Wexner Medical Center CEO: Wearing masks could save over 2,000 Ohioans


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center held its first weekly COVID-19 briefing Wednesday morning.

In his opening statement, Wexner Medical Center CEO Dr. Harold L. Paz called the pandemic something they never could have imagined back in February. He called the response unprecedented. Dr. Paz praised the hospital system’s efforts to expand testing across the state.

According do Dr. Paz, the lives of around 2,000 Ohioans could be saved if 95% of people wear masks while in public.

“I just want to be unambiguous about this. We’ve done analysis to look at data, and we estimate that over 2,000 Ohio lives could be saved if just 95% of the public wore a mask while they were in public. Over 2,000 lives going forward until we get to the other side of this.

Dr. Paz said the hospital system has a positivity rate of less than 1% in the workplace among its 27,000 healthcare workers. He said it’s important to protect them by wearing masks, so that they are available to provide care.

Dr. Susan Koletar, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was also a part of the briefing.

Dr. Koletar is also the principal investigator in Ohio State’s study of the COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. She said she is confident that safety is and has been a top priority in the trials of all of the major vaccines.

“I’m not going to lie to you, people have sore arms,” she said. “Some people feel a little feverish and fatigue, but overall they seem to be safe. That being said, we’re only about six months into this, so I think it’s critically important for studies to continue.”

The trial at Ohio State is scheduled to last for two years.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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