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Important Information

from the State Medical Board of Ohio

Updated Guidance on COVID-19 for Medical Board Licensees (3/15/20)

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Ohio is low but rapidly increasing and public health experts expect the number of positive cases to expand significantly in the coming weeks and months. At the same time, Ohio and the nation are facing a dire shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including that maintained in the national cache.


Personal Protective Equipment

Governor DeWine announced during his 3/14 briefing that the state had received its personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, gowns, and goggles, from the National Strategic Reserve last night. He asked all health care providers and others that use PPE to conserve their supplies. Governor DeWine requested that dentists and veterinarians postpone elective surgeries. Governor DeWine explained that his health advisory group is in the process of developing guidelines for doctors for postponing elective surgeries that will not put patients at risk. These measures will open up critical treatment beds while preserving the state's limited supply of PPE. The full update can be viewed on the Ohio Channel website.

  • Please conserve your personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Consider postponing elective surgical procedures in order to preserve PPE and free up treatment space for critical patients.
  • Please support your colleagues and local organizations and share needed resources before contacting the state requesting more PPE.

Reporting Requirements

Read the full updated guidance here. It contains details on the following:

  • To address the evolving response, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has issued an amended Director’s Journal Entry with updated reporting requirements for COVID-19.
  • On March 7, 2020, CDC updated the “Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with COVID-19”.
  • On March 10, 2020, CDC updated the “Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings"
  • For confirmed cases of COVID-19, healthcare providers or any individual having knowledge, should immediately notify their local health department (LHD). If confirmed cases are hospitalized, healthcare providers need to notify infection control personnel at their healthcare facility immediately and institute monitoring of potentially exposed healthcare workers.
  • LHDs who are notified of confirmed cases of COVID-19 should notify ODH immediately via the 24/7 Class A disease reporting line.
  • Suspected cases (PUIs) of COVID-19 or patients pending laboratory results no longer require reporting.


COVID-19 Guidance for Primary Care and Outpatient Providers (3/15/20) (PDF)

This situation warrants a unified, consistent approach and requires primary care providers and other outpatient services providers to comply with the following course of action regarding screening and treatment of potential COVID-19 patients. Please note the course of action detailed below is a revision to the guidance issued on March 11, 2020.

  • Telephone Consult: Patients should be encouraged to receive a phone-based triage, which in most cases will be done by their primary care provider. Based on these phone consultations, and utilizing CDC guidance, providers will decide whether patients require an in-person assessment.
  • Hospital Assessment Locations Will be Coordinating the Testing
  • Temporary central assessment and testing locations are being established throughout the state of Ohio.
  • Providers should contact the local hospital to which you would refer a patient for admission to learn where your community’s assessment and testing location is.
  • Trained primary care professionals will be at these central assessment locations to assess whether the patient should be tested, sent home or admitted to the hospital.
  • Patients who present to an outpatient setting other than a central assessment and testing location and are determined to need testing for COVID-19 should be referred to the central location for testing. Providers are strongly discouraged from doing patient assessments for COVID-19 at sites other than central assessment and treatment facilities.


  • Patients with mild systems will not be tested and will return home to self-monitor.
  • Patients with moderate symptoms with other risk factors should receive a test at a commercial laboratory.
  • Patients with severe symptoms should be tested through hospital laboratories (if available) or the ODH laboratory and be admitted to the hospital. Test results from the ODH laboratory will be returned within 24 hours.

Why are these steps required?

  • PE is very limited (including the national cache).
  • Those providers who do currently have PPE are using it at a rate that cannot be sustained.
  • The need to minimize in-person interactions to the extent possible.
  • The complexity and scope of the public health issues involved in mitigating this problem requires a centralized, coordinated approach.
  • It is absolutely vital that hospital capacity be reserved for the sickest patients.
  • Please refer patients to or to 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634) for additional information.


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