested at school, and at no cost to their family,” said Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney. “By having in-school access to testing, school personnel can quickly identify and separate students who may be carrying the virus or exposed to it faster and more effectively.”
To be tested at school, a child’s parent or guardian must approve the use of in-school testing. Parents may also request testing for their child if they are symptomatic or if they have been exposed to a person confirmed to have the Novel Coronavirus.
With Chillicothe’s in-school testing program, the Ross County Health District is providing the testing swabs, with samples being collected by the school nurse. Once complete, the swab is taken by courier to Adena’s laboratory for processing and results. Non-symptomatic students will have the COVID PCR Test, which could take several days for processing, depending on statewide volumes. Symptomatic and asymptomatic students will be dismissed from school to quarantine or isolate – if showing symptoms – at home until they receive Health District clearance to return.
“Thanks to Mayor Feeney and the City of Chillicothe for identifying CARES Act funds to launch this needed testing protocol in our city schools,” said Debbie Swinehart, Superintendent, Chillicothe City Schools. “This assistance will enable us to identify and separate infected students, reducing risk to other students, faculty and staff.”
Testing costs for students attending Ross County area schools will be covered by the Ross County Commissioners CARES Act dollars. Testing is not currently being performed within county schools, but parents/guardians with a symptomatic child/children or a non-symptomatic child should begin the testing process for their child/children by first calling Adena’sCOVID-19 HOTLINE at 740-542-SAFE and following the steps outlined above.
“The commitment of our community partners in supporting this specific health care need of individuals, families and children comes at a time when we are seeing more cases of the virus in our hometowns and region,” said Adena President and CEO Jeff Graham. “By making sure no family has to decide if or when to come forward for COVID-19 testing is nothing short of a blessing for many people, and the overall safety of our communities and region.”
To meet growing community need, Adena has doubled the number of staff serving patients through its COVID-19 Hotline, cutting down on-hold time. The Health System has also increased staff in its Urgent Care/Testing locations to meet the increasing number of people in need of COVID-19 testing, as well as treating the patients expected as we enter influenza season. Adena has begun similar talks with other communities in its nine-county service region.
Graham assured, “Despite this long span of providing intense care for patients with COVID-19, and the growing volumes of people entering the testing process, Adena’s dedicated caregivers continue to stand ready to navigate the current spike in cases, and to meet the health care needs of people in our communities.”
Barb and Jerry Jividen are finally seeing an 18 year journey come to fruition. Last spring, “MOM” was to be released in time for Mother’s Day.
The pandemic pushed the release date back to November, 2020. If not for the pandemic, the book may never had materialized.
Jividen tells Litter Media she had written the manuscript in 2002 and when publishers were hesitant to give the book a chance, she placed the manuscript in a drawer at their home. While doing a remodeling project during the pandemic, she rediscovered the manuscript and still had the photos planned for the book. With the extra time on their hands, the Jividens brought the book back to life with a new outlook.
The book is available throughwww.goodreads.com and other online bookstores, as well as Chillicothe’s Wheatberry Books at 9 West Second Street and www.wheatberrybooks.com.
Most of the area teams still alive in OHSAA playoff action will be playing Saturday night, but several will be continuing their regular season action on Friday night. All kick off times are 7pm.
The Litter Media Game of the Week features Waverly hosting McNicholas in the quarterfinals of D IV Region 16. The Tigers enter the game 7-0 after pasting Norwood 62-14 last Saturday. McNicholas was a 27-0 winner over Unioto last weekend, improving the Rockets’ record to 5-2. Watch for score updates from Waverly on the Litter Media Facebook Page Saturday night, Litter Media Extras including a game report, photos over the weekend and a game highlight package next week.
“Sadly our situation continues in Ohio to worsen” Governor Mike DeWine said in the opening to his Thursday COVID-19 Update News Conference.
Governor DeWine today released Ohio’s updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 38 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 29 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. As of today, 92.8 percent of Ohioans are living in a county that is Red Level 3 and/or high incidence. Only 1 percent of Ohioans live in a Yellow Level 1 county.
“For my fellow Ohioans who have felt that until now this virus really did not impact their lives or their families and that they would react when the situation got really serious – I say to them that the time is now. Now is the time to take this seriously,” said Governor DeWine. “We need you. We need you to be fully engaged in this battle. The virus is spreading fast and has penetrated deeply into virtually every county in the state. We all must fight back.”
