Ohio May Have Had its First Coronavirus Death

Dr. Amy Acton - State of Ohio
State of Ohio
Dr. Amy Acton

The state of Ohio may have tallied its first death in the Coronavirus global pandemic. At the state's daily press conference Thursday, Public Health Director Dr. Amy Acton confirmed that her department was aware of the death of a 76-year-old man in Maumee. 

Mark Wagoner Sr. died Wednesday, a local TV station reported. His son is the Republican Party chairman in Lucas County (home of Toledo), and said the following on Facebook:

"Our Dad was diagnosed with presumptive COVID-19, although the final test results have not yet arrived. We have been working closely with the Lucas County Health Department and other entities over the last week to ensure that proper notice to those who may have been impacted was being provided. Our Dad would’ve wanted us to be looking out for others even as he was fighting for his life."

Acton said that the state's investigation into Wagoner's death would be completed shortly, but she stressed that more cases and deaths would be forthcoming.

"This is real. This is accelerating. It's heartbreaking," she said. "Every bit of this is heartbreaking. These are some of the hardest things we'll face. Please heed our guidance."

The state's guidance, which has become increasingly aggressive as the number of reported cases continues to rise, now amounts to a "shelter in place" order. Gov. DeWine said that while he has not officially given the order, the restrictions in place across the state are tantamount. People should really be staying in their homes for all but essential outings. Officials urged people to respect Ohio workers who are providing essential services.

Dr. Acton noted, as she does daily, the inevitable rising figures. There are now 119 reported cases of COVID-19 statewide, up from 88 yesterday. Forty-three of the cases are female and 76 are male. Testing continues. At the Cleveland Clinic, due to a shortage of supplies, testing is being restricted to those 61 and older, 3 or younger, or anyone with a cough and fever and certain underlying chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems. The number of total cases nationwide eclipsed 10,000 Thursday morning and is on the rise.

"We are on the up-slope now," Acton said.

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