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Parents can create new Halloween traditions during pandemic

 

MUNCIE, Indiana – If communities follow new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Halloween, families should consider creating new traditions that do not involve trick-or-treating, parties, and get-togethers, said Jill Walls, an associate professor of Early Childhood, Youth, and Family Studies at Ball State University. 

On Monday, the CDC posted guidance for the holidays, including Halloween. The federal agency warns people to avoid higher risk activities, including door-to-door trick-or-treating; attending crowded, indoor costume parties; visiting indoor haunted houses; or going on hayrides or tractors rides with strangers. 

“The most important part of any holiday is spending quality time together and making memories,” Walls said. “COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty for families, but I think it’s possible to still have fun this Halloween season while staying safe. Parents should take time to prepare their children for some new traditions and provide reassurance about the other upcoming holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.” 

Walls suggests that families watch an age-appropriate, Halloween-themed movie together, make a Halloween craft, play board games, bake holiday-themed food, or have story time where someone reads a Halloween or fall-themed book aloud. 

It also might be fun to “visit” friends in costume via Zoom or other online video platforms, she said.  

And, for the little ones that just enjoy the costumes and treats, parents could set up candy bowls in various rooms of their home and have children trick-or-treat around the house or apartment. 

If your community allows Halloween activities to go on in neighborhoods, Walls encourages residents to place wrapped candy outside their homes in open bowls, instead of handing it out.  

“I think about many hands reaching inside those bowls, which is not necessarily sanitary. Costumes with masks and gloves might be the best way to go this year!”  

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About Ball State 

Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State University is one of Indiana’s premier universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s 21,600 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world. The 790-acre campus is large enough to accommodate first-rate facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports, but our welcoming and inclusive campus is small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the University. Destination 2040: Our Flight Path establishes Ball State’s ambitious goals for our second century. We Fly!

sub temp covid

Nursing homes warn Congress: 

Don’t leave town without delivering additional COVID funding for health and long-term care providers

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 28th - The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, warned Congress today that if they don’t pass another COVID funding package public health agencies and health care providers could find themselves less than completely prepared heading into the cold and flu season, as well as underfunded to handle another major spike in COVID cases.

With 70% of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act back in April already distributed and remaining funds likely to be allocated by early October, health care providers, including long term care facilities, will need additional funds to continue its response to the COVID pandemic heading into the cold and flu season, which provides new challenges.

Michael T. Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist recently pointed out the challenges with the upcoming flu and cold season: “I think we’re just in the beginning of what’s going to be a marked increase in cases in the fall. And it won’t be just a testing artifact, either. This is real.” Further complicating the flu and cold season ahead is the fact that COVID cases are rising as CNBC reported, “Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are beginning to rebound following weeks of reported declines and warnings from top U.S. health officials that the country could be vulnerable to fresh outbreaks coinciding with the forthcoming flu season.”

Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), stated that Congress needs to end the partisan logjam and prioritize frontline health care workers and residents, particularly vulnerable elderly populations.

“Without replenishing funds for federal and state agencies, health care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, could find themselves less than completely prepared for the challenges of the upcoming cold and flu season, which could inevitably result in an uptick in new COVID cases,” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. “With the cold and flu season adding a real complication to the ongoing COVID pandemic response, the need for extra testing, personal protective equipment and staffing, will need to be met in order to keep caregivers and residents safe.”

Parkinson is urging Congress to provide an additional $100 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund, which is accessible for all health care providers impacted by COVID-19. A sizeable portion of the fund should be dedicated to helping nursing homes and assisted living communities acquire resources associated with protecting vulnerable residents and staff from the virus, including constant testing, PPE and staff support.

“Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities, by passing another COVID funding package before they leave town for the elections.”

For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus. 

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ABOUT AHCA/NCAL

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or

www.ncal.org

COVID-19 Update: Higher Education Screening, Indoor Visitation, Sports Order Modification 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that nine counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Ashland, Butler, Delaware, Mercer, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam, Scioto, and Stark.

Ohio Public Health Advisory System

A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and Portage County dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.

HIGHER EDUCATION SCREENING

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio's ResponsibleRestart guidelines for higher education will now include a recommendation that all residential colleges and universities regularly test a sample population of asymptomatic students.  

"Some schools are already doing this, and screening asymptomatic students really gives school leaders a good idea about virus spread on their campuses," said Governor DeWine. "Our expectation is that colleges and universities will screen at least 3 percent of their at-risk population on a regular basis." 

The updated ResponsibleRestart Ohio guidance will be posted to coronavirus.ohio.gov in the next few days. 

INDOOR VISITATION

Governor DeWine announced two new health orders that will allow for indoor visitation at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities in Ohio.

Intermediate Care Facilities:

The Ohio Department of Health today issued the Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and to Permit Visitation. Intermediate care facilities for Ohioans with developmental disabilities can resume indoor visitation beginning on Monday, September 28, if safety standards outlined in the order are met. 

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can begin allowing indoor visitation on Monday, October 12. This date was selected to allow adequate time for the facilities to prepare their physical plants, adjust staffing levels, update visitation policies, and communicate expectations with residents and families. 

Indoor visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities should only resume if certain safety standards are met. These standards will be outlined in a forthcoming public health order.

When visitation resumes, a Long-Term Care Facility Dashboard will be added to the COVID-19 data dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov where users can access facility-specific visitation information.

SPORTS ORDER MODIFICATION

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been removed from the current sports order, which will be available soon on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

This change comes over a month after the most recent guidelines were published with evidence showing that events have gone on without any noticeable increase in spread.

OHIO NATIONAL GUARD - PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Following a request from authorities in Cleveland, Governor DeWine today issued a proclamation to activate approximately 300 members of the Ohio National Guard to assist the Cleveland Police Department during the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday.

The deployed National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be activated as part of the National Guard Response Force and will assist police in areas such as traffic control, site security, and critical infrastructure protection.

The Ohio National Guard has provided support for similar events in the past, including the Republican National Convention in 2016 and several presidential inaugurations.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 147,744 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,715 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,051 people have been hospitalized, including 3,228 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Health Order Signed

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order removing the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

COVID-19 Update: Demographic Dashboard, Contact Tracing, Mask Donation

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today gave the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

DEMOGRAPHIC DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine today unveiled a new case demographics dashboard on coronavirus.ohio.gov

The new dashboard gives citizens access to COVID-19 case data by race or ethnicity. The data can be broken down by age and county and compared to the overall Ohio population.

"Improving data collection and reporting, as well as creating a publicly-available dashboard, were recommendations from the COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force," said Governor DeWine. "This dashboard will help better track health inequities and disparities, and we believe this data will also help put critical decisions into context for policymakers."

CONTRACT TRACING

Governor DeWine today encouraged Ohioans to answer the call if contacted by a contact tracer. 

Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by notifying people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and advising them to monitor their health for signs and symptoms; helping those who may have been exposed get tested; asking people to self-isolate or self-quarantine if appropriate; helping people identify the resources they need to safely stay at home.

Contact tracers will not disclose a person's identity to their contacts, however, those who test positive will be encouraged to notify those they've been in contact with so that these individuals also respond to contract tracers and begin to isolate. 

Answer the call

FACE MASK DONATION

Lt. Governor Husted announced that Ford is donating 2 million medical grade face masks to the state of Ohio for healthcare providers, first responders, underserved populations, and senior living communities. The donation is part of the Ford Fund’s commitment of 100 million medical-grade face masks through 2021.

The company, currently manufacturing 2.5 million medical-grade masks a week for its employees and at-risk communities, is growing the number of mask-making machines by mid- to late-October to increase production and deliver on its goal. Ohio’s Department of Administrative Services and Development Services Agency have partnered with JobsOhio to work with the Ford Government Relations Team, as well as many others, to secure lifesaving personal protective equipment since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OHIO BENEFITS 

On Monday, September 14, 2020, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services sent voter registration forms to 59,000 individuals who previously requested these forms through the Ohio Benefits system but had not yet received them due to a system error.

Ohio Benefits provides online services for Ohioans who receive benefits through programs within Ohio Medicaid and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  Pursuant to legal requirements, Ohio Benefits offers users an opportunity to receive a voter registration form at their request.

Of the 59,000 Ohioans affected by the error, a review determined that approximately 18,900 were already registered to vote, 7,500 received voter registration forms from Ohio Benefits through other transactions, and 32,400 had not yet received a form at the time of the review.

The deadline to register to vote is October 5, 2020. Citizens can register online at VoteOhio.gov.  

SMALL BUSINESS WEEK

Lt. Governor Husted also recognized National Small Business Week, which celebrates America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Ohio is home to more than 965,000 small businesses that account for 99.6 percent of the businesses in the state. Together they employ 2.2 million people, which is 45 percent of Ohio’s total employees. Additionally, small businesses created more than 44,000 jobs in 2019.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 145,850 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,635 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,899 people have been hospitalized, including 3,210 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Rankings of Ohio's 88 counties by highest occurrence can be found below. 

All 88 counties

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Updated County Risk Levels, New Data Dashboards, Response Guide for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers, Lost Wages Assistance, and Halloween Guidance

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS 

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that five counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Portage and Putnam. 

A total of 69 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and one county, Preble, dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

In addition to the five Level 3 counties listed above, five additional counties meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of high incidence: Athens, Delaware, Greene, Harrison, and Pickaway. Although these counties do not meet enough indicators to trigger a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, these counties have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks which could lead to rapid virus transmission if steps are not taken to slow the spread. 

A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.

NEW DATA DASHBOARDS 

Governor DeWine announced the state has launched the Schools Dashboard and the Children’s Dashboard to provide school districts and parents the best information to make decisions about their child’s education and social interactions. The Schools Dashboard will show new and cumulative COVID cases reported to schools by parents/guardians and staff. The data can be sorted by county or school district and includes students and staff. Schools are required to report cases to their assigned Local Health Department who then report to the Ohio Department of Health.

The Children’s Dashboard, developed in consultation with the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, includes information about cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 among children aged 0-17 in Ohio by selected demographics and county of residence. Both dashboards are available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

FLU SHOT REMINDER 

Governor DeWine announced that the state of Ohio has its first, documented case of the flu in Putnam County. He reminded Ohioans of the importance of getting a flu shot this year to reduce the spread of the flu and its impact on our hospital systems. While it doesn’t protect you from COVID-19, it does provide another layer of protection to keep yourself, your family, friends and communities healthy.

Those who are elderly and need help getting to their physician's office can contact their local Area Agency on Aging at 866-243-5678 to access transportation resources and other services.

Anyone without a primary healthcare provider can visit vaccinefinder.org to find nearby pharmacies and other healthcare locations offering the flu vaccine.

RAPID RESPONSE GUIDE FOR MIGRANT AND SEASONAL FARMWORKERS
Governor DeWine announced that the state is releasing the Rapid Response Guide for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers. This guide will support local health districts in developing culturally appropriate plans to respond to outbreaks in the migrant and seasonal farmworker communities. A copy of the guide will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Health is awarding $2.6 million in CARES Act funding to agricultural camp operators to improve the health and safety of migrant workers worksites and camps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The improvements will focus on reducing housing density, installing touchless equipment, partitions, and hand washing stations. The Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services are distributing face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaner, and digital forehead thermometers to workers and operators.

CORONAVIRUS WASTEWATER SURVEILLANCE NETWORK
Governor DeWine also provided an update on Ohio’s Coronavirus Wastewater Surveillance Network. Since mid-July the network has been monitoring income waste at wastewater treatment plants around the state to test for gene fragments of COVID-19. Ohio is currently testing in more than 30 cities across the state and will expand testing to more than 50 locations in the next month. The state will continue to closely monitor the wastewater data and ensure communities are aware of trending increases in gene copies to assist with quick response and prevent further spread of disease. More information about the program can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

HALLOWEEN
Governor DeWine reminded parents that Halloween activities will be different this year than in years past. He encouraged parents and children to wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid large groups, and to stay home if sick. Final decisions on whether to hold or participate in trick-or-treating or other events should be made by local communities, individuals, and parents. The state will be developing guidance for Halloween and it will be posted on coronavirus.ohio.gov to help communities and families plan for the holiday.

LOST WAGES ASSISTANCE 

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has started distributing $300 per week in Lost Wages Assistance to eligible unemployment insurance recipients. This assistance is available to Ohioans who received traditional unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Trade Readjustment Assistance, SharedWork Ohio or extended benefits for weeks ending August 1st through September 5th. PUA claimants will receive payments first, in a staggered manner with individual payments for each week they qualified for the program.  For Ohioans receiving other types of unemployment benefits, there will be one retroactive payment for all weeks they qualify.

Currently ODJFS is working to complete the programming necessary to disperse payments. Updates on this process can be found at jfs.ohio.gov/lwa.

CENSUS 

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that the deadline to complete the 2020 Census is quickly approaching. As of this morning, Ohio’s self-response rate was 69.9 percent, which is above the national rate of 65.9 percent but one percentage point behind Michigan. The census, which only takes about 10 minutes to complete, impacts the state for the next 10 years, including how federal, state, and local funding is distributed and determines congressional representation.

Ohioans can complete their census by either going to 2020Census.gov or calling 1-844-330-2020.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA
There are 141,585 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,580 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,625 people have been hospitalized, including 3,0149 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Testing Update, Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Inductees Announced, and Ohio To Work Initiative Begins

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today gave the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TESTING IN NURSING HOMES AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES

Governor DeWine and Director Ursel McElroy of the Ohio Department of Aging provided an update on testing in nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult day centers, and adult day cares. Directory McElroy explained that frequent testing in congregate settings is important to control the spread of the virus. She also mentioned that adult day care and senior centers will open on September 21st. The facilities will test staff every other week and participants if they present symptoms. Outdoor visitation started at Ohio nursing homes on July 20th. If visitors have questions about protocols or concerns about a facility in their area, they can contact the Ohio Department of Aging. The Department of Aging is working on a dashboard to increase transparency about the status of visitation at facilities across the state.

OHIO VETERANS HALL OF FAME

Governor DeWine announced that 20 women and men, representing four branches of the military will be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame at a virtual ceremony on November 5th. These Ohioans, from 16 counties, have continued to serve the United States as well as Ohio, as business owners, community volunteers, scientists, advocates, engineers, and much more.

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was established by Governor George Voinovich in 1992. Governor Voinovich established the Hall of Fame to recognize Ohio veterans’ military service, as well as their service to Ohio and their communities after leaving the military. A total of 895 of Ohio’s Veterans have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  

The virtual ceremony can be viewed on November 5th at OhioVets.gov.

