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NewsNow - 12.29.2021

Governor DeWine Provides Update On COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Ohio National Guard Deployment

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that he has ordered the mobilization of an additional 1,250 members of the Ohio National Guard to support hospitals with the most critical needs across the state. The mobilization comes on the same day the state set an all-time high for the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations during the pandemic. The Ohio Hospital Association reported today that 5,356 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. One in four patients are COVID-19 positive. This surpasses the previous hospitalizations record of 5,308 on Dec. 15, 2020. Of today’s hospitalizations, 1,228 patients are in the ICU, which is approaching the record high of 1,318 ICU patients reported on Dec. 15, 2020.

Ohio National Guard Deployment

As hospitals struggle with staffing to support the surge in COVID-19 patients, Governor DeWine announced during a press conference today, that he has asked Major General John C. Harris, Jr., Adjutant General, Ohio National Guard, to mobilize an additional 1,250 members of the Ohio National Guard, bringing the total deployment of National Guard members working with Ohio’s healthcare systems to 2,300 members. “This is not something we take lightly... We are asking them to leave their families, their jobs and homes. This is a huge sacrifice,” Governor DeWine said.Governor DeWine previously authorized the deployment of 1,050 Ohio National Guard members on Friday, Dec. 17. Major General Harris said the Ohio National Guard’s goal is to augment hospitals’ medical staff and wraparound services. Teams including nurses and medics will provide clinical care and non-medical teams will offer support services such as food service, patient transportation within facilities, and administrative support.

Approximately 460 Guard members are deployed in the Cleveland area; more than 160 in the Toledo area; about 100 in Columbus area. Smaller numbers of the Guard will be deployed in the coming days in Mansfield, Dayton, and Lima to support hospitals. Guard personnel are also supporting testing sites in Cleveland and Akron. “The National Guard has been indispensable,” said Robert Wyllie, M.D., Chief Medical Operations Officer, Cleveland Clinic. The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association are working daily with Ohio hospitals to assess staffing needs to determine the most appropriate support from the Ohio National Guard. “Everybody agreed when the decision was made to send in the National Guard to our hospitals … All the way through this, we are going to be guided by where they are needed most today. It should give people confidence that everybody is on the same page here. Let’s deploy them where they are needed the most,” Governor DeWine said.


Hospitals have been taking extraordinary measures to manage this COVID-19 surge, including postponing elective surgeries, while battling staffing shortages as a result of COVID-19 infection or exposure, and burnout. The northern parts of Ohio have been particularly hard hit, especially the greater Cleveland area, where one in three patients are COVID-19 positive, including ICU patients, according to OHA data. “The hospital systems are under significant stress in Northern Ohio,” Dr. Wyllie said. “We are running 2,000 tests a day. Let me tell you about those tests: 36% of the people going into the Walker Center for testing are testing positive for COVID.” Statewide, the COVID-19 positivity rate is 25%, according to Ohio Department of Health data.

The state’s strategic hospital zone and region structure has allowed hospitals to work together with neighboring hospitals to balance the load of patients. This structure continues to be vital as cases and hospitalizations dramatically rise statewide and staffing remains a significant concern. While Southwest Ohio is not seeing the same volume of patients as northern parts of the state, Richard P. Lofgren, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, UC Health, expressed concerns about the surge in cases making its way across the entire state during the coming weeks. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over … we are seeing more cases now than we have ever seen along the way,” he said. “Now, the spread of Omicron is adding fuel to this raging fire. One of the things that I want to make sure that people understand, is that this not only affects the care of people with COVID, but also affects people who don’t have COVID. It squeezes out our ability to take care of patients with other life-serious or life-threatening problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.”

Governor DeWine also spoke with Jennifer Hollis, a critical care nurse at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, about her experience in the hospital. “I just want everybody to be able to walk a mile in my shoes and kind of understand as a critical care nurse, what I am seeing when I am coming into work. It is beyond difficult,” Hollis said. “Our beds are full. There is nowhere else to go, and we are just as short-staffed as everyone else is seeing as well … We are tired, we are frustrated, and we want the best for all of our patients.” Hollis urged Ohioans to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. “I’ll continue to fight for you, when you won’t fight for yourself. Please get vaccinated. Quarantine if you are symptomatic. Get tested,” she said.

Vaccination, prevention

Governor DeWine emphasized that the COVID-19 vaccines remain a powerful tool to keep people out of the hospital. Since June 1, 2021, there have been 35,962 admissions, and 92.5% of those have been among people who are not fully vaccinated. Now more than ever, it’s critical to follow prevention strategies including getting vaccinated, getting a booster shot if eligible, wearing face masks, washing your hands frequently, getting tested, and staying home if sick, even if symptoms are mild. “We are looking now at an impact of COVID-19 that is unlike anything we’ve seen before in this pandemic,” said Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D., MBA, Director, Ohio Department of Health. “We have access to a powerful tool that can really shield us from the worst outcomes of COVID-19, and that is vaccination.” As of today, more than 6.9 million Ohioans have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s 63% of those Ohioans eligible (ages 5 and older). More than 2.6 million have received an additional dose, or a booster dose.

Masking in Schools

Today, the Ohio Hospital Association also distributed a letter from the Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio Children’s Hospital Association to Ohio school superintendents, administrators and school board members encouraging them to implement a masking requirement when students return from the holiday break. A masking requirement in schools will help limit community spread of COVID-19 and keep students in school, the letter said.


Dr. Vanderhoff encouraged Ohioans to celebrate safely this holiday weekend so we can all have a healthy start to 2022. “As we get ready to ring in a new year, please, think about the steps you can take to prevent COVID-19 spread before you gather. Keeping vaccinations up to date, appropriate testing, staying home if you feel the least bit sick, masking especially in crowded indoor environments, proper ventilation, and regular handwashing can all help prevent the spread of COVID-19, flu, and other illnesses this season,” he said.

ODH RFP: School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) - Removing Barriers to Care Subrecipient Opportunity 

The Ohio Department of Health has issued an RFP for School-Based Health Centers – Removing Barriers to Care funding. The funds are being made available for the support of SBHC through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. As part of this work, ODH is seeking to fund health care providers across the state who have demonstrated success in the development and management of ODH49670 School Based-Health Centers (SBHC). ODH intends to fund up to 10 subrecipients who can develop new SBHC sites and/or expand current services to serve eligible school districts where children and youth are at the highest risk of experiencing poor health and academic outcomes. Please refer to the RFP for complete details, including eligibility. The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 31, 2022. Please send inquiries to Angela.Norton@odh.ohio.gov. Responses to questions will be posted HERE.

Stanford Medicine Addresses Youth Tobacco, Vaping, e-Cigarette Use With “MY Healthy Future Course”

Stanford Medicine has released a new MY Healthy Future course -- an alternative to suspension aimed at helping middle- and/or high-school-aged students who are struggling with tobacco use/vaping. This new online, self-paced course can be completed independently by students in 40-60 minutes. The MY Healthy Future Course provides online activities and interactive materials that provide secondary prevention messages to students caught using e-cigarettes/vapes, or students and parents looking for materials to help youth move towards quitting. The course is part of Stanford Medicine’s Tobacco Prevention Toolkit’s Healthy Futures Program.

Study Finds Individual Housing Reduced Coronavirus Rates in People Experiencing Homelessness

Persons experiencing homelessness (PEH) who were at high risk of severe COVID-19 were 2.5 times less likely to contract COVID-19 if they were provided with individual hotel rooms and medical and social support compared to citywide rates in homeless shelters, according to new research from the University of Chicago Medical Center. The findings provide hard data demonstrating these types of interventions can be highly effective for improving stability for PEH and that increasing healthcare and social support access can drive better health outcomes and improve health equity. “All of this has public health implications. When you think about how much time and money is spent every time someone ends up in the ER because they’re experiencing homelessness…These data show us that a medical housing approach could help,” said Elizabeth Tung, M.D.

Tips on How to Work Happily from Home as COVID Cases Increase

The number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 197,000 last week, nearing the record of 251,000 new daily cases set in January. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention DC predicts that the Omicron variant represents about 73% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. which means many people may continue to work from home in 2022. It’s essential to have strategies in place to minimize your stress levels and help you stay focused. Here are ways by PR Daily to stay productive and happy while working from home: create a designated workspace, establish a balanced schedule, and take measures to avoid burnout like taking a break when you are stressed. Here are more tips on how to successfully work from home.

P.E.E.R. Center Sponsoring Trainings on Ethics & Co-Occurring Disorders

The P.E.E.R. Center, in partnership with OhioMHAS, is offering two upcoming training opportunities for peer recovery supporters in Ohio. Click the links below for more information and to register. You will be muted throughout the webinar but will be able to email questions to jdoodley@thepeercenter.org ahead of time. You will also be able to ask questions in the chat during the live session. The ethics webinar is ceu eligible. Inquire with your licensing board for the exact number of approved hours.

Jan. 12 | New Ethical Dilemmas in a Digital Age

Jan. 27 | Understanding Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders: Co-Occurring Training for PRS

NIMH Speaker Series: Addressing Social Determinants to Optimize Infant Brain Development – Jan. 18

The National Institute on Mental Health will continue its Director’s Innovation Speakers Series on Jan. 18 at 3:00 p.m. with a virtual presentation of  Addressing Social Determinants to Optimize Infant Brain Development. In this lecture, Cynthia Rogers, M.D. will provide an overview of adverse exposures and their influence on child development, discussing exposure to poverty, crime, and pre-and postnatal exposures to psychopathology and substance use. Dr. Rogers will also discuss ongoing longitudinal studies examining the role of social determinants on neonatal brain development, subsequent social-emotional development, and prevention and intervention strategies to optimize child development. Dr. Rogers is a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics and associate director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity at Washington University. Dr. Rogers also co-directs the Washington University Neonatal Development Research (WUNDER) group. Click HERE to register.

Supervision in Clinical Settings – Feb. 4

The Ohio Children’s Alliance is sponsoring a Supervision in Clinical Settings training on Feb. 4. Led by Jennifer Haywood, LISW-S, LICDC-CS, this three-hour training will review the types of supervision, the stages of supervision and some of the pitfalls that can occur when someone is becoming a supervisor. The transition from worker to supervisor will also be covered as well as supervision theories. Ways to improve the administrative, educative, and supportive roles will be discussed and demonstrated. Strengths that a social worker should possess if doing supervision will also be reviewed. Click HERE for more information and to register.

Peer Recovery Support Trainings for Veterans

The Ohio Department of Veterans Services is hosting two online Peer Recovery Supporter (PRS) Training for veterans in the new year. This training teaches individuals in recovery from a mental health and/or substance use issues to use their experience to help peers who are also in recovery. Upon successful completion of this training, individuals are eligible to apply for certification as a Peer Recovery Supporter in the State of Ohio. Trainings will take place virtually, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on the following dates:

2 Weeks (Monday-Friday) | Feb. 7-11, and Feb. 14-18, 2022

Weekend Training (Saturday & Sunday for 5 weekends) | March 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, and April 9, 10, 2022

If you are a veteran in recovery from a mental health and/or substance use issue, and are interested in attending PRS Training, please contact Beth Deck at 419.624.5018 or by email: beth.deck@dvs.ohio.gov. Please include PRS Certification Training in the subject Line.

Northern Ohio Recovery Association Training Institute Releases 2022 Schedule

The Northern Ohio Recovery Association Training Institute has released its 2022 CDCA and BCORR Leadership training schedule. Click HERE for course descriptions, dates, and registration details. For more information, email Cathy Davis at cdavis@norainc.org or call 216.400.1132.

In the News

12.29.21 | Dayton Daily News Montgomery County preparing for new 988 mental health crisis hotline

12.29.21 | Cleveland.com Cuyahoga County projected to hit over 700 opioid fatalities by end of 2021

12.29.21 | DOJ U.S. Attorney's Office Announces More Than $1.1 Million to Support Substance Abuse Programs in Western Ohio

12.28.21 | WOIO-TV Cleveland Rape Crisis Center receives $1.3 million grant, plans to work with LGBT youth, victims of sexual assault

12.28.21 | WKBN-TV As Ohio legalizes sports betting, experts hope for more addiction recovery centers

12.28.21 | WCPN 90.3 Cuyahoga County’s diversion center looks to attract more patients in 2022

12.28.21 | Good Morning America Experts troubled by TikTok trend that can have teens believing they have serious mental disorders

12.28.21 | Today Her son died from fentanyl. Now this mom is advocating for a tool that could save lives

12.28.21 | The New York Times (Opinion) Our children are suffering. We must help them.

12.27.21 | SpectrumNews1 New training program helps health center fill labor gap

12.27.21 | Dayton Daily News Montgomery County getting new crisis hotline on New Year’s Day

12.27.21 | WLIO-TV BrightView Lima discusses addiction struggles over the holidays

12.26.21 | Warren Tribune Chronicle (Column) Kids, parents need holiday break for mental health

12.24.21 | Youngstown Vindicator Santa Tito: Ho, ho, ho in the Yo! Mayor Brown spreads cheer to city children

12.24.21 | WKSU 89.7 Tips to improve your mental health this holiday season

12.24.21 | Elyria Chronicle-Telegram MHARS Board hires project manager for planned crisis center

12.24.21 | Salem News Overdose strike team meets with county representatives

12.24.21 | Cleveland.com (Opinion) If addiction or mental illness puts holiday joy out of reach, consider the gift of empathy: Scott Osiecki

12.23.21 | WCMH-TV The importance of continued care to substance abuse recovery

12.23.21 | NPR There’s a surge of mental health issues for kids back for in-school learning

12.22.21 | WDTN-TV Holiday mental health: resources available in Miami Valley

12.22.21 | WEWS-TV 14-year-old’s award-winning device helps treat mental health issues with music

12.22.21 | SpectrumNews1 Organization helps young mothers become self-sufficient