Medicate OH shares insights and info on how COVID-19 impacts medical marijuana patients in Ohio.

“We believe there are many people in Ohio today carrying the virus,” Gov. DeWine said in a press conference last Friday. “The coronavirus is already all over the state of Ohio.”

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton expects that the number of cases will continue to grow, as medical experts have predicted that the number of cases will continue to double every six days.

COVID-19 in the Buckeye State

From Feb 7 to March 15, 2020, 50 cases of COVID-19 were detected via test in Ohio. The youngest of these patients is 14 and the oldest was 86, Gov. DeWine said.

Cases have been confirmed in Belmont (2), Butler (6), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (31), Darke (1), Franklin (4), Geauga (1), Lake (1), Lorain (4), Lucas (1), Mahoning (1), Medina (3), Stark (3), Summit (4), Trumbull (2) and Tuscarawas (1) counties.

High-Risk MMJ Patients

Currently, some of the Ohioans most likely to contract COVID-19 include many cannabis patients. These “high-risk” groups are particularly vulnerable to the rapidly-spreading respiratory virus.

High-risk groups include those 65 and older, but also those diagnosed with:

• Parkes syndrome
• HIV/AIDS
• diabetes
• multiple sclerosis
• lung disorders
• obesity
• immune dysfunction
• cystic fibrosis

Dr. Amy Acton noted during DeWine’s press conference Monday night that Ohioans taking immunosuppressant medications may also be subject one to being labeled as “high risk.”

Immunosuppressants are used in treating the following conditions:

  • cancer
  • psoriasis
  • lupus
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • alopecia areata

“Health and safety of our fellow Ohioans is non-negotiable,” said Ohio Secretary State Frank LaRose during the press conference. Watch the conference recap here.

According to the CDC, of the 44,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China, 0.9% of patients who had no underlying medical conditions died as of last month, but that number rose to 6% for people with cancer.

Additionally, the death rate was notably higher for people with heart disease (10.5%) and diabetes (7%.) Approximately 1,334,918 people in Ohio, or 13.5% of the adult population, have diabetes. In 2016, heart disease killed more than 26,000 Ohioans.

Resources and Information

Social distancing and proper hygiene are two of the best defenses against the spread of COVID-19. It’s important to note that you may not exhibit (severe) symptoms and can still carry (and spread) the virus. Read more about how it spreads, symptoms and more on the CDC’s website. For those dealing with mental health issues during quarantine, check out these tips.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has updated its website will the following information: Patients, caregivers, and dispensaries should also be aware that the offices of the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy will be closed to the general public during this time.

Patients and caregivers needing assistance should use the toll-free helpline at 1-833-4OH-MMCP (1-833-464-6627) or through the program’s Contact page. Until further notice, the OMMCP staff will be working remotely. It could take longer than usual to receive a response.

The Department of Health has also created a website with daily updates. Ohioans can also call the toll-free COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) for more information.

*This article was co-written by Alex Perry.

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