Three counties are currently on Ohio’s Watch List, meaning that they are approaching Purple Level 4: Clark, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton counties.
In the past 24 hours, an additional 2,425 new COVID-19 cases have been reported, the highest number of new cases in any 24-day reporting period since the start of the pandemic. Of the top 10 days with the most newly reported cases, eight have occurred in the past nine days, and nine have occurred in October.
According to local health departments across the state, spread is primarily occurring during social and family gatherings. Many counties are also seeing a sustained increase in hospitalizations.
Governor DeWine unveiled a new advertisement that will begin airing across the state to serve as a visual reminder of how quickly COVID-19 can domino out of control.
FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie virtually joined today’s public briefing to discuss his recent diagnosis with COVID-19. Governor Christie spent a week in ICU fighting the disease.
Governor Christie said, in part:
“I thought I was safe, and I was wrong. I took my mask off, and I left it off, but only for the time that I was inside the White House gates. Three days later I began to feel what I call the freight train of symptoms that happen with COVID-19 – fever, headaches, incredible body aches, chills, sweats, and it overcame me in a period of 24 hours. I had gone from feeling fine and doing my work on a Friday afternoon to by Saturday at 1:00 being admitted to the hospital and taken immediately to the intensive care unit where I stayed for the next six and a half days.
“I want everyone to understand that this is one of the most unpredictable, random, and brutal viruses you’ll ever see. My message to the people of Ohio and the people of this country is that there is no place to hide from this virus if you are not going to take the common-sense steps recommended to us: wear a mask when you’re outside, remain socially distant from people, no big crowds, and wash your hands frequently.
“I just want to urge as many people as I can, don’t let your guard down. It’s not worth it. I made a huge mistake by taking that mask off. It’s something I hope no other Americans have to go through.
“One of the things I think people don’t understand about this disease – because it’s so random and because so little is understood – is that when you’re there and going through it, the psychological effect it has on you is significant. You start to think about life and death. It’s like getting beaten up from the inside out, and that combination of physical and psychological stress – it’s unique in my life and pretty extraordinary.
“I know how tired everyone is of this, I felt it myself, but as tired as you are of strapping that mask on or going to the sink and washing those hands again – you will take those days in a heartbeat compared to getting this disease.”
ACTIVE CASES IN THE REGION: Some area health departments report an active case county for their county daily, others up to three times per week on their social media platforms or department websites. (Note: Ross County does not report a count of active cases.) These are the active cases as of the date reported, which total 1,074 an increase of 47 since our report on 10/19/20.
FAIRFIELD: 423 (10/22) +29
FAYETTE: 85 (10/21)-22
HIGHLAND: 93 (1021) -15
HOCKING: 15 (10/22) +7
JACKSON: 86 (10/22) +1
PICKAWAY: 67 (10/22) -13
PIKE: 31 (10/21) -8
ROSS: No report
SCIOTO: 252 (10/22) +65
VINTON: 22 (10/21) +3
Statewide as of 2pm ET Thursday, October 22, 2020 (difference since Wednesday at 2pm ET): Ohio has 190,430 (+2,425) total COVID-19 cases with 155,181 (+1,412) presumed recoveries, 17,682 (+159) hospitalizations and 5,161 (+12) virus related deaths.
Cases by county in the Scioto Valley Region since the count began in March 2020: (Data compares Wednesday’s Report with Thursday’s from the State’s COVID-19 dashboard which show 150 new cases (9,739 since March) in the 10 county region over the last 24 hours, the most being in Ross County (+33), Fairfield County (+28), Scioto County (+22), Pickaway County (+17), Highland County (+13), Jackson County (+12) and Pike (+10) with 0 new deaths reported. There have been 4 new hospitalizations (787 total since March). See the updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System Code map here: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/public-health-advisory-system)
Donors of all blood types are urged to give now to keep the blood supply stable. Blood donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, and the COVID-19 pandemic may further impact donations. Every donation can give a hospital patient something to be extra thankful for this year.
The Red Cross continues testing blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of this effort, plasma from standard blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.
The American Red Cross continues to experience a decline in scheduled educational blood drives this fall due to COVID-19 drive cancellations. To help encourage and provide incentive for youth donors to donate blood, any donor, ages 16-24, who comes to give blood Oct. 17 – Dec. 17, 2020 will automatically receive a $10 e-gift card, by email.
Below are the blood drives that are open to the public in November.
HERITAGE NAZARENE CHURCH – Multi-Purpose Room
ALL DONORS WILL RECEIVE A $5 ROOSTERS COUPON!
Monday November 2nd
To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: HNC
SOUTH CENTRAL OHIO CHAPTER HOUSE – Friedman Donor Room
ALL DONORS WILL RECEIVE A $5 AMAZON GIFT
Friday November 6th
To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: Roberta
SOUTH CENTRAL OHIO CHAPTER HOUSE – Friedman Donor Room
Friday November 13th
To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code: SCOC
FRANKFORT COMMUNITY – Masonic Lodge, 23 W. Springfield St.
Saturday November 14th
To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: FrankfortCommunity
LIONS CLUB CHILLICOTHE – Drive held at the Red Cross South Central Ohio Chapter House
Monday November 23rd
To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: LionsChillicothe
SOUTH CENTRAL OHIO CHAPTER HOUSE – Friedman Donor Room
Friday November 27th
To schedule an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code: SCOC
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor DeWine announced today that hospitals across Ohio are currently treating 1,221 COVID-19 patients which is the most hospitalized patients at one time since the start of the pandemic. A total of 216 of these hospitalizations were reported in the past 24 hours which is the highest number of hospitalizations reported in a single day and more than 50 hospitalizations more than the previous high in mid-July.
Ohio is also recording an increase in ICU admissions and ventilator utilization.
“So far, Ohio’s hospitals still have adequate remaining capacity to care for everyone who is sick, but our hospitalizations are already breaking records, and we are not seeing any signs of Ohio’s case numbers slowing down,” said Governor DeWine. “If we don’t buckle down, wear our masks, and take care of each other, I am very concerned that our hospitals will begin to fill up. We pushed this virus down before, and it’s up to all of us to do it again.”
The White House Coronavirus Task Force strongly recommends that Ohioans limit gatherings with family and friends to prevent the virus from spreading to those most at risk of complications. The recommendation follows the increase in community spread in Ohio initiated by small social gatherings.
“It’s the same thing I’m hearing when I speak with county health commissioners. They are seeing the most spread in Ohio from informal gatherings,” said Governor DeWine. “We can’t let our guard down; we must keep our masks on.”
Governor DeWine also urged caution for sports fans who gather this weekend to watch the Ohio State, Browns, and Bengals football games.
$1.3 BILLION GOING TO OHIO BUSINESSES
Dividend checks from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will be mailed to employers beginning this week. The dividend amount totals approximately $1.3 billion.
The money is being given back to employers in response to Governor DeWine’s request in August that the Ohio BWC Board of Directors approve a second dividend to provide financial support for public and private employers impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
These checks will be mailed to employers throughout the end of October.
A wide-ranging program to address the needs of struggling Ohioans, including funding for rent, mortgages, and water and sewer utility bills, as well as funding for small businesses and nonprofits, will be announced in the near future.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided an update from the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) on the status of high school fall sports.
OHSAA Observers have attended 458 sites, including 600 football games, at least 50 volleyball matches, and at least 50 soccer matches over the course of eight weeks.
The OHSAA provides reports to the schools following the competitions to serve as an educational opportunity for the school to improve.
LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY DASHBOARD
Ohio’s new long-term care facility dashboard is now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The new dashboard outlines visitation information at nursing facilities across the state. Those with loved ones in a nursing facility can search for information by county or facility to find information on the types of visits that are offered and when they are permitted. Nursing facilities were permitted to allow indoor visitations beginning October 12.
Details regarding the visitation guidelines for Ohio’s intermediate care facilities can be found in a public health order issued on September 24. Visitation at intermediate care facilities was permitted to resume on September 28.
VACCINE PROVIDER REGISTRATION
Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has submitted its Interim Draft COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The plan is a framework on how Ohio will proceed once a vaccine is available. The plan will be available tomorrow at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The Ohio Department of Health will also be launching a new registration tool for health care providers who would like to eventually administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers, such as local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and nursing facilities, will be notified soon with instructions about how they can register.
TEST RESULT REPORTING
The Ohio Department of Health has developed a technology solution to allow their systems to track negative test results. In response, Interim Director of Health Lance Himes today amended a directive that now requires all labs to start sharing all positive, negative, inconclusive, and invalid test results related to COVID-19 tests with the Ohio Department of Health.
Previously, labs were reporting positive COVID-19 results at the individual level and as an aggregate count for all other test results.
“Adding these categories will allow us to gather additional data for a more complete picture of how COVID is spreading in our communities,” said Governor DeWine. This will also allow us to provide positivity data by county in the coming weeks.”
FLU SHOTS Governor DeWine once again urged Ohio citizens to get their flu shots this year. A person can become infected with both the flu virus and coronavirus at the same time.
If you become ill this season, many healthcare providers will test for both flu and COVID-19 to get a proper diagnosis. While the symptoms can be similar, COVID-19 is more serious, its symptoms last longer, those hospitalized tend to have longer hospital stays, and the virus has a higher mortality rate.
CURRENT COVID-19 DATA
There are 185,639 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,083 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 17,388 people have been hospitalized, including 3,597 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Nobody wants to see Grandpa Joe climbing a ladder or Aunt Helen perched atop a wobbly chair outside the windows of Adena Regional Medical Center’s Women & Children’s Center trying to get a glimpse of the latest addition to their family.
A version of those scenarios is what has played out, however, outside the windows of patient rooms where mothers have been bonding with their newborns since precautionary visitor restrictions were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to Coronavirus, an expectant mother could have up to five visitors at a time while in labor and delivery and an unlimited number of visitors once moved into the mother/infant rooms after giving birth. Once the virus became a factor, expectant mothers were permitted one support person – a spouse, significant other or another family member, for instance – during labor and delivery and for the remainder of their hospital stay for safety measures.
The change in protocols produced a considerable and concerning change in the behavior of some families.
“We were seeing that families were attempting to view babies through the (patient room) windows in maybe not the safest manner because the windows on the outside aren’t level with what’s on the inside – so they would have a chair or a ladder or some other type of item that they would just have in their car and they were trying to stand on it and look in the window,” said Tasha Turner, nurse manager of pediatrics and the nursery. “We were really concerned someone was going to get hurt. (It was happening) almost every day.”
While safety was a critical part of the problem, it wasn’t the only concern.
“They were usually trying to look into a patient room, which also could lead to its own issues if they went to the wrong window and looked in on somebody else’s family, and we definitely don’t want those kind of things either,” Turner said.
The challenge was to find a way for families to safely view their newest loved one without having to enter the ward to do so.
“We discussed how we can allow families to see the new baby because we know that’s important to families, so we started thinking about is there any area that is easily accessible?” Turner explained. “Because of infant safety, there just aren’t a whole lot of places where it’s safe for somebody to view a baby. We have some doors, but if you get a baby too close to one of our doors, it will set off our alarms because that’s how we keep them safe so somebody’s not taking a baby.
“So we really just walked around our unit and thought where’s a good place where you could look at a baby and then we found this one area out in Mother/Infant — it’s a large window facing out toward the parking lot, and we thought if we could do something to make the outside area (leveled) up to the inside area, then we would easily be able to have the family look in at the baby.”
The result is a newly constructed wooden ramp leading to a platform outside that window just off the northeast corner of the hospital. With signage and guidelines posted, families are able to schedule a time to stand on the platform and look at the new baby resting in a crib by the window. Times will be arranged between the new mothers and their family members, then ward staff will be informed when times are confirmed.
“We want to make sure, especially at the beginning, that we’re keeping an eye on that area to make sure they’re doing it in a safe manner,” Turner said. “We don’t want moms picking up the baby to show them because we’re a little bit worried about babies being dropped. We made the viewing area in a manner that somebody can come up to the window and see the baby in a crib, they don’t have to pick the baby up out of there.”
Keeping ward staff in the loop on scheduled times also will help prevent a backlog of families from congregating outside the viewing area during periods in which the ward is handling a large number of births. When multiple families are awaiting a turn on the platform, social distancing will be observed between families and a time limit of 15 minutes at the window will be in place.
With the platform now in use, security will be asked to monitor activity around it “just so they can check and make sure people are using it safely and that people are not going back to the old ways because we have this new way for them to do it that’s safe for everyone,” Turner said.
The platform is the latest example of the type of out-of-the-box thinking about patient-centered care – in this case going beyond patients themselves to include their extended families – that helped earn Adena a spot this summer on Newsweek’s 2020 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals. Only 231 hospitals across 36 states were selected to receive the honor.