A hospital in Pennsylvania. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Several parts of the country have not been overwhelmed by coronavirus cases yet, but hospitals are sitting in what they view as the calm before the storm.

The bottom line: Health care workers in these relatively quiet areas are urging people to stay home for the foreseeable future so they don't become the next coronavirus hotspot.

What we're hearing: Workers in areas that haven't tallied large numbers of coronavirus cases know more are coming, and they want their communities to take social distancing seriously.

  • Ohio was among the first states to shut down businesses and urge people to stay at home, which has helped keep cases manageable, said Robert Wyllie, the head of medical operations at Cleveland Clinic. The hospital system projects peak COVID-19 cases will come within the next four to eight weeks, and cases likely will consume at least half of the system's beds, Wyllie said.
  • Michael Ring, a cardiologist at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, sits on the opposite end of the state from Seattle. Their staff are delaying almost all procedures because they "don't want patients to come to the office," he said on a conference call last week.
  • The Montana Hospital Association asked for a shelter-in-place declaration last week, and Gov. Steve Bullock issued it a day later.

The big picture: The Trump administration has not issued a national order for people to stay at home, but providers think it's time to do so.

  • "It makes more sense to do it as a nation as opposed to some states doing and some states not," Wyllie said. "To be effective, we should all do it together."

Go deeper: Doctors and nurses urge public to stay home

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Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down and will be replaced by Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who currently serves as Trump's envoy for Venezuela, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. Abrams will continue to serve in his role as Venezuela envoy.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has tested positive for COVID-19 and plans to quarantine at his home for the next 14 days, his office announced Thursday. He currently has no symptoms.

Why it matters: The 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol. He is the second governor known to have contracted the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 18,860,908 — Total deaths: 708,676— Total recoveries — 11,394,821Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 4,834,546 — Total deaths: 158,445 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Fauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery — Teladoc and Livongo merge into virtual care giant.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.