OHIO TO WORK

Governor DeWine, along with JP Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio, announced that JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Development Services Agency will launch a pilot initiative called Ohio To Work. The Initiative will help connect Ohioans looking for a job to a new job opportunity. Ohio To Work brings together employers, nonprofits, educators, and training providers to help Ohioans reskill and restart their careers. Individuals participating in Ohio To Work will be provided a career coach, be invited to virtual career fairs, and be connected to employers ready to hire. The first Ohio To Work initiative will be launched in Cleveland- Cuyahoga County. Ohioans can learn more at OhioToWork.com.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 139,485 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,506 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,481 people have been hospitalized, including 3,111 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Rankings of Ohio's 88 counties by highest occurrence can be found below. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Flu Shots, Updated County Risk Levels, Suicide Prevention, New ODH Director 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that six counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Preble, Putnam, and Summit. 

A total of 68 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and two counties, Lucas and Wayne, dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

In addition to the six Level 3 counties listed above, four additional counties meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of high incidence: Clark, Hamilton, Miami, and Wood. Although these counties do not meet enough indicators to trigger a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, these counties have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks which could lead to rapid virus transmission if steps are not taken to slow the spread. 

Data calculations conducted by the Ohio Department of Health also show the continued increase in cases among younger adults in the age groups of 0-19 and 20-29. 

A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.

FLU SHOTS

With flu season approaching, Governor DeWine today reminded Ohioans of the importance of getting a flu shot this year. The Governor, along with First Lady Fran DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted, all received their flu shots this afternoon. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu shot, with rare exception. The recommendation includes flu shots for pregnant women, whose vaccinations can protect their babies after birth.  

"While the flu can be deadly on its own, we also are concerned that Ohioans who get both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could become severely, if not fatally, ill," said Governor DeWine. "Our youngest and oldest Ohioans, those who are pregnant, those in long-term care facilities, and those with chronic health conditions may be especially susceptible to severe illness or complications from the flu."

Those who are elderly and need help getting to their physician's office can contact their local Area Agency on Aging at 866-243-5678 to access transportation resources and other services.

Anyone without a primary healthcare provider can visit vaccinefinder.org to find nearby pharmacies and other healthcare locations offering the flu vaccine.

NEW OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DIRECTOR

Governor DeWine today named Joan Duwve, M.D., MPH, the director of the Ohio Department of Health.

“This unprecedented time calls for true leadership to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to save lives,” said Governor DeWine.  “We welcome Dr. Duwve to our team. Her clinical experience and leadership to strengthen public health infrastructure will help guide Ohio as we navigate through this pandemic and modernize Ohio’s public health system.”

“I am thrilled to return to Ohio, where I grew up,” said Dr. Duwve. “Through forging strong partnerships across the state, I firmly believe that together, we can build healthier communities that in turn create greater opportunities for all Ohioans to thrive.” 

A graduate of North Olmsted High School, Dr. Duwve attended undergraduate school at The Ohio State University. She received a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and her Medical Doctor Degree from Johns Hopkins University. 

Most recently, Dr. Duwve served as the Director of Public Health at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control under South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R).  Prior to her time in South Carolina, she served as an Associate Dean of Practice for the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and developed and directed the ECHO Center to train providers in rural communities to treat patients with complex conditions. Dr. Duwve also served Indiana Governors Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, and Eric Holcomb, as the Chief Medical Officer with the Indiana State Department of Health and the Medical Director for the Department’s Division of Public Health and Preparedness. Before transitioning into her role improving public health, Dr. Duwve practiced family medicine.

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY

On World Suicide Prevention Day, Governor DeWine reminded citizens that resources are available for anyone who needs support due to stress, anxiety, sadness, or anger caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or other concerns. 

Ohioans can reach the Ohio Careline by calling 1-800-720-9616. Residents can also be connected to a trained crisis counselor via the Crisis Text Line by texting the keyword “4hope” to 741 741. 

MENTAL HEALTH & SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER PSA CAMPAIGN

In an effort to promote mental health, Governor DeWine's RecoveryOhio team partnered with the Ohio Department of Insurance to launch a series of television, radio, and digital ads to help Ohioans who have questions about their health insurance coverage when seeking treatment. The PSAs will begin airing next week in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.

Ohioans with questions about mental health and substance use disorder benefits can contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526.

CENSUS

Lt. Governor Husted reminded Ohioans that the deadline to complete the 2020 Census is quickly approaching. As of this morning, Ohio’s self response rate was 69.5 percent, which is above the national rate of 65.5 percent but one percentage point behind Michigan. The census, which only takes about 10 minutes to complete, impacts the state for the next 10 years, including how federal, state and local funding is distributed and determines congressional representation.

Ohioans can complete their census by either going to 2020Census.gov or calling 1-844-330-2020.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 134,086 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,354 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,164 people have been hospitalized, including 3,070 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program, Non-Congregate Sheltering Order, Sports Spectator Variance

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today gave the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PANDEMIC ELECTRONIC BENEFIT TRANSFER PROGRAM

Governor DeWine announced today that thousands of Ohio children, who qualify for free or reduced-price meals but are currently learning remotely, will soon receive additional money to purchase nutritious foods through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program made possible by the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will issue this second round of benefits later this month to eligible children. Ohio previously issued more than $250 million in P-EBT benefits to more than 850,000 students through the program in the spring.

Parents do not need to apply to receive these benefits. The benefits will be automatically loaded onto existing Ohio Direction cards or a pre-loaded card will be sent in the mail.

NON-CONGREGATE SHELTERING ORDER

In response to a barrage of rumors surrounding Ohio's latest non-congregate sheltering order, Governor DeWine today stressed that there are no orders in Ohio to create "FEMA camps" to quarantine citizens against their will.

"This is not in our order, and there is no truth to the rumor," said Governor DeWine. "Families will not be separated, and kids will not be away from their loved ones."

The order, which was first issued on March 31 and then renewed on April 29 and August 31, creates a funding mechanism to allow for federal reimbursement for communities that choose to offer alternate locations for people to safely isolate or quarantine outside of their homes. If a citizen chooses to recover in a quarantine housing location, others in the household can remain at home and unexposed.

This option has been used in a handful of cases in Ohio.

SPORTS SPECTATOR VARIANCE

The Ohio Department of Health has granted a spectator variance to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio taking place September 11-13, 2020. Attendance will be limited to 6,000 spectators, and social distancing and masks will be required in accordance with state health guidelines.

The variance for Mid-Ohio was granted, in part, due to its unique, large outdoor facility that can accommodate social distancing.

Governor DeWine previously announced 6,000 spectator variances for the Browns and Bengals for two upcoming games each.

GET IN LINE, ONLINE

Lt. Governor Husted today announced that the Ohio BMV was awarded the Customer Convenience Award for their Get in Line, Online virtual queuing system, which allows a customer to secure a spot in line at the agency without actually being physically present. Once customers arrive to check-in, they move to the front of the line with minimal wait time.

InnovateOhio, which Lt. Governor Husted leads, worked in partnership with the Ohio BMV on this project.  

“InnovateOhio and the Ohio BMV collaborated on the ‘Get in Line, Online’ system with the goal of using technology to improve customer service,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “This award is a recognition that we are on our way to making Ohio the most innovative and creative state in the Midwest.”

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 131,992 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,298 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,967 people have been hospitalized, including 3,042 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Rankings of Ohio's 88 counties by highest occurrence can be found below.

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: School Reporting Order, Wastewater Monitoring 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS
Governor DeWine today released this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that seven counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread. 

A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and 12 counties moved from orange to yellow. There are now a total of 39 counties in the yellow level, the highest number since July 2. Detailed information all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. 

SCHOOL REPORTING ORDER
Governor DeWine announced details for Ohio's forthcoming case reporting order for K-12 schools.
Beginning Tuesday, September 8, parents or guardians and school staff should notify their school within 24 hours of receiving a positive test or a clinical diagnosis. Within 24 hours after receiving that notification, the school should notify other parents and guardians about that case in writing, providing as much information as possible without releasing protected health information. The school must also notify their local health department within 24 hours.

Beginning Tuesday, September 15, and each Tuesday thereafter, local health departments will report the number of newly reported and cumulative cases to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health will publish this data by school or school district, including a breakdown by students and staff, each Thursday.

"We understand there is a balance between privacy and transparency, and we do not intend for protected health information to be released in our effort to provide information to Ohioans so they can make the right decisions for their family," said Governor DeWine. "Please remember that if a school has positive cases among their students or staff, it does not mean the school did anything wrong. Schools cannot control spread in the community, so it is important to practice safety measures not only in the classroom but also when you’re out in the community."

The order will also require each school district or school to identify a COVID-19 coordinator to facilitate the reporting of case information, and upon request, schools or buildings are required to provide the local health department a copy of their pandemic plan.

LABOR DAY AND SPREAD BY YOUNG OHIOANS
Governor DeWine today once again encouraged Ohioans to take proper safety precautions over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. He stressed that citizens can still have fun, visit family, and travel, but face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing should also be part of your plans. 
"It's not about where we go, but rather, what we do when we get there," said Governor DeWine. "It's about how we act when we're with family and friends and what precautions we take. The decisions we make as we celebrate the unofficial end of summer will play a major role in how we begin the fall."
Governor DeWine also reminded young Ohioans of their responsibility to follow safety precautions, especially students attending a college or university.

Case data shows that those aged 18-22 currently make up 35-40 percent of all young Ohioans who have tested positive for the virus which is a significant increase from previous months.

"In Cincinnati, multiple off-campus parties with students attending from several universities on August 17 have resulted in at least 78 confirmed cases," said Governor DeWine. "Although college students might not get seriously ill, they could spread the virus to others who could. The responsibility falls on all of us to protect each other."

WASTEWATER MONITORING NETWORK
Governor DeWine announced that information from Ohio's new Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network is now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

The network was developed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the study of wastewater samples. The presence of coronavirus gene copies/fragments can be found in the waste of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and can be detected in wastewater as many as three to seven days before those infections lead to increases in case counts or hospitalizations in a community.

DEFENSE MANUFACTURING COMMUNITY

Lt. Governor Husted announced that, in an effort led by the Development Services Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense has made a commitment to Ohio’s defense manufacturers and put the state in a position to receive a $5 million grant to improve manufacturing processes and train workers for next-generation jobs.

Ohio has been designated as a Defense Manufacturing Community, which is a program designed to support long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand the capabilities of defense manufacturing.

STEP UP TO QUALITY

As of last Tuesday, all child care providers in Ohio that serve publicly funded children were required to be rated on Ohio’s child care quality rating system, called Step Up To Quality.

Governor DeWine announced today that over 4,400 providers are now rated through the system. This is more than double the number of rated quality child care providers when he took office in 2019. By 2025, all providers must be rated three stars or higher on the rating system. 

H2OHIO LEAD UPDATE

Governor DeWine announced that Greater Cincinnati Water Works will receive $725,000 in H2Ohio funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to remove and replace lead service lines and fixtures at nearly 200 child care facilities in Cincinnati.

The H2Ohio initiative launched last year to address a number of water quality issues in Ohio including lead pipes feeding into childcare centers. Although lead in water is rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, it can significantly increase someone’s total lead exposure – especially infants who drink baby formula or concentrated juices mixed with contaminated water.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 127,112 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,226 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,663 people have been hospitalized, including 3,003 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page.

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: K-12 Case Reporting, Sports Order Modification

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that six counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread. This is the lowest number of Level 3 counties since the Ohio Public Health Advisory System was developed. In addition, 76 counties have remained at a consistent level, which is the lowest movement between levels that Ohio has experienced. 

"While we do have good news in today’s alert map, this does not give us the green light to change our behavior. It’s only through the interventions that we’ve put in place that we have been able to make these strides," said Governor DeWine. "Please continue to wear a mask, stay home when you can, and refrain from gatherings, especially indoors."

 

Increase to Level 3:

  • Montgomery

Continue at Level 3: 

  • Erie
  • Lorain
  • Lucas
  • Mercer
  • Preble

Decrease to Level 2:

  • Clark
  • Clermont
  • Franklin
  • Trumbull

Decrease to Level 1:

  • Marion
  • Muskingum
  • Perry
  • Sandusky

Detailed information all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators. 

K-12 CASE REPORTING

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will be issuing an order that requires K-12 schools to establish a mechanism for parents and guardians to report confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their children.

Schools should notify parents/guardians in writing about each case and include as much information as possible without disclosing protected health information. Schools should also make non-identifying information about positive COVID-19 cases publicly available. 

"Prompt reporting will help prevent potential further spread among students and staff," said Governor DeWine. "Knowing this information can help parents make informed decisions in regard to risks and exposure for their families."

The forthcoming order will also direct all K-12 schools to report confirmed cases to their local health department, which will then report new cases and cumulative case data for students and teachers to the Ohio Department of Health. This aggregate data will be published at coronavirus.ohio.gov each Wednesday. 

SPORTS ORDER MODIFICATION

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the current sports order has been modified to clarify that participants shall not compete in more than one contest or game in any calendar day, as compared to the 24-hour period outlined in the original order. The goal of this adjustment in language is to assist organizers and teams when scheduling games or contests.

ASSISTED LIVING TESTING PAUSE

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio is pausing its work to test residents and staff at assisted living facilities through saliva testing instead of nasal swabs due to inconsistent test results. The Ohio Department of Health will investigate the issue through controlled validation testing to determine if the irregularities can be attributed to the test kits themselves, the labs, or the specimen collection process. 

DUPLICATE PAYMENTS IDENTIFIED

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and InnovateOhio have identified an additional 38 duplicate payments, totaling $93,978 in savings, using the InnovateOhio Duplicate Payment Tool.

In total, $1.1 million in savings have been identified since this project launched. Today’s update brings the total number of confirmed duplicate payments to 145 since January 2019, across 29 different agencies, boards, and commissions.

OBM works with agencies to ensure that all duplicate payments are recovered.

TECH CRED REMINDER

Lt. Governor Husted reminded employers about the TechCred program, which reimburses businesses to upskill their current and prospective employees. The current August round ends on August 31 at 3 p.m. Visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov for more information or to apply.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 118,828 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,076 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,150 people have been hospitalized, including 2,929 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Sports Order Variance Process, Entertainment Venue Order

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SPORTS ORDER VARIANCE PROCESS

Governor DeWine today discussed the recently-issued Director's Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club, and Professional Sports.

The order limits the maximum number of spectators gathered at an outdoor sports venue to the lesser of 1,500 individuals or 15 percent of fixed, seated capacity. The maximum for indoor sports venues is the lesser of 300 individuals or 15 percent of fixed, seated capacity.

"The main purpose of permitting spectators at school sports events is for officials and loved ones of players, coaches, team staff members, other event participants to attend," said Governor DeWine. "Ideally, the spectator limit would enable at least two, and perhaps up to four, family members to attend a sports event, provided that the venue is large enough to allow at least six feet of social distancing between groups."

If a venue has more room to permit additional socially-distanced spectator capacity, a variance provision in the order allows schools to request a higher spectator limit by submitting a plan in writing to their local health department and the Ohio Department of Health. The variance plan must include a justification for increased capacity and an explanation of how social distancing will be maintained between family groups. 

It is the responsibility of the school/venue to monitor and enforce the social distancing requirement, prohibition on congregating among spectators, and the other provisions outlined in the sports order.  Evaluating a sports venue’s variance plan may require conversations with school/venue officials and a site visit. The Ohio Department of Health will rely upon local health departments to conduct the first assessment of the variance plan.  

Variances will not be granted to expand the number of fans beyond family members of both teams and others who may perform during the event.

ENTERTAINMENT VENUE ORDER

Interim Ohio Department of Health Director Lance Himes today signed the Director's Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Entertainment Venues. 

2020 CENSUS

Governor DeWine today reminded Ohio citizens to complete the 2020 Census.

The Census determines how $675 billion is distributed among the states and Ohio’s representation in Congress.  

Those who have not yet completed the census can do so at www.2020Census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020.

INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

Lt. Governor Husted provided a reminder about the Ohio Diversity & Inclusion Technology Internship Program, which pairs college students with tech companies and any company with a technology-related need.

The program is looking for additional businesses to apply. Visit development.ohio.govfor more information.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 116,495 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,996 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 12,956 people have been hospitalized, including 2,903 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Reopening of Adult Day Care/Senior Centers, New Testing Initiative, BWC Dividend and Mask Distribution, PPE for Boards of Election

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that nine counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread. 

"Ohio continues to see a shift in virus spread. In urban areas, where residents have been wearing masks longer, we're seeing spread decline, but rural areas are seeing more spread," said Governor DeWine. "The best ways to stop the virus continue to be staying home when you can, wearing your mask and social distancing when you go out, and washing your hands often."

Detailed information all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators. 

ADULT DAY CARE AND SENIOR CENTERS

Governor DeWine announced today that adult day care centers and senior centers may open at a reduced capacity beginning on September 21 if the facilities can meet certain safety standards outlined in a forthcoming health order.

"By delaying the opening until September 21, we are providing time for each center to properly prepare based on the order's guidelines," said Governor DeWine. "Each center should consider a variety of factors when determining its ability to reopen, including the case status in the surrounding community."

The Ohio Association of Senior Centers and those representing adult day centers nationally and locally assisted in developing the ResponsibleRestart Ohio plan for adult day care and senior centers. The full plan and health order will be posted soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

NURSING HOME AND ASSISTED LIVING TESTING

Governor DeWine announced that a statewide testing initiative for Ohio's more than 765 assisted living facilities is now underway to offer baseline saliva testing to all staff and residents at no cost to the facilities.

The tests can be self-performed or performed with assistance, under the observance of licensed medical staff. Baseline saliva tests are minimally invasive and provide reliable results in approximately 48 hours upon the lab’s receipt.

An order requiring all assisting living facilities to participate in the testing initiative will be posted soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

BWC DIVIDEND AND MASK DISTRIBUTION

Governor DeWine today asked the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors to send up to $1.5 billion in dividend payments to Ohio employers this fall.  This dividend equals approximately 100% of the premiums paid in policy year 2019.  Dividends like this, as well as previous ones, are possible because of strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, prudent fiscal management, and employers who work hard to improve workplace safety and reduce injury claims.

If approved by the Board, this would be the second dividend of $1 billion or more since April and the third dividend since 2019.  BWC anticipated providing a dividend next year, but with Board approval, they will issue one now to provide some immediate economic relief to employers amid the ongoing pandemic. Checks would be distributed by BWC in late October. 

Additionally, Governor DeWine asked BWC’s Board of Directors to approve of a second distribution of face coverings to Ohio employers and their workforce as part of BWC’s Protecting Ohio’s Workforce- We’ve Got You Covered program.  This second round will consist of approximately 23 million masks to employers and are meant to replace any masks that have exhausted their effective use. Governor DeWine has also asked that BWC work to purchase as many masks as possible made in Ohio.

In the first distribution of face coverings, BWC shipped 20.6 million masks to 197,000 employers and their workforce.

PPE FOR BOARDS OF ELECTION

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) will be working with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to ensure that Ohio's 88 boards of elections have the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to execute early in-person voting and voting on election day.

DAS will provide an estimated 800,000 masks, 64,000 face shields, and 26,000 gowns, and the Secretary of State's office is expected to distribute the PPE in early September. 

GUN VIOLENCE

Following a deadly week of gun violence that resulted in at least 56 people shot, including 17 people who were killed, Governor DeWine again called on the Ohio General Assembly to consider legislation currently pending to address gun violence.

The legislation would get tougher on those who’ve committed a crime with a gun and are likely to re-offend; increase penalties for those found carrying a weapon if they’re legally prohibited from doing so; and increase the penalties for knowingly providing a gun to a minor or to someone who is legally prohibited from owning one.

The legislation would also require that warrants on dangerous, wanted offenders are entered into law enforcement databases to ensure that officers have the information needed to arrest those who have committed violent crimes.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 112,003 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,650 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 12,615 people have been hospitalized, including 2,844 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Sports Health Order, Georgetown Veterans Home, Ohio Governor's Imagination Library, Women’s Suffrage Centennial

COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS:

Governor DeWine announced that an order from the Ohio Department of Health will be issued to outline how sports, both contact and non-contact, may move forward in Ohio. The order will apply to all organized sports in the state and will include guidelines for spectators. The decision for high school fall sports to be postponed to the springtime will be left to the school districts.  This order will be available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor DeWine also spoke with Dr. Jim Borchers of The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Borchers specializes in sports medicine. He discussed the importance of sports, and its impact on the physical and mental health of young people. Dr. Borchers also reminded parents and students about the importance of immediately sharing information with coaching staff and a doctor if a COVID-19 case is probible or confirmed, and then following the appropriate protocols.

GEORGETOWN VETERANS HOME:

Governor DeWine announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Ohio Veteran’s home in Georgetown (Brown County). An employee tested positive, and two other employees may have been exposed to this individual. The Ohio Department of Veterans Services put additional safety measures in place at the home and they are tracking potential exposures. All residents in the unit where this employee works are being tested, as are the residents in the two other units where the potentially exposed employees are assigned.

OHIO GOVERNOR’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY:

First Lady Fran DeWine joined Governor DeWine today with an update on the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is approaching it’s one-year anniversary and is now available in 78 of Ohio’s 88 counties. 

With help from the Ohio General Assembly and local partners throughout the state, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library has expanded throughout the state and about 191,000 children are receiving a book in the mail monthly. Last summer, the program was only available in pockets throughout the state and about 93,000 children were enrolled at the time. 

CENTINNIAL OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE:

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that today marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. He encouraged Ohioans to learn more about the history of the women’s suffrage movement by visiting the Ohio History Connection webpage, ohiohistory.org. Governor DeWine also announced that TourismOhio has created a women’s history road trip to mark the centennial. It can be found at ohio.org.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 109,923 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,871 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 12,436 people have been hospitalized, including 2,805 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Return to School, Increase in Cases in Younger Populations

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio.

RETURN TO SCHOOL

Governor DeWine continued to stress the importance of masks, social distancing, and proper hygiene as Ohio's school students approach the start of the upcoming school year. 

"I have every confidence that Ohio's schools will do everything they can to keep children safe, but any spread happening in the broader community will, without a doubt, be reflected in Ohio's classrooms," said Governor DeWine. "If we want our kids to go to school in person, to play sports, to be in extracurricular activities - it's up to all of us to cut down the spread in our communities."

Currently, Ohio has left the decision to individual school districts on how to approach the new school year. 

According to information gathered by the Ohio Department of Education, 325 public school districts in Ohio are planning to return to school full-time which equates to approximately 590,000 students. A total of 55 districts representing approximately 398,000 public school students will begin the school year remotely.  Approximately 380,000 students in 154 public school districts will start the school year with a hybrid of online and in-person learning. Information on 78 public school distracts was not readily available. 

Also participating in today's briefing were Dr. John Barnard from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Dr. Patty Manning from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Adam Mezoff from Dayton Children’s Hospital. These experts discussed the prevalence of COVID-19 among children; how to prevent spread in schools by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, maintaining good hand hygiene, keeping surfaces clean, and ensuring good ventilation; and what schools can do if a student or staff member tests positive.

INCREASE IN CASES IN YOUNGER POPULATIONS

Governor DeWine shared updated data on the percentage of cases in Ohio by age group. The data shows a significant increase in positive cases among younger adults over the summer, particularly in the age range of 20-29. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 102,826 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,708 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,760 people have been hospitalized, including 2,699 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Governor DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and Staff All Test Negative for COVID-19

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—In a second test administered today in Columbus, Governor Mike DeWine has tested negative for COVID-19. First Lady Fran DeWine and staff members have also all tested negative for COVID-19.

A PCR test was administered to the Governor and members of his staff this afternoon.  The PCR test looks for the specific RNA for the SARS CoV-2 -- in other words, the genetic material specific for the virus that causes COVID-19.  This test is known to be extremely sensitive, as well as specific, for the virus.  The PCR tests for the Governor, First Lady, and staff were run two times.  They came back negative the first time and came back negative when they were run on a second diagnostic platform.  

We feel confident in the results from Wexner Medical Center.  This is the same PCR test that has been used over 1.6 million times in Ohio by hospitals and labs all over the state.

The test administered this morning to the Governor in Cleveland, as part of the protocol required to meet the President, was an antigen test.  These tests represent an exciting new technology to reduce the cost and improve the turnaround time for COVID-19 testing, but they are quite new, and we do not have much experience with them here in Ohio.  We will be working with the manufacturer to have a better understanding of how the discrepancy between these two tests could have occurred. 

Out of an abundance of caution, and at the direction of medical professionals, the Governor and First Lady plan on having another PCR test on Saturday.  Results of these tests will also be released.

COVID-19 Update: School Broadband Connectivity

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following update on the status of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SCHOOL BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that schools can begin applying for the new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant on Monday, August 10.

A total of $50 million will be allocated through the grant program to help provide hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students.

Schools can begin applying for this grant opportunity at https://ohio-k12.help/broadbandohio-connectivity-grant/. The public website will be live today, however schools will not be able to apply until Monday.

After hearing feedback from various groups that the matching grant requirement would create a barrier for districts, it has been removed from the program. Many school districts have already begun to make purchases for the upcoming school year, and as a result, purchases made since July 1 of this year are eligible for support from this program.

The application period will close Friday, August 21.

In the coming days, the Ohio Department of Education will begin notifying district superintendents and school leaders around the state to make them aware of this program.

To help schools make the best purchasing decisions based on their needs, internet providers have begun to list their equipment and pricing information in one centralized location to the benefit of Ohio schools through a Request for Information. Visit procure.ohio.gov to review the RFI.

The K-12 School Computer Products and Services RFI was released to the public on July 23, 2020, and a variety of companies have provided responses.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 98,675 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,652 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,447 people have been hospitalized, including 2,641 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Masks in Schools, Rapid Testing, Community Spread and Spread from Faith-Based Settings, Dr. Amy Acton

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MASKS IN SCHOOLS

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will issue a health order requiring that K-12 children wear face coverings while at school. The new mandate comes after the Ohio Children's Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter issued a joint letter today recommending widespread use of masks in schools with the following exceptions: 

  1. Children under the age of 2 years old
  2. Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  3. A child with a significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering (e.g. severe anxiety or a tactile aversion)
  4. A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask
  5. A child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction

"Without a vaccine, we are limited in the ways that we can protect the people of Ohio," said Governor DeWine. "For schools to have a fighting chance to stay open this fall, widespread face coverings for K-12 students will increase the odds that kids will go to school and stay in school." 

RAPID TESTING MULTI-STATE PURCHASING AGREEMENT

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is entering into a multi-state purchasing agreement with Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia to expand the use of rapid point-of-care tests. 

"Over the past week, we have conducted an average of 22,334 COVID-19 tests a day with Ohio's current testing procedure, but rapid point-of-care tests are faster, simpler, and less expensive," said Governor DeWine. "Expanding the use of this testing will serve as an important screening tool and a critical addition to our plan to limit the spread of COVID-19."

More rapid point-of-care testing will help Ohio detect outbreaks sooner with faster turnaround time, expand testing in congregate settings, and make testing more accessible for the most high-risk and hard-hit communities.

COMMUNITY SPREAD

Governor DeWine today also continued to warn Ohioans about community spread connected to informal gatherings between family and friends. 

"The truth is that it is easier to be scared of a stranger than a friend. Maintaining social distance and choosing to not gather together is really a sign that you care about your loved ones," Governor DeWine said. 

New data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows the amount of community spread per county over the past two weeks. 

LETTER TO FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY

Governor DeWine today announced that he will send a letter to Ohio's faith-based community to share important health information with Ohio churches, synagogues, and mosques and to share ways to better protect their worshipers.

One case study shows that a man with COVID-19 attended a church service in Ohio, and following that service, 91 additional people from five counties developed symptoms. 

"I know that our faith-based leaders want nothing more than to protect their worshipers, but we also know that the virus can easily spread in places where people gather," said Governor DeWine. "It is vital that, any time people gather together, everyone wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and while indoors, making sure there is good ventilation and airflow."

DR. AMY ACTON:

Governor DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio's former director of the Ohio Department of Health, has decided to leave state employment and return to her role at the Columbus Foundation, where she worked previously.

"While it saddens me that she will be leaving my office, she has assured me that she is just a phone call away and will be available to continue advising us as we move through this pandemic," said Governor DeWine. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 95,106 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,570 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,119 people have been hospitalized, including 2,593 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Liquor Sale and On-Premises Consumption Limits, Mass Gathering Order, Updated Risk Levels

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine released this week's new Ohio Public Health Advisory System map.

"The good news is that more people are wearing masks in our urban counties and we are seeing the spread slow because of that," said Governor DeWine. "The bad news is that Ohio's more rural counties are turning orange with significantly more spread taking place. I will again urge those who live in rural counties to wear masks while in public."

Remaining at Level 3:          

  • Allen
  • Cuyahoga
  • Erie
  • Fairfield
  • Franklin
  • Hamilton
  • Licking
  • Lucas
  • Henry
  • Lawrence
  • Marion
  • Medina
  • Montgomery

Downgraded from Level 3 to Level 2: 

  • Clark
  • Defiance
  • Hardin
  • Athens
  • Clermont
  • Delaware
  • Pickaway
  • Scioto
  • Union

Downgraded to from Level 3 to Level 1:

  • Richland

There are no counties on Ohio's Watch List. 

Detailed data on all 88 counties are now available on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators. 

ALCOHOL SALE AND ON-PREMISES CONSUMPTION LIMITS

Governor DeWine announced today that he has asked the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to call an emergency meeting to consider enacting a statewide emergency rule to limit liquor sales at establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption. 

The rule would prevent the sale of alcohol at these liquor-permitted establishments beginning at 10:00 p.m. each night. On-premises consumption must end by 11:00 p.m. Businesses may stay open, and establishments that sell food can continue serving meals until closing. 

Governor DeWine requested the new administrative rule after seeing outbreaks associated with bars across Ohio including Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus. 

"The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors, with interactions between many different people," said Governor DeWine. "While this may have been fine during normal times, these are not normal times. We must make a change to curb the social behaviors that will cause this virus to continue to spread." 

Separately, Governor DeWine is also asking the commission to raise the number of liquor and mixed drinks permitted to be purchased for carryout with a meal from two drinks to three drinks.

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission will hold its emergency meeting tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. If the emergency administrative rule is approved, Governor DeWine will sign an executive order making it effective tomorrow night. 

MASS GATHERING ORDER

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will separate its mass gathering guidance into its own order. Mass gathering guidance was most recently referenced as part of other orders, and combining this information into a stand-alone order will allow citizens to easily find guidance on holding gatherings in a safe manner. 

Mass gatherings in Ohio remain limited to 10 people.

"We have seen cases in recent weeks where outbreaks have been connected to informal social gatherings like birthday parties, neighborhood gatherings, graduation parties, weddings, funerals, and gatherings at people’s homes," said Governor DeWine. "The fact remains that this virus spreads when someone with the virus comes in contact with others who don’t yet have it. When we gather together with people outside our households, we increase the likelihood this virus can spread."

The order will still permit Ohioans to go to work, worship, go to school, and acquire goods and services, however, this order will offer clear recommendations on safely holding gatherings.

  • Gatherings at a household or family residence should be limited to close friends and family and are recommended to be 10 visitors or less.
  • Residents in a red or purple county, as designated by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, should limit hosting or attending gatherings of any size.
  • Wear a mask at all times at gatherings and maintain physical distance.
  • Use take out, outdoor dining, or indoor dining only when strict social distancing can be maintained.
  • Take extra precautions if you go to bars or nightclubs, where use of masks typically is inconsistent and drinking alcohol can lead to less social distancing.
  • Protect anyone with serious medical conditions at home by social distancing at home, wearing a mask, and using high levels of personal hygiene.
  • High-risk individuals should take extra precautions to limit the number of people they interact with.
  • Make the group of people you interact with most often as small as possible and make sure that they are taking appropriate COVID-19 precautions – even if you are just gathering with family friends or neighbors at your home.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 89,626 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,442 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 10,678 people have been hospitalized, including 2,534 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

COVID-19 Update: Child Care Ratios to be Lifted, Additional Restrictions Announced for Local Fairs

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates related to Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CHILD CARE RATIOS

Governor DeWine announced that child care providers in Ohio may return to their normal, statutory ratios and class sizes beginning on August 9, 2020. 

Child care providers have a choice to increase the number of children and staff members to the normal statutory ratios or to maintain their current, lower ratios to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is structuring a financial incentive to providers that maintain smaller ratios and classroom sizes.  

"Children cannot learn unless they are safe and cared for, and without access to child care, parents may resort to less-than-ideal options for their child’s care, such as relying on an elderly grandparent who is at greater risk for contracting COVID-19. By allowing normal ratios to resume, we're giving parents more options," said Governor DeWine. "We will continue to closely monitor reports of COVID-19 in child care, as well as compliance with rules and best practices, so that we can respond as needed to keep our children, families, and teachers safe."

All child care providers must comply with stringent health and safety requirements including:

  • Face coverings for all staff and children over 10, unless they have a health exemption;
  • Symptom and temperature checks when staff and children arrive;
  • Washing hands throughout the day, including upon arrival and before departure;
  • Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces; and
  • Regular deep cleanings.

Additionally, providers must report any COVID-19 cases to ODJFS and their local health department.

COUNTY AND INDEPENDENT FAIRS

Governor DeWine announced today that county and independent fairs with an opening day on or after July 31, 2020, will be limited to specific junior fair events. 

"We've seen several fairs that have been doing an excellent job to keep fair-goers safe, yet  other fairs have been connected to outbreaks; some have disregarded social distancing; and we've also seen a lack of enforcement of the statewide mask order. It's just a real shame," said Governor DeWine. "Because it is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot have a regular, safe fair in the summer of 2020, I believe we must now scale fairs back."

Junior fair activities such as livestock competitions and 4-H and Future Farmers of America competitions for kids and teenagers may continue as planned, but junior fairs must develop a plan that reduces crowding in barns, such as limiting entrance to only the immediate family of those actively showing their animals or projects. A 10 p.m. curfew will also be instituted for the barns, buildings, and midways.

Harness racing can proceed with no spectators, but rides, games, and grandstand events will be prohibited to limit crowds and better prevent coronavirus spread. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 86,497 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,382 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 10,425 people have been hospitalized, including 2,488 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Governor DeWine Issues Statewide Mask Order, Travel Warning

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATEWIDE MASK ORDER

Governor DeWine announced that beginning on Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m., a statewide mask mandate will go into effect for citizens living in all 88 Ohio counties. 

"Our preliminary data indicate that the rate of increase in new cases has slowed in the high-risk counties where masks are already mandated, so we are cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction," said Governor DeWine. "We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread."

All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

  • At an indoor location that is not a residence
  • Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
  • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include: 

  • Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability;
  • Those who are actively exercising or playing sports;
  • Those who are officiants at religious services;
  • Those who are actively involved in public safety; or
  • Those who are actively eating or drinking.

Schools should follow the guidance previously issued pertaining to masks.

STATEWIDE TRAVEL WARNING

Governor DeWine announced today a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher. 

Those traveling from one of the following states should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

The self-quarantine recommendation applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.

"I know this will be hard and is a sacrifice, especially as summer vacations are in full force, but when we have a higher likelihood of being exposed, we should take precautions to limit the exposure of others," said Governor DeWine. 

Ohio's positivity rate, which is an indicator of the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, has been around 6.2 percent.  

Visit coronavirus.ohio.gov for tips on how to effectively quarantine.

INFORMAL GATHERINGS

Governor DeWine today urged citizens to use extreme caution when considering attending or hosting an informal gathering. 

"We are seeing serious exposures to the virus that are arising from everyday events like church services, small house parties, neighborhood get-togethers, children’s sleepovers, weddings, and even bridal showers," said Governor DeWine. "This virus is real, and we cannot let our guards down."

COUNTY FAIRS

Following a 19-case outbreak linked to a county fair in Ohio, Governor DeWine today spoke with fair managers from across Ohio to stress the importance of following safety guidance during county fair events. 

"We've seen photos of packed grandstands and little social distancing," said Governor DeWine. "We want fairs to continue, but I expressed in the phone call today that fairs must follow the rules."

Guidance for fairs is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

CONGRESSIONAL LETTER

Lt. Governor Husted today announced that Governor DeWine has signed onto a letter to Congressional leadership with 20 other fellow Governors from across the nation, calling for reasonable limited liability protections for businesses, schools, healthcare workers, and governments as they are reopened during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The letter calls for predictable, timely, targeted liability protections to shield employers from legal risks associated with the spread of the novel coronavirus, so long as they are following the appropriate standards of care to protect their employees, customers, and students. The letter specifically requests that the protections be drawn in a narrow fashion as to not give license for gross negligence, misconduct, or recklessness.

Similar calls for liability protection have been made by Ohio’s leading business organizations. In addition to Governor DeWine, the letter was co-signed by the Governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

DROPPING UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

In the first press conference since Ohio’s latest unemployment figures were released, Lt. Governor Husted also highlighted Ohio’s strengthening economy as the state responsibly restarts in the midst of the pandemic. Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped three percentage points in the last month to 10.9%. The Lt. Governor also highlighted how Ohio companies continue to go to great lengths to support their employees and customers.

HOSPITAL INDICATORS

Beginning with tomorrow's updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, Governor DeWine announced that the ICU indicator will be enhanced to address concerns in the event ICU levels increase due to reasons other than COVID-19.

The indicator will trigger if ICU capacity for a county’s hospital region exceeds 80 percent of normal capacity and if 20 percent of the normal ICU capacity is being used for COVID-19 positive patients.

"The 80 percent indicator is a good early warning to measure increasing utilization of ICU services, and this enhancement improves the indicator to ensure we are capturing developments in ICU utilization related to COVID-19 and changes from unrelated things," said Governor DeWine. 

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System will also be updated in the coming weeks to include more localized testing data and an indicator related to known contacts spreading the virus when such local data is widely available.

NEW PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will sponsor two new public service announcements created in partnership with the Ohio Restaurant Association, OhioHealth, JobsOhio, and the Ohio Business Roundtable.

The first PSA features real Ohioans explaining why all Ohioans should all wear a mask.

The second PSA features Dr. Steve Markovich, a former Air National Guardsman and fighter pilot, who is CEO of OhioHealth. He encourages younger adults to wear masks to protect family, friends, and coworkers. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 78,742 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,235 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 9,864 people have been hospitalized, including 2,386 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

USDA Meals to You Partnership Delivers Nearly 30 Million Meals

HOUSTON, TX, July 16, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue lauded the achievement of its Meals to You partnership, which has now delivered more than 28.5 million meals to the doorsteps of low-income kids in rural communities across America during the COVID-19 health crisis. Perdue announced the milestone during a visit today to McLane Global, one of USDA’s partners in the initiative, which has served kids across 41 states and 2 U.S. territories.   

“Meals to You is a prime example of USDA’s commitment to ‘do right and feed everyone,’ while leveraging private sector ingenuity with public sector funding. At the beginning of this public health emergency, President Trump made it clear we would only overcome these trying times if we came together as one America. These folks feeding kids in need here in Texas and across the country rose to the challenge,” said Secretary Perdue. “We’ve heard from families across America who have told us that in these difficult times, the program has been a home run for feeding hungry kids. We’re grateful to our partners for helping make that a reality.”

“We wanted to give you a big thank you in behalf of our family for this assistance,” shared a Texan family participating in the program. “Knowing that our child has options to eat different items that are healthy makes us very happy! With gratitude I write you this letter during this hard time that all of us are going through. It is good to know that you all are out there. Please stay safe and know you are making a difference in people’s lives.”

“It has been humbling to see the impact that Covid-19 has had on all of our lives. We are grateful that we could take part in the USDA’s Meals-To-You program and be part of the response to this crisis. This program would not have been possible without everyone involved in the partnership and our dedicated McLane Global employees, working tirelessly to feed so many children in need across the country. Thanks to the hard work of so many, we have ensured children in rural areas have access to nutritious meals during this difficult time. This is what we can accomplish when government and private business come together in the fight against hunger,” said Denton McLane, Chairman of McLane Global.

“We are honored to be part of this innovative partnership providing meals to families in need,” said Kathy Krey, Ph.D., director of research and administration of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. “By working together in new ways and evaluating the challenges and successes of the Meals-to-You program we are learning how best to solve complex problems both now and in the future.”

“For more than a decade, PepsiCo’s Food for Good program has made nutritious food more accessible to those in need, especially in times of crisis,” said Matt Smith, Senior Director of PepsiCo’s Food for Good. “COVID-19 has challenged all of us to expand our operations and partnerships to reach millions of American families who need support, and the Meals to You partnership is a testament to that. Our Food for Good team is committed to fighting childhood hunger and it is a privilege to serve nutritious meals to our neighbors all across the country.”

“As a child nutrition partner to thousands of schools across the country, we see first-hand the impact this crisis is having on children nationwide,” said Belinda Oakley, CEO, Chartwells K12. “The Meals-To-You program reaches communities that need it most right now, so it’s a privilege to be a part of such an innovative partnership to ensure no child goes hungry during this challenging time.”

Background:

Meals to You is an innovative public-private partnership between USDA, the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, and PepsiCo. It began as a summer pilot project in 2019 but has been successfully leveraged as emergency Meals to You to address pandemic-related nutrition needs in rural areas.

Stark Community Foundation accepting Covid-19 grant applications

STARK COUNTY, OHIO, July 14th – Stark Community Foundation is currently accepting grant applications from area organizations impacted by COVID-19.

In order to be eligible for funding in this competitive process, grant applicants must be a 501(c)(3) organization in good standing with the IRS and either located within Stark County or directly benefitting Stark County. Applications will also be considered from tax-exempt private agencies and government entities. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a need for funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While priority will be given to organizations that serve the under-served, all applications will be considered.

To apply online and learn more about the Foundation’s grantmaking instructions and policies, visit www.starkcf.org and click on the Grants and Scholarships tab. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be made approximately four weeks after an application has been received.

For more information, contact Grants Administrator Dana S. Johnson at 330-454-3426 or [email protected].

Governor DeWine Implores Ohioans to Unite to Prevent Spread of Covid-19

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—In a statewide address from his office in the Statehouse tonight Governor DeWine said that the state is at a critical point in the COVID-19 pandemic and implored Ohioans to take appropriate action to reverse the rapidly increasing spread of the virus.

“Today, more Ohioans are getting sick than at any previous point in this pandemic. We are sliding down a very dangerous path, with our once flattened-curve starting to sharpen and spike,” said Governor DeWine. “This is a worrisome, disturbing reversal of our progress -- a jarring reminder of just how quickly our fate can change.”

Governor DeWine commended Ohioans for doing their part at the beginning of the pandemic. However, with positive cases increasing, he reminded Ohioans that the choices they make today will impact the spread of the virus in the coming weeks. During the speech, grounded in scientific evidence and data, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans about the efficacy of facial coverings to protect themselves, loved ones, friends, neighbors and other citizens. He also renewed the call to socially distance and limit public gatherings.

“I am calling on all Ohioans to once again unite. We must work together, support each other, and help each other through this challenging time. I’ve seen you do this. I know you can do this. Ohioans can continue to help our most vulnerable, while also protecting ourselves and our families. Together, we can be the Ohio where our hospitals are not overwhelmed, where our schools can open, where sports can start, and where our economy can continue to grow, Governor DeWine added. A video of the address is available on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page. For more information about Covid-19, including testing locations, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov

Governor DeWine Implores Ohioans to Unite to Prevent Spread of Covid-19

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—In a statewide address from his office in the Statehouse tonight Governor DeWine said that the state is at a critical point in the COVID-19 pandemic and implored Ohioans to take appropriate action to reverse the rapidly increasing spread of the virus.

“Today, more Ohioans are getting sick than at any previous point in this pandemic. We are sliding down a very dangerous path, with our once flattened-curve starting to sharpen and spike,” said Governor DeWine. “This is a worrisome, disturbing reversal of our progress -- a jarring reminder of just how quickly our fate can change.”

Governor DeWine commended Ohioans for doing their part at the beginning of the pandemic. However, with positive cases increasing, he reminded Ohioans that the choices they make today will impact the spread of the virus in the coming weeks. During the speech, grounded in scientific evidence and data, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans about the efficacy of facial coverings to protect themselves, loved ones, friends, neighbors and other citizens. He also renewed the call to socially distance and limit public gatherings.

“I am calling on all Ohioans to once again unite. We must work together, support each other, and help each other through this challenging time. I’ve seen you do this. I know you can do this. Ohioans can continue to help our most vulnerable, while also protecting ourselves and our families. Together, we can be the Ohio where our hospitals are not overwhelmed, where our schools can open, where sports can start, and where our economy can continue to grow, Governor DeWine added. A video of the address is available on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page. For more information about Covid-19, including testing locations, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov

Additional Commodities Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Applications for New Commodities Being Accepted

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2020 – Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data. Producers will be able to submit applications that include these commodities on Monday, July 13, 2020.  

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting through Aug. 28, 2020, applications for CFAP, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects additional eligible commodities to be announced in the coming weeks.

“During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA have stood with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” said Secretary Perdue. “When we announced this program earlier this year, we asked for public input and received a good response. After reviewing the comments received and analyzing our USDA Market News data, we are adding new commodities, as well as making updates to the program for existing eligible commodities. This is an example of government working for the people – we asked for input and we updated the program based on the comments we received.”

USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22, 2020.

Changes to CFAP include:

  • Adding the following commodities: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.
  • Expanding for seven currently eligible commodities – apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – CARES Act funding for sales losses because USDA found these commodities had a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.
  • Determining that peaches and rhubarb no longer qualify for payment under the CARES Act sales loss category.
  • Correcting payment rates for apples, artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, garlic, kiwifruit, mushrooms, papaya, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, tangerines and taro.

Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Final Rule Correction and at www.farmers.gov/cfap.

Producers have several options for applying to the CFAP program:

1. Using an online portal, accessible at farmers.gov/cfap, allows producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.  New commodities will be available in the system on July 13, 2020.

2. Completing the application form using our CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found atfarmers.gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center. An updated version with the new commodities will be available on the website on July 13, 2020.

3. Downloading the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visitfarmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local office.

 USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local service centers when calling to discuss the CFAP application process. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs.

Getting Help from FSA

New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file.

COVID-19 Update: New Risk Levels, Higher Education Guidance, Funding for Schools, Homelessness Grant, IMAP Launch, SharedWork Program, Plasma Donation

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine announced today that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 12 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Upgraded to Level 3: Clermont, Fairfield, Lorain, Pickaway, Summit, Wood

Continuing at Level 3:  Butler*, Cuyahoga*, Franklin, Hamilton*, Montgomery, Trumbull

Downgraded to Level 2:  Huron

Three Red Alert Level 3 counties marked with a star (*) are on Ohio's Watch List as they are approaching Purple Alert Level 4. Franklin County was removed from the Watch List due to a decrease in hospital admissions.

Mask mandates for the new counties upgraded to Red Alert Level 3 will be mandated to begin wearing masks in public beginning at 6 p.m. on July 10, 2020. Residents in Huron County are no longer required to wear a mask in public, however, they are strongly encouraged to do so.

Governor DeWine announced the creation of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System last week to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators. 

HIGHER EDUCATION GUIDANCE:

The Ohio Department of Higher Education, in consultation with Ohio colleges, universities, the Ohio Department of Health, and health experts across the state have developed guidance to help campuses safely reopen.

The Responsible RestartOhio guidance for Institutions of Higher Education includes minimum operating standards for all campuses, as well as best practices to further enhance those standards.

"By implementing these minimum requirements and implementing best practices, our higher education communities can continue to educate students and prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Governor DeWine. 

Because each campus must develop policies and procedures related to COVID-19 testing, new Guidance for COVID-19 Testing at Institutions of Higher Education was also released to help institutions tailor their testing plan to their community and develop policies related to the isolation of symptomatic students, faculty, and staff members.

K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING: 

To help K-12 schools and institutions of higher education address increasing costs associated with the COVID-19 safety measures, Governor DeWine and leaders of the Ohio General Assembly are requesting that the Ohio Controlling Board approve an initial request on Monday to allocate $200 million for higher education and $100 million for K-12 schools from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. 

"This funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars to help schools meet their unique individual needs," said Governor DeWine. "We intend for this funding to be very flexible to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

The funding would be available to all public and private schools and for all two and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, including adult career tech providers.

The funding request is in addition to the more than $440 million in direct federal CARES Act funding that Ohio K-12 schools are receiving and the more than $190 million in direct federal funding provided to Ohio's colleges and universities.

HOMELESSNESS GRANT: 

Governor DeWine announced that he is awarding an additional grant of $15 million to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. 

The funds will be used to support homelessness prevention efforts and rapidly rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness who could be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, especially those in congregate facilities such as homeless shelters.  

The grant funding is in addition to a $1 million grant that Governor DeWine award the coalition in April which helped to keep hundreds of Ohioans safely housed during the pandemic. 

IMAP LAUNCH:

Lt. Governor Husted announced the launch of the Individual Micro-credential Assistance Program (IMAP) which will provide $2.5 million in grants to help unemployed Ohioans earn in-demand, technology-focused credentials that will give them a leg up in finding a job in the increasingly tech-focused economy.

The grant application is open to training providers, such as universities, colleges, Ohio technical centers, or private sector training businesses. Training providers who receive awards will be reimbursed up to $3,000 for each completed technology-focused credential issued and up to $250,000 per provider.

The program was created in partnership with the Ohio House of Representatives. 

Training providers interested in applying can find more information at IMAP.Development.Ohio.gov. The deadline to apply is July 24, 2020.

SHAREDWORK PROGRAM: 

Governor DeWine recently signed an executive order enabling the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to use federal funding authorized under the CARES Act to enhance the state’s SharedWork program.

Participating employers agree to reduce the affected employees’ hours by a uniform percentage, between 10 percent and 50 percent, for up to 52 weeks. In return, those employees receive SharedWork compensation (which is a prorated unemployment benefit) and, while federally available, may also receive the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit each week.

Since March 15, ODJFS has approved 909 employers who have participated in 1,680 SharedWork Ohio plans, benefiting 46,352 participating employees.

For more information visit jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SharedWorkOhio.

PLASMA DONATION

Lt. Governor Husted encouraged Ohioans who have been fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks to consider donating plasma. 

"Convalescent plasma, which is plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, is rich in antibodies that could possibly attack the virus that causes COVID-19," said Lt. Governor Husted. "Although the treatment of COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma remains in the investigation stage, it shows promise to lessen the severity or shorten the length of COVID-19 and is something that could potentially save lives in our continual fight against the coronavirus."

For more information or to sign up to donate, visit redcrossblood.org/plasma4covid or contact a local blood donor or plasma collection center.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 61,331 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,006 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 8,570 people have been hospitalized, including 2,146 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for July 7 - July 12 are listed below. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Aultman Hospital participates in Convalescent Plasma Study to combat COVID-19

CANTON, Ohio (July 6, 2020) – Aultman Hospital is the only hospital in Stark or Tuscarawas counties enrolled in an experimental treatment program sponsored by the Mayo Clinic using plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus to help treat others.

People who recover from COVID-19 do so, at least in part, because their blood contains substances called antibodies, which are capable of fighting the virus that causes the illness. For some other diseases caused by viruses, giving people the liquid portion of blood, called plasma, from those who have recovered from the virus leads to more rapid improvement of the disease.

“Convalescent plasma is one of the most current experimental treatments we have for fighting this pandemic, and we’re proud to be among the hospitals participating in this promising research to help patients in Northeast Ohio and around the world,” said Dr. Nihad Boutros, medical director, critical care services.

Aultman has been enrolled in this program since its infancy February. Data collected by Aultman is sent for further research at the Mayo Clinic. Across the country and internationally, the program has more than 2,500 sites enrolled, more than 9,000 physicians registered and over 40,600 patients.

Initial data from studies using COVID-19 convalescent plasma for the treatment of individuals with severe or life-threatening disease indicates that a single dose of 200 mL showed a benefit for some patients, leading to improvement.

COVID-19 Update: Face Coverings to be Required in High-Risk Counties

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that effective on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., a new Ohio Department of Health order will mandate face coverings in public in all counties that are designated as a Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency or a Purple Alert Level 4 Public Health Emergency. 

Currently, seven counties in Ohio are designated at Red Alert Level 3 which indicates that those in these counties have a very high risk of exposure and spread: 

  • Butler County
  • Cuyahoga County
  • Franklin County
  • Hamilton County
  • Huron County
  • Montgomery County
  • Trumbull County

As of today, no counties have reached Purple Alert Level 4, however, Franklin County is approaching this top tier. 

"In addition to social distancing and reducing unnecessary interactions with others, we know that wearing a mask helps protect others in the community.  It has been, and remains, a very strong recommendation that I urge all Ohioans to continue doing even if you are not in a red-alert county," said Governor DeWine. "In red-alert and purple-alert counties, however, we must do more to help protect citizens because the risk of spread is increasing even more."

Last week, Governor DeWine announced the creation of Ohio's Public Health Advisory System, which consists of four alert levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. Each level is calculated based on seven data-driven health indicators.

Those in counties designated as Red Alert Level 3 or Purple Alert Level 4 are required to wear a face covering: 

  • In any indoor location that is not a residence;
  • When outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household; or
  • While waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.

The order does not apply to children under the age of 10 or any other minor who cannot safely wear a face covering. The order also reflects the mask guidance in place for employees and businesses which does not require a person to wear a mask if their physician advises against it, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, if communicating with the hearing impaired, when alone in an office or personal workspace, and other similar measures.

Schools that offer Kindergarten through Grade 12 instruction should follow the guidelines set forth last week by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health. 

The Ohio Department of Health will update county rankings every Thursday. Any county that increases to Red Alert Level 3 will automatically be included in the face-covering mandate. Any county that decreases from Red Alert Level 3 to Orange Alert Level 2 will automatically be released from the face-covering requirement. 

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 58,904 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,970 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 8,383 people have been hospitalized, including 2,101 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for July 7 - July 12 are listed below. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: School Guidelines, Public Health Advisory System

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

K-12 SCHOOL GUIDANCE: 

Governor DeWine today announced new guidance for resuming school in the fall.

"We know that each school system, and perhaps each school building, will likely look different in the fall.  We also know that Ohio has a long history of local control and that school administrators and teachers know their schools best," said Governor DeWine. "Working together and consulting with educators and other health officials, we have developed a set of guidelines, backed by science, that each school should follow when developing their reopening plans."

The newly issued guidance report advises schools to vigilantly assess symptoms, wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread, thoroughly clean and sanitize the school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces, practice social distancing, and implement a face coverings policy. 

"Just as we have done in the business sector with employees, we are requiring school staff to wear face coverings to reduce the spread of the virus, unless it is unsafe or when doing so could significantly interfere with the learning process.  When face coverings aren’t practical, face shields may be considered," said Governor DeWine. "We strongly recommend that students in 3rd grade and up wear face coverings as well."  

More details on the new school guidance will soon be available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

To assist schools in their efforts to implement the guidance, the Ohio Department of Education has created a document titled, “The Reset and Restart Education Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts,” which is designed to help teachers, principals, and administrators with solutions to safety challenges.  The document provides resources and information for community decision-makers as they contemplate how to reopen safely.

The guidance announced today was developed in consultation with school superintendents, teachers, parents, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, Ohio Association of Public School Employees, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Alliance for High Quality Education, and Ohio Association of Career Tech Education.

Governor DeWine today also committed to working with the Ohio General Assembly on a plan to ensure that federal CARES Act dollars are made available to Ohio’s school districts for unforeseen expenses associated with creating a safe environment. 

PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY ALERT SYSTEM: 

Governor DeWine announced today that going forward, Ohio will maintain vital, necessary baseline orders to control the spread of COVID-19 while also implementing a new alert system. 

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System will provide local health departments and community leaders data and information to combat flare-ups as they occur in different parts of the state. The system consists of four levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of the problem in the counties in which they live.

"Our new Public Health Advisory System will help make clear the very real dangers happening in individual counties across Ohio," said Governor DeWine. "This is a color-coded system built on a data-driven framework to assess the degree of the virus’ spread and to inform, engage, and empower individuals, businesses, communities, local governments, and others in their response and actions."

Data Indicators: 

A county's alert level is determined by seven data indicators:

            1            New Cases Per Capita

            2            Sustained Increase in New Cases

            3            Proportion of Cases that Are Not Congregate Cases

            4            Sustained Increase in Emergency Room Visits

            5            Sustained Increase in Outpatient Visits

            6            Sustained Increase in New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions

            7            Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Bed Occupancy

Additional measurements still in development include county-level data on contact tracing, tests per capita, and percent positivity. 

Detailed descriptions for each indicator can be found on coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Alert Level 1 Public Emergency (Yellow): Baseline level. County has met zero or one indicator. Active exposure and spread. Follow all health orders. 

Alert Level 2 Public Emergency (Orange): County has met two or three indicators. Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution. Follow all current health orders. 

Alert Level 3 Public Emergency (Red): County has met four or five indicators. Very high exposure and spread. Limit Activities as much as possible. Follow all current health orders. 

Alert Level 4 Public Emergency (Purple): County has met six or seven indicators. Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services. Follow all current health orders. 

Counties that are approaching Alert Level 4 are indicated with a star.

Each alert level includes specific risk-level guidelines, including the requirement that all citizens comply with all health orders.

Profiles for the seven counties currently categorized in Alert Level 3 can be found below and are also available on the new Ohio Public Health Advisory System website. 

  • Butler
  • Cuyahoga
  • Franklin
  • Hamilton
  • Huron
  • Montgomery
  • Trumbull

RESTAURANTS & BARS: 

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control has granted over 300 expansion requests to bars and restaurants to allow patrons more opportunities to enjoy dinner or drinks in a safe environment.

Liquor Control has been working with local jurisdictions to extend liquor permits to outside spaces next to bars, such as parking lots and sidewalks, to expand seating capacity outside to keep patrons socially distanced.  

"We encourage owners to continue to work with us and their local governments to come up with creative ways to expand their outdoor seating capacity so that everyone can stay safe and be socially distanced," said Governor DeWine. "I ask our restaurant and bar owners to continue to insist on social distancing and other efforts to control the spread.  This is absolutely vital."

PRESUMED RECOVERED DATA:

Lt. Governor Husted announced that "Presumed Recovered" is a new data point now reported in Ohio's COVID-19 data metrics shared on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

"Many have been asking why the number of people recovered isn’t reported and that's because this data isn’t reported to the Ohio Department of Health, so we don’t have an exact figure," said Lt. Governor Husted. "However, we can presume what that number is based on the other data we have." 

Ohio's current presumed-recovered count is 38,987.

CURRENT CASE DATA: 

Due to technical issues, current COVID-19 data is temporarily unavailable. Ohio's updated data will be posted at coronavirus.ohio.gov as soon as it is available. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Increases in Hospitalizations and Positivity Rate, Counties of Concern, Nursing Home Visitation, Order Extension

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOSPITALIZATIONS:

Last week was the first week of increasing COVID-19 hospital utilization in Ohio after over two months of decreasing utilization since late April. From June 21, 2020, to June 27, 2020, Ohio had approximately 500 to 550 total COVID-19 patients in hospitals statewide. This week, there are approximately 650 COVID-19 patients in hospitals statewide.

In comparison, the number of standard hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients had peaked in late April and early May at about 1,000 and reached a low of 513 on June 20th.

"Thankfully, ICU and ventilator utilization at the state level is still holding steady, but we are seeing increases in some areas of the state, such as in the Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati areas," said Governor DeWine. "In other regions of the state, COVID-19 hospital occupancy had been declining but now appears to have leveled off."

Although COVID-19 utilization in hospitals is increasing, there is still adequate overall capacity available across the state as of today. No region has reached the concern threshold of 80 percent overall utilization for ICU beds, however lessons of recent history in NYC, Houston, and Arizona indicate that this can quickly change.

POSITIVITY RATE:

Governor DeWine explained that the increase in positive COVID-19 cases is not fully due to Ohio's increase in testing.

"Ohio's positivity rate has increased slightly as our testing totals have increased," said Governor DeWine. "If the spread of this virus remained at a low level, more testing should show a lower positivity. The increase of our positivity rate, even as we are doing more testing, means that we are likely picking up signs of broader community spread."

HAMILTON COUNTY:

At the end of May and into early June, Hamilton County had an average of 30 cases per day per 100,000 people. As of this past week, the average new cases per day in Hamilton County increased to approximately 100 cases per 100,000 people. Due to the delayed diagnosis, these numbers may continue to grow for this reporting period.

In addition, more people are visiting their doctors and being diagnosed with COVID-19 in Hamilton County more often. Between June 15 and June 22, those numbers nearly doubled from 40 to 78 visits per day.

In Hamilton County and the surrounding Southwestern Ohio region, hospital utilization by COVID-19 positive patients reached their lowest levels of this epidemic during the first and second weeks of June. Since then the number of COVID-positive patients being treated in standard hospital beds, ICU beds, and on ventilators has started to increase. For example, in Hamilton County, the number of COVID-positive patients doubled from a low of 65 patients on June 11 to more than 130 patients this weekend.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY: 

In Montgomery County, there is a noticeable increase in cases over the last month from an average of about 10 cases a day at the end of May to about 40 cases a day in the most recent week. The community is also experiencing early signs that more people are seeking medical care for COVID-19 symptoms. For example, outpatient visits in Montgomery County grew from an average of nearly seven visits per day to 27.

For the hospitals in the West Central region, the number of COVID-positive patients in standard hospital beds, ICUs, and ventilators has also doubled since the first week of June. COVID-specific hospital utilization is approaching levels not seen since the earlier peak of the pandemic in April.

"To make sure we have enough hospital and ICU beds to treat everyone who needs care, including those who need emergency surgery, are in a car crash, or are suffering from a stroke, we need the help of all Ohioans," said Governor DeWine. "I'm asking everyone, especially those in Hamilton, Montgomery, and surrounding counties, to redouble their efforts to social distance, wear a mask in public, and follow good hand-washing protocols."

NURSING HOME VISITATION:

Governor DeWine announced that beginning July 20, 2020, nursing homes are permitted to begin outdoor visitation as long as all safety standards are met. 

When assessing their readiness to permit outdoor visitation, nursing homes should consider:

  • Case status in the surrounding community
  • Case status in the nursing home
  • Staffing levels
  • Access to adequate testing for residents and staff
  • Personal protective equipment supplies
  • Local hospital capacity

The decision to move forward with outdoor visitation considered requests from families and residents and the impact on the quality of life that a prolonged loss of connection can have on an individual. The plan was made in consultation with advocates and providers in the aging and development disabilities communities. Guidelines for visitation were jointly developed by the Academy for Senior Health Sciences, Leading Age Ohio, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Health Care Association, and the Ohio Medical Directors Association.

"We are confident that our approach provides each facility the flexibility needed to assess their readiness to safely facilitate outdoor visitation and to do so in a transparent way that keeps residents and families informed," said Governor DeWine.

The order and related guidance will be made available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.  Questions may also be directed to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an office within the Ohio Department of Aging, at 1-800-282-1206.

EXTENSION OF ORDERS: 

Governor DeWine announced that he is extending existing health orders through this week as his administration finalizes vital plans to help local schools safely reopen, as well as plans to keep Ohioans healthy and safe.

"These plans will take us into the next phase, a distinct and different phase of continuing to keep Ohio open as we head into the second half of 2020," said Governor DeWine. 

Details on this new phase are anticipated to be released on Thursday. 

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 51,046 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,818 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,746 people have been hospitalized, including 1,961 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for June 29 - July 2 are listed below. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Increase in Positive Cases, 2-1-1

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

INCREASE IN POSITIVE CASES - HAMILTON COUNTY REGION

Governor DeWine invited President and CEO of UC Health Richard P. Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP to give an update on the status of COVID-19 in Hamilton County and the surrounding areas.

The effective reproductive ratio, also known as R naught, measures how many people will be infected by a sick individual. The R naught had reached 2.4 in that region in April. In recent weeks, the R naught had declined to below one. However, in the last 10 days, the R naught has doubled over the last 10 days in the Cincinnati region.

Dr. Lofgren explained that the increase in cases is not only due to the tests being performed, but the increase shows there is a greater presence of the COVID-19 in the area, and it is spreading in the community. He said it serves as a reminder about the importance of wearing a mask in public, washing your hands, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, and keeping social distance.

OHIO 2-1-1 

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will continue funding for the valuable 2-1-1 service as Ohio enters into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2-1-1 is a phone service that connects thousands of Ohioans to local non-profit and government services for healthcare, food and meals, housing, transportation, mental health, and legal services.

At the beginning of the year, the service was available in 51 of Ohio’s 88 counties.  When the pandemic began, Ohio EMA asked Ohio AIRS, the non-profit that governs Ohio 2-1-1, to provide service to the remaining 37 counties in Ohio, which happened in March. 

"Often, people in need require help getting connected to services, and we know that the need has grown remarkably during this unprecedented time," said Governor DeWine. "The 2-1-1 service is particularly important for those most vulnerable in our state who have been hit by COVID-19 the hardest."

Ohioans can also dial 877-721-8476 to get connected to 2-1-1.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 47,651 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,772 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,502 people have been hospitalized, including 1,897 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for June 29 - July 2 are listed below. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

SARTA Fare Collection to Resume Wednesday, July 1st 

As part of SARTA's three week plan to phase in a return to normal that began June 15th, fare collection, which was suspended during the COVID-19 crisis will resume on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. 
Tickets and passes may be purchased at the transit centers, online at https://www.sartaonline.com/fares, by mail, or via the EZfare mobile ticketing app which can be downloaded for free at the App Store or on Google Play in advance of the fare collection date of July 1st. 
SARTA also announced procedures for exchanging expired 31-day fixed route and ProLine passes that were purchased between February 16 and March 16, 2020. Paper passes can be exchanged at any one of SARTA's transit centers or via mail between June 15, 2020 and July 3, 2020. Complete instructions for the exchange process can be found at https://www.sartaonline.com/pass-exchange-program.
31-day fixed route and Proline passes purchased via the EZfare app may be exchanged by calling a customer service representative at 330-477-2782 and selecting Option #4 or by completing the form posted at https://www.sartaonline.com/ezfare-exchange. Exchanges must be submitted between June 15, 2020 and July 3, 2020. 

COVID-19 Update: Public Awareness Campaigns, Fireworks, Criminal Justice Grants

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS

Governor DeWine today announced two public awareness campaigns aimed at spreading awareness of COVID-19 prevention measures that impact the well-being of Ohioans and the Ohio economy.

“The messages of these ads are clear,” said Governor DeWine. “Ohioans, by continuing to practice good prevention, can do two things at once, help stop the spread of COVID-19, and responsibly and safely get back to work.”

The first campaign, called “I Believe,” focuses on real Ohioans and the prevention measures they take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These 15-second ads, provided by the Ohio Department of Health, will air for three weeks on broadcast, cable, and social media across the state. The PSAs feature two Ohio healthcare professionals. 

Dr. Kevin Sharrett, MD, is a primary care physician with Cedarville and Jamestown Family Practice. He is the Medical Director for the Greene County Health Department and the Medical Director for Rural Health for the Kettering Health Network. He has served as the Greene County Coroner since 1997. A graduate of Wright State University School of Medicine, Dr. Sharrett also is a farmer and has dedicated his career to serving rural Ohioans.

Shareece Mashiska, RN, has been caring for patients in the Youngstown/Warren communities for more than 15 years. A nurse manager at Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, Shareece began her career in the intermediate unit at Mercy Health – St. Joseph Warren Hospital before becoming an intensive care nurse working both in-patient and on Mercy Health’s mobile intensive care unit. Currently residing in the Mahoning Valley, Shareece believes social distancing remains a critical piece of keeping our communities safe, which includes her own husband and three children.

The second campaign, called “Up to All of Us,” focuses on the importance of taking proper preventative precautions, such as maintaining social distance and washing hands, to get Ohioans back to work and Ohio's economy working again.  The ad, provided by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, will air for three weeks on broadcast and cable television and features an emergency room physician and a local restaurant owner and operator.

Laura Espy-Bell, MD, MHA, FACEP is a board-certified Emergency physician and a native of Columbus, Ohio. She is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 2003. Dr. Espy-Bell received her Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005. Dr. Espy-Bell graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2011. Dr. Espy-Bell has been an active member of the OhioHealth medical staff for the past 6 years as an Emergency Medicine attending physician with Mid-Ohio Emergency Services (MOES) and has provided quality health care in several OhioHealth emergency departments.

Gary Callicoat is the president of Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern, which he first opened in 2002. Reflecting a long record of giving back to the hospitality industry, Callicoat serves on the board of the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) and is equally committed to supporting charitable causes of the communities in which he does business. He is also on the board of the ORA’s Education Foundation.

FIREWORKS: 

Lt. Governor Husted noted today that Independence Day fireworks shows can proceed, but large gatherings are still prohibited at this time. He encouraged any community that plans on holding a fireworks event to do so safely. Spectators are encouraged to find ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in small groups such as by watching displays from their porches, backyards, or cars. 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE GRANTS:

Governor DeWine announced the first round of funding being distributed to local criminal justice entities as part of the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant.

Approximately $2.1 million will be awarded to a total of 65 local criminal justice agencies including law enforcement, probation/parole offices, corrections agencies, courts, and victim service providers. 

The funding can be used toward COVID-19 expenses such as cleaning supplies, PPE, and medical supplies like thermometers. The funding will also be used to pay for technology upgrades that are needed for teleworking or other virtual services.

A complete list of today's grant recipients can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

A total of nearly $16 million was awarded to Ohio's Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) for this program as part of the CARES Act. OCJS continues to process other grant applications they’ve already received and are still accepting new applications from agencies that have not yet requested funding.

More information on how to apply can be found at www.ocjs.ohio.gov.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 46,127 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,735 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,379 people have been hospitalized, including 1,876 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for June 22-26 are listed below. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Case Increases in Children and in Southwest Ohio, PPE Readiness Stockpile, Good Cause, OhioMeansJobs, Resuming Sports Phase II

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SOUTHWEST OHIO CASE INCREASE:

Governor DeWine announced today that although Ohio is seeing an overall declining number of COVID-19 cases, there is currently an uptick in cases in Southwest Ohio. 

Increases are being seen in Montgomery County, Greene County, Clark County, Warren County, and Hamilton County. Case counts in these counties by zip code can be found on coronavirus.ohio.gov

In response to this increase in cases, Governor DeWine announced that pop-up testing sites will surge into the zip codes with the highest number of cases. Testing at pop-up sites is free, and citizens are not required to live in the community where the pop-up site is located to receive a test. 

New pop-up testing sites will also be scheduled in other locations to ensure testing accessibility throughout the state. A list of sites currently scheduled in Ohio is available on coronavirus.ohio.gov on the COVID-19 Minority Health Testing page. 

INCREASE IN COVID-19 CASES IN CHILDREN:

Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease doctor and associate medical director for infection control at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, today provided information on an increase in the percentage of children testing positive for COVID-19 at Rainbow Babies. 

"What we've really been seeing recently is an increase of the percent of tests that are coming back positive, particularly in symptomatic children - meaning that for kids who have symptoms of a respiratory viral disease, a larger percent of them are coronavirus than earlier in the pandemic," Dr. Edwards said. "It's to be expected as the state opens that we're going to start to see more positive kids, but that rate has been going up, and it is something we're keeping our eye on. It hasn't gone up dramatically, about 5 - 6 percent or so, but it has been a steady increase, and it has not stopped increasing as of yet."

Dr. Edwards said that hospital admissions for COVID-19 in children at Rainbow Babies have also increased. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 in kids are similar to symptoms in adults. If your child seems to be having trouble breathing or is not eating or drinking, Dr. Edwards recommends calling your pediatrician to get your child tested. 

In addition, Dr. Edwards reported that cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children have also increased at Rainbow Babies. Symptoms include high fever, rash, red eyes, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains. More information on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is available at uhhospitals.org

HOSPITAL PPE READINESS STOCKPILE:

Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new Hospital PPE Readiness Stockpile, which will be compiled and stored by Ohio hospitals throughout the state. Items in the PPE stockpile will be distributed to residents and staff at long-term care facilities should there be an increase in COVID-19 cases.    

"Having a stockpile like this is incredibly important, especially for long-term care facilities like nursing homes," said Governor DeWine. "With the recent changes to visitation rules, we must continue to recognize that these Ohioans are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and that spikes may occur in congregate living facilities."

Hospitals have begun to build a 30-day reserve of PPE based on several calculations, including the state’s surge models, the number of residents and staff at Ohio nursing homes, as well as recent FEMA PPE allocations to each Ohio nursing home. Each hospital will have a different amount of stockpile that is calculated specifically for the region. 

The stockpile is a collaborative effort between the Ohio Hospital Association, hospitals throughout the state, and several state agencies, including the departments of Health, Medicaid, and Public Safety. 

GOOD CAUSE EXECUTIVE ORDER: 

For the seventh straight week, renewals of unemployment claims have declined. Last week, more than a quarter a million fewer people filed for continued unemployment insurance than they did during the COVID-19 unemployment peak.  

Governor DeWine signed an executive order that expands the definition of good cause throughout the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Good Cause now includes the following situations:

  • A medical professional recommends that an individual not return to work because that person falls into a category that is considered high-risk for catching COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their employee cannot offer teleworking options.
  • The employee is 65 years of age or older.
  • There is tangible evidence of a health and safety violation by the employer that does not allow the employee to practice social distancing, hygiene, and wearing personal protective equipment.
  • The individual has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and subject to a quarantine period as prescribed by a medical or health professional.
  • The individual must stay home to care for a family member who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional.

OHIO MEANS JOBS: 

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that because most of Ohio's economy is now open, the coronavirus.ohio.gov/JobSearch website will transition back to Ohio's regular job-search website, OhioMeansJobs.com

OhioMeansJobs.com currently has over 120,000 job postings, with almost half paying over $50,000. Approximately 76,000 jobs require less than a bachelor’s degree, while 36,000 require either a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree. Approximately 77 percent of the job openings are considered in-demand. 

RESUMING SPORTS ACTIVITIES: 

Lt. Governor Husted also announced that Phase II of the Responsible RestartOhio plan for sports activities will allow contact practice for all sports to resume on Monday, June 22. 

"This means football, lacrosse, and other contact sports can resume scrimmages and full training regiments as long as safety protocols are observed," said Lt. Governor Husted. "Although June 22 is the day contact practice may begin, it will ultimately be up to local sports organizers and high school leaders on when is the best time to proceed." Training guidance is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The Ohio High School Athletic Association and the summer league work group worked together with the Ohio Department of Health on this plan. 

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 43,122 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,633 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,104 people have been hospitalized, including 1,807 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Basic Reproduction Number, Pop-Up Sites, Multi-System Youth Grant

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM: 

More than 65,000 children a day are expected to take part in Ohio's Summer Food Service Program this summer. With more than 1,500 sites across the state, many of the programs have set up new guidelines for distributing food to kids.

Additional information can be found at education.ohio.gov/kidseat or by calling 866-3-HUNGRY. 

BASIC REPRODUCTION NUMBER:

Governor DeWine released the latest basic reproduction number or R0 (pronounced “R naught”) for eight regions of Ohio. The R0 represents the number of people, on average, that a person will spread a disease to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that COVID-19's R0, without interventions, to be 2.5.

With Ohio's interventions, the R0 for the state measured at 0.87 on June 7. Ohio is beginning to see the R0 plateau in Region 7 and 8.  

POP-UP SITES:

Governor DeWine announced additional pop-up testing sites will be available throughout the state this week. Testing began this morning at CityLink Center in Cincinnati and will also be available on Thursday and Friday from 10:00am until 3:00pm. Testing will resume at the CityLink Center next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

Tomorrow testing will be available at the Centerpoint Health Community Building Institute in Middletown, Ohio, from 10:00am to 2:00pm. 

Additional temporary pop-up testing locations will be in Elyria, Portsmouth, Xenia, and other locations. More information on pop-up sites can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE:

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will borrow money to meet its unemployment obligation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state requested $3.1 billion in borrowing authority from the U.S. Department of Labor. This is not an unprecedented situation, Ohio borrowed more than $3.3 billion during the last recession and joins states such as California and Texas in borrowing money during this crisis. 

HOUSES OF WORSHIP REMINDER:

Governor DeWine reminded houses of worship to continue utilizing the best practices when resuming in-person services. While these are not requirements, they are best practices that include having families sit socially-distant from other families; encouraging members to wear face coverings; and eliminating the touching of common surfaces, such as the collection basket and hymnals, as much as possible.  

This guidance can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

MULTI-SYSTEM YOUTH GRANT:

Governor DeWine announced $1 million in grant funding to Ohio’s local Family and Children First Councils (FCFC). Local FCFC’s serve some for Ohio’s must vulnerable children and often need services from many different agencies. These grant dollars will help local FCFC’s ensure that children can continue to connect with their loved ones and access essential medical services.

OBM, INNOVATEOHIO SAVINGS:

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and InnovateOhio have identified $950,027 in savings to state taxpayers through data analytics applied to state agency spending ledgers. These are actual taxpayer dollars recovered, not just potential savings identified. The total dollar amount of duplicate payments identified totals $1,008,876, leaving $58,849 still in the process of being recovered.

The total number of confirmed duplicate payments identified by InnovateOhio from January 2019 to May 2020 is 107 across 27 different agencies, boards, and commissions. The duplicate payments tool was initially announced in November 2019. The initial release is available on the InnovateOhio website.

FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY:

Lt. Governor Husted also reminded Ohioans to be on alert for individuals that may want to take advantage of them with potential fraudulent cures, work-from-home offers, and messages asking for personal information.  

He also warned Ohioans of fraudulent unemployment claims. For resources on how to protect your personal information and protect yourself from fraud, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or the Ohio Department of Commerce, or the Ohio Department of Insurance websites.  If you think you have been a victim of fraud contact the Ohio Attorney General office.

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 42,010 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,597 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,007 people have been hospitalized, including 1,784 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Gavarone announces funding to help local fairs open this summer

COLUMBUS, June 15— State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced that a plan to help Ohio’s county and independent fairs safely open received approval this week from the state’s Controlling Board.

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina), along with Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Speaker Larry Householder recently announced a plan to allow fairs to safely open and operate this summer. The Controlling Board approved $4.7 million in funding on Monday to help ensure that fairs can continue this summer.

"County fairs are vital to our local economies and communities," said Senator Gavarone. "This funding will provide much needed relief for counties to move forward with fairs this summer." 

Each fair that conducts a junior fair will receive $50,000 to be used for costs to conduct the fair in a safe manner consistent with COVID-19 health guidelines. Fairs that do not conduct a junior fair can still receive $15,000 to be used for next year’s fair.  

“Ohio’s fairs showcase our vibrant agricultural communities and mark a year of hard work and preparation by so many of our young people involved in 4-H and FFA,” said President Obhof. “We worked hard to ensure that these events would go on this summer and that families could have a safe but fun experience across Ohio.”

Local fair boards who had already announced cancellations in 2020 can apply for a new date with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, if they would like to go forward this year. At least one county fair has already reversed its prior cancellation and is going forward with this year’s fair under the new and more flexible guidelines.   

More information on safety guidelines for Ohio’s fairs can be found here, https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/County-Fairs.pdf. For a list of all Ohio county and independent fairs, visit www.ohiofairs.org

Ohio food insecurity rates nearly double since start of Covid-19 

Nearly 350,000 Ohio households have reported receiving free food from a food pantry, school program, or other source in the past week

COLUMBUS, OH – U.S. food insecurity and unemployment rates are at an all-time high due to the unforeseen effects of COVID-19, which have wreaked havoc all over the world since the beginning of 2020. In Ohio, more than one in seven workers remain unemployed, and recent polls show one in four Americans missed last month’s rent or mortgage or have little to no confidence they can pay next month on time. Food insecurity rates have nearly doubled in Ohio from 13.9% to 23%, according to the Census Household Pulse Survey. The Census found that just in the past week, nearly 350,000 Ohio households have reported receiving free food from a food pantry, school or children’s program, or other source, such as a neighbor.

“COVID-19 has created the perfect storm, releasing a downpour of difficulties on Ohio families,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “High unemployment rates and loss of income from jobs has led to a massive surge in demand at our foodbanks at a time when we’re facing significant operational challenges, including declines in volunteers, fundraising revenue and donated foods.”

Foodbanks across the country rapidly shifted operating models to meet skyrocketing demand while mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and they haven’t seen demand ease off for three months. Meanwhile, disruptions to the supply chain have meant fewer retail donations and a surge in food prices putting additional pressure on family food budgets.

“Congress attempted to put an umbrella over families’ heads by means of expanding SNAP aid and increasing unemployment benefits, but it hasn’t been enough,” said Hamler-Fugitt. “The increase in food prices makes the current SNAP benefit amounts even more inadequate to meet basic food needs. Our foodbanks simply cannot keep up with this level of demand – congressional action is needed now.”

SNAP is America’s most effective anti-hunger program and one of the best ways to stimulate the economy as people spend their benefits quickly and in their local communities. As Congress negotiates the next stimulus package, Ohio’s foodbanks urge members to consider the following:

  • A temporary 15% increase in the maximum SNAP benefit for all households must be included. This modest change would add just $25 per person per month, but this small increase will do a lot to address hunger and food insecurity.
  • Congress must also consider the more than 30 million children across America who participate in school and summer meal programs and strengthen and extend the Pandemic-EBT program for them.

“The need for increasing SNAP benefits and ensuring the health and nutrition of Ohio and American families is urgent and it cannot wait,” said Hamler-Fugitt. “The government must step in and do its job, particularly when the suffering is so great. Americans are drowning.”

COVID-19 UPDATE: Testing Expansion, R0 in Ohio, Place of Worship Best Practices, New Role for Dr. Acton, ODJFS Employment/Training Grant

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TESTING EXPANSION:

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio is expanding testing and encouraged those who want a COVID-19 test, including those who are low-risk or asymptomatic, to talk with their health care provider or contact a testing location to arrange a test.

"Until now, we have very much had a scarcity mindset because we had a very real scarcity of testing resources, but that mindset needs to change," said Governor DeWine. "Testing is a very important weapon in our arsenal as we continue to wage war against a very real enemy. By understanding who is sick, whether they are showing symptoms or not, we are able to better prevent the spread of the COVID-19."

Governor DeWine also announced a series of "pop-up" testing locations, beginning with six locations in Columbus. These temporary testing sites will be available all over the state, including in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Portsmouth, Dayton, Xenia, Columbiana, Akron, and other locations. 

Testing locations in Ohio can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov

BASIC REPRODUCTION NUMBER:

Governor DeWine today released the latest basic reproduction number or R0 (pronounced “R naught”) for eight regions of Ohio. The R0 represents the number of people, on average, that a person will spread a disease to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that COVID-19's R0, without interventions, to be 2.5. With Ohio's interventions, the R0 for the state measured slightly lower than 1.0 on June 1. Ohio is beginning to see a slight increase in the R0 measurements, more so in certain parts of Ohio such as the Dayton region.

BEST PRACTICES FOR PLACES OF WORSHIP

Governor DeWine today sent a letter to the ministerial community in Ohio to update them on the status of COVID-19 and provide suggested best practices for resuming in-person services. 

"Although Ohio never closed churches, synagogues, mosques, or other places of worship during this pandemic, we know that most of them stopped holding their traditional in-person services and found other ways to worship to protect their members and the communities where they serve," said Governor DeWine. "Just as we did with industry, outdoor activities, and entertainment, we have put together some suggested best practices for places of worship to keep in mind as they reopen."

This guidance can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

NEW ROLE FOR DR. AMY ACTON: 

Governor DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton will step down as director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and begin serving as his chief health advisor effective at the end of business today. Lance Himes, who previously served as ODH's director, was named interim-director. 

"Let me say how very grateful I am for Dr. Acton’s selfless and tireless service to the people of Ohio as our Ohio Department of Health director," said Governor DeWine. "It’s true that not all heroes wear capes.  Some of them wear a white coat embossed with the name Dr. Amy Acton."

In her new role, Dr. Acton will take a comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing health and well-being for all Ohioans. In addition to advising on health issues, she will continue to focus on the COVID-19 crisis. 

ODJFS EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING GRANT: 

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will receive an $8.5 million federal Employment Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant to help reemploy individuals who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help employers rebuild their workforces.

ODJFS will work with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation to facilitate the grant program through local OhioMeansJobs centers and will distribute the funding to Ohio’s local workforce areas. ODJFS will also provide outreach to employers and services to individuals who were laid off, either permanently or temporarily, as a result of the pandemic.

MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESSES TO JOIN ELITE USA

JobsOhio today announced that minority-owned Stark County businesses will participate in ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group’s business support and development program. In collaboration with JobsOhio and the Stark County Minority Business Association, ELITE USA announced that 13 minority-owned businesses will make up its new cohort.

“ELITE is providing Stark County minority-owned businesses access to resources that will help their efforts to scale up and grow,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “This also expands ELITE’s presence in Ohio ahead of its headquarters opening in Cleveland in the coming year.”

“We are excited to connect ELITE’s proven business development capabilities with the Stark County Minority Business Association,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio’s president and CEO. “Ensuring that these businesses have the tools they need to succeed and grow will create new opportunities in Northeast Ohio while accelerating Ohio’s economic recovery strategy.”

JobsOhio will fund the one-year program, which includes expert consultation regarding strategy, innovation, operations, marketing, governance and risk management, talent management, and leadership. This will be the second group of U.S. businesses to benefit from the ELITE program, which supports growth aspirations, promotes global partnerships, and facilitates access to international capital.

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 40,004 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,490 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 6,753 people have been hospitalized, including 1,732 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Mass Protest Standard, Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, PPE Update, GOJO Expansion

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates in regard to law enforcement reform and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

COMMUNITY-POLICE RELATIONS

Governor DeWine announced today the first of several efforts to improve community-police relations in Ohio. 

"These new efforts are just the start of our work to improve law enforcement accountability, transparency, training, and minority recruitment," said Governor DeWine.  "We are working with the law enforcement community, elected officials, and community organizations as we continue to move forward."

Mass Protest Law Enforcement Standard

Governor DeWine today directed Ohio's Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to begin developing uniform minimum standards related to mass protests.

"When protests morph from peaceful to violent, law enforcement must be empowered to act, but our peaceful demonstrators must also feel safe when asserting their First Amendment rights," said Governor DeWine. "A statewide standard for law enforcement will be beneficial to help standardize Ohio's response to large, ongoing protests in the future." 

Members of the collaborative will examine issues surrounding best practices for interaction between law enforcement and crowds that fail to disperse, when tactics involving tear gas, pepper spray, and non-lethal projectiles are necessary and when these tactics should be considered excessive, and how to better protect members of the media from injury. 

Ohio’s Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board was formed in 2015 to create uniform minimum standards for Ohio’s law enforcement agencies covering use of force, including deadly force, and hiring and recruitment. 

As of today, 79-percent of all of Ohio’s law enforcement officers work for an agency that has voluntarily complied with these standards or is in the process of certification. These agencies serve 75-percent of Ohio’s total population. However, the total number of certified agencies only accounts for slightly over half of all of Ohio’s departments.

"More than 400 agencies in the state have not chosen to pursue certification showing that they meet these minimum standards," said Governor DeWine. "Regardless of why these agencies are not certified, I'm calling on them to begin working on this process."

Governor DeWine directed the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services, which oversees the certification process, to reach out to every agency that is not certified in these standards and assist them in moving toward certification.

Collaborative standards also exist for community engagement, body cameras, bias-free policing, employee misconduct, telecommunicators, and law enforcement pursuits. 

The 2020 Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board report, which lists the certification status of all law enforcement agencies in the state, is available at publicsafety.ohio.gov

Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment

Governor DeWine also announced that he will create a new Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment within Ohio's Office of Criminal Justice Services.

"Ohio must also do more to encourage minorities and women to join the ranks of Ohio’s law enforcement officers - especially in our urban communities," said Governor DeWine. "The need for more minorities and females in the law enforcement profession isn’t a new concept and many agencies are already doing a phenomenal job, but this new office will help local agencies with recruitment and retention."

PPE UPDATE: 

As of last week, Ohio has distributed over 30 million pieces of PPE.  Sources of these resources include donations, FEMA, JobsOhio purchases, and purchases by state agencies such as our departments of Administrative Services, Health, and Public Safety using federal CARES Act funds. Of the 30 million total PPE pieces, 27.8 million pieces have been shipped to county EMAs for local distribution. 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation “Protecting Ohio's Workforce- We've Got You Covered” program has also sent over 1.5 million face coverings to employers to support and enhance any workforce safety and health efforts that businesses already have in place. 

Ohio is also providing PPE to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, through their Office of Pharmacy Services, to support requests for PPE from state agencies, boards, and commissions. 

Ohio is currently looking at long-term solutions to PPE supply chain issues plaguing the country. This includes longer-term contracts for ventilators and N95 masks. Ohio is also currently evaluating the results of a recently issued Invitation to Bid for gloves, gowns, and three-ply masks.

GOJO EXPANSION:

GOJO, an Akron-based manufacturer of hand sanitizer, and part of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, has been working with JobsOhio and today announced that it is expanding in Navarre and Maple Heights to meet the demand for their products that are helping fight COVID-19. 

The projects are expected to create 200 new jobs.

“GOJO is an Ohio-grown company whose products, including its PURELL® products are helping us combat the pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. “These new investments demonstrate the confidence GOJO has in Ohio’s talent, which is hard at work producing and distributing critical PURELL® products used worldwide.”

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 39,162 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,421 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 6,620 people have been hospitalized, including 1,708 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Aultman Hospital and Aultman Medical Staff Donate $10,000 to Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank 

-During Pandemic to Help Feed the Hungry

CANTON, Ohio (June 2, 2020) – Aultman physicians are accustomed to taking care of the health of the communities they serve, but they’ve recently helped to care for another vital community need: food.

Food insecurity has been one of the community’s largest challenges, and the coronavirus has caused more significant hardships for more people. In honor of Aultman physicians on National Doctors’ Day, Aultman Hospital donated $2,500 to Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s capital campaign for its second location, which is set to open in Canton next year. The physicians that make up Aultman’s Medical Staff chose to match that donation with another $2,500.

“This was the perfect time to give back in a new way,” said Dr. JoAnn Krivetzky, medical staff president. “We hope to continue fostering the relationship between Aultman and Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank to help provide relief and reduce food insecurity in our area.”

The generosity continued when Dr. Shruti Trehan and Dr. Tony Degenhard suggested donating an additional $5,000 from Fun Docs, a program they lead aimed at providing a healthy outlet for physicians to combat burnout from working long hours and dealing with difficult situations. This donation brought the total donated amount from Aultman Hospital, the medical staff and Fun Docs program to $10,000.

Aultman Hospital has been a longtime supporter of Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. Each year, Aultman employees participate in the annual Harvest for Hunger campaign, and their total donations are matched by Aultman Health Foundation. Since 2016, Aultman employees have donated nearly $20,000, or close to $40,000 with the Aultman matched donation. Aultman, AultCare and the Women’s Board have also contributed more than $5,000 in additional donations since 2016 through various sponsorships and drives.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is located in Akron and provides essential items to member hunger-relief programs in Carroll, Holmes, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Reopens

CANTON, OHIO – The Pro Football Hall of Fame reopened to the public Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

“We stand ready to provide inspiration to fans eager to celebrate excellence,” said David Baker, president & CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, “And we will do so in a responsible manner that puts the safety of the visiting public and our dedicated staff at the forefront of each decision we have made in reaching this point and that we will continue to make moving forward.”

In joining the nationwide effort to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection, the Hall closed its Museum doors to the public March 16.

During the subsequent weeks of shutdown, Operations personnel at the Hall took several steps to prepare for reopening, including thorough cleaning of all areas of the Museum multiple times.

To further protect guests’ health and safety, staff members have placed markings and stanchions throughout the Museum to help guests maintain proper physical distancing and to guide them in an orderly, one-way flow through the exhibits. Acrylic barriers have been installed in several areas, including Guest Services and the Hall of Fame Store.

Each safety measure adopted for employees and guests meets or exceeds its recommendation set by the state of Ohio and federal health standards for visiting a museum and retail establishment.

To assist guests entering the Hall in understanding the safety measures, each patron will receive a flyer that will explain physical distancing protocols, locations for hand sanitizer, the importance of not touching exhibits by hand and other pertinent Museum information.

Among the changes or enhanced safety measures in place at the Hall of Fame Museum are:

• All Hall employees and volunteers will receive a temperature reading – with a no-contact scanning thermometer – upon entering the building. Anyone with a body temperature exceeding 100.0°F will not be permitted to proceed.

• Every employee, volunteer and docent will be required to wear a face covering inside the Museum. Guests will be encouraged to wear a face covering. Single-use masks will be provided to guests upon request. Cloth Hall of Fame-branded masks will be available for purchase.

• Guests also may request a pair of powder-free, single-use vinyl gloves to wear during their visit.

• Guests will receive a stylus for use on Museum exhibit touch screens or other contact points, such as elevator buttons.

• Seating in the “A Game for Life” holographic theater and in the Super Bowl Theater will be reduced to allow appropriate spacing of guests.

• A few “hands-on” exhibits could remain closed or off-line at this time.

• The Museum’s café will remain closed.

• High-contact surfaces, such as railings, counters, doorknobs and elevator buttons, will be disinfected throughout each day.

• Stations with hand sanitizer have been placed throughout the Museum.

“Since its grand opening in September 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame had never been closed more than two days in a row,” Baker said. “So after nearly three months, you can imagine our excitement at being able to open our doors again to fans of this great game.

“We welcome them back and join them in honoring the heroes of the game, preserving its history, promoting its values and celebrating excellence everywhere.”

With its reopening June 10, the Hall will operate under its summer hours: from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Updates to the Hall’s reopening plan will be posted at www.ProFootballHOF.com.

UPDATE: Additional Reopening Dates, Order Signed, Ohio National Guard 

UPDATE: Additional Reopening Dates, Order Signed, Ohio National Guard 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates. 

ADDITIONAL REOPENINGS: 

Governor DeWine announced today that the following sectors are permitted to reopen on June 19, 2020:

  • Casinos
  • Racinos
  • Amusement parks
  • Water parks

Governor DeWine also authorized the Memorial Golf Tournament to be held from July 13th to 19th. 

"In all of these cases, these sectors have come up with plans that reduce the number of people, provide for sanitation, and in some cases, provide for one-way traffic," said Governor DeWine. "They are elaborate plans that we believe are consistent with protecting the public."

ASSISTED LIVING VISITATION ORDER: 

Dr. Acton has signed the Third Amended Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities, with Exceptions. 

This order allows properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities to begin to allow outdoor visitation on June 8. The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes. 

OHIO NATIONAL GUARD: 

Governor DeWine announced today that he has directed Adjutant General John C. Harris Jr. to work with Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath to set up enhanced procedures to ensure that members of the Ohio National Guard do not have ties to hate groups.

The announcement comes after a member of the Ohio National Guard was removed from a mission in Washington, D.C., after the FBI uncovered information that the individual expressed white supremacist ideology on the internet prior to the assignment.

"While I fully support everyone's right to free speech, the men and women of our National Guard are sworn to protect all of us, regardless of race, ethnic background, or religion," said Governor DeWine. "Our Ohio National Guard members are in a position of trust and authority during times of crisis, and anyone who displays malice toward specific groups of Americans has no place serving."

The Ohio National Guard and Ohio Department of Public Safety are fully cooperating with the FBI investigation. The Guardsman has been suspended from all missions at this time, and following due process, it is highly likely that he will be permanently removed from the Ohio National Guard.  

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 37,758 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,355 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 6,385 people have been hospitalized, including 1,632 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Governor Announces Orders To Reopen Certain Facilities

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced the reopening of certain facilities including certain entertainment facilities with health and safety restrictions.

“As I’ve said, Ohioans are able to do two things at once. We can continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 while we safely reopen our economy. It is up to each of us to do what we can to keep each other safe and choose to keep six feet of social distance, wear masks, and maintain good hand hygiene.” said Governor DeWine. “The threat of COVID-19 remains and while it’s our responsibility to keep each other safe, business owners and employees should do their part to ensure customers visit safely, by cleaning and sanitizing surfaces regularly.”

Day camps and residential camps may open at any time.  Entertainment venues listed below may open beginning June 10th if they are able to follow Retail, Consumer, Service & Entertainment Guidelines and other applicable additional guidance:

  • Aquariums
  • Art galleries
  • Country clubs
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Indoor family entertainment centers
  • Indoor sports facilities
  • Laser tag facilities
  • Movie theaters (indoor)
  • Museums
  • Playgrounds (outdoor)
  • Public recreation centers
  • Roller skating rinks
  • Social clubs
  • Trampoline parks
  • Zoos

Health orders will be posted on coronavirus.ohio.gov when available. 

Additional information and sector specific operating requirements can be found on the Responsible RestartOhio page coronavirus.ohio.gov/ResponsibleRestartOhio.

From Kindergarten to College, Back to School Preparations Need to Start Now

School Nurses encourage parents to prioritize immunizations and well-checks

(STATEWIDE) June 1, 2020 – The Ohio Association of School Nurses (OASN) is urging families to make arrangements now to have their children’s routine well-check appointments and vaccinations updated in preparation for the start of a new school year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, routine childhood vaccinations have plunged. This can create a drop in herd immunity and potential for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. 

“While officials determine what the  next school year will look like due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families must make sure children have had their routine well-checks and vaccinations” said Kelly Wagner, M.Ed, BSN, RN, NCSN, President of the Ohio Association of School Nurses. “Rather than waiting until school begins again to try to make an appointment with your healthcare provider, we encourage you to schedule these critically important visits now.”  

OASN warns families that waiting until classes start could make it difficult to make an appointment with their child’s pediatrician or primary care provider. Families should call their healthcare providers to inquire about how they are accommodating well visits, sports physicals, and vaccinations.

The State of Ohio requires certain vaccinations before entering the school year:

  • Children entering kindergarten must be vaccinated for polio, chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B, and diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis.
  • Students entering the 7th grade in Ohio are required to have an age appropriate dose of meningococcal vaccine and a booster shot of the Tdap vaccination (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis).
  • Ohio 12th graders are also required to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. 

College students should get a flu shot and be vaccinated against Meningitis Type B, in addition to the Meningitis vaccine for strains ACWY. While the MenB vaccine may not be required by your child’s college or university, it is a serious disease that most often occurs on college campuses and each case is life threatening.

Below is a list of general topics for consideration:

  • Why are routine childhood vaccination rates dropping because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Why immunize and what diseases do they prevent?
  • What are the risks with not vaccinating?
  • Why should college students be vaccinated against MenB?

UPDATE: Disparity, K-12 Reopening, Medical Procedures, Funding Opportunities for Businesses

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates. 

OHIO DISPARITY: 

Governor DeWine announced today that he is intensifying efforts in Ohio to improve issues of health and economic disparities, racism, and inequity. 

"I am seeking dialogue to solve these problems and seeking strategies for the implementation of reforms," said Governor DeWine. "Whether it is in the urban core or the hills of Appalachia, we have Ohioans who are not living up to their God-given potential because they simply do not have the same opportunities. That is wrong, and we have a moral obligation to change that.

"Race is indisputably a factor in all kinds of health, education, and economic disparities.  The divisions of race have plagued us since our country’s inception. 

"While there are no simple solutions, we must be a positive voice in advancing change for all of those who are marginalized and in creating equity in health, education, and economic opportunity."

The efforts will include new plans to improve law enforcement access to quality training, enhancing transparency between the police and the public, recruiting more minