Fairborn Health Department | Photo by Grace Ramsdell | Edited by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian
Gov. Mike Dewine announced $30 million in monetary aid to Ohio’s 113 health departments to fight against the coronavirus on Nov. 12, but local departments say the manner in which these funds will be used is still forthcoming.
“Each department will receive $200,000 and will have the flexibility to determine how to best use funds as they see fit to fight covid-19,” said Gov. DeWine in a press release. “The remaining money will be used to hire contact tracers to support local health departments. Contact tracers will deploy where they are needed across the state to assist in identifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and prevent further spread.”
By the numbers
Greene and Montgomery counties are just two of Ohio’s 68 counties currently under a level 3 emergency commonly referred to as “in the red.”
As of Nov. 21, Greene county is listed as having 4,710 reported cases of coronavirus.
Neighboring Greene county to the west, Montgomery county is listed at having 18,176 cases.
Both counties continue to show a rise in the number of active cases, adding to Ohio’s record-breaking active cases in recent weeks.
“As of right now, we do not have any specific information to provide on how these state funds will be allocated,” said Dayton and Montgomery county Public Health Information Supervisor Dan Suffoleto. “How will the health department distribute this money, where will this money go specifically. We just don’t know yet.”
The Greene County public health department was additionally contacted for a statement on the allocation of state funds but was unable to comment at this time.
With coronavirus vaccine trials underway and news of local hospitals being swamped by an influx in coronavirus patients, students offered opinions on how they believe the $200,000 allocated to Ohio’s public health departments should be spent.
“The money should go towards having access to masks for those who cannot afford them, testing for a vaccine, and working towards getting a cure,” said nursing student Ashley Burns. “What I have seen with my clinical rotations within the Miami Valley area is that hospitals are running out of beds, vents and staff. More often than not hospitals are shutting down wards left and right to be designated coronavirus units and there are even patients being put in hallways because there aren’t enough beds. The staff are limited in the wards, and the lack of equipment is alarming. A portion of this money from the state could definitely help these area hospitals obtain more equipment for hospital staff to do their jobs accurately and potentially save more lives.”
Wright State University (WSU) alumna Jenna Zickgraf believes that a portion of funds should be spent to aid those struggling to get tested by offering more free, no appointment testing centers and providing medical staff with additional equipment.
“It’s hard for some people to get tested right now without appointments and hoops to jump through,” Zickgraf said. “The money passed down by the state can aid in the widespread availability of testing for people in the area.”
Ohio State University swimmer Evan Stapp says that obtaining a safe and affordable vaccine is one way that the spread of the coronavirus can be plateaued, and lives can be saved.
“I think in order to slow the spread of coronavirus we need a safe and affordable vaccine for everyone,” Stapp said. “Right now, action steps to slow the spread is what needs to happen, but it has to be safe as well. Additionally, making sure that healthcare workers are taken care of and have proper equipment needs to remain on the forefront of the minds of decision makers because these are the people saving lives.”
To view the most recent active coronavirus case data presented by the state of Ohio, visit: www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home
To see updates from the Greene County Public Health Department, visit: www.gcph.info
For updates on the Montgomery County Public Health Department, visit: www.phdmc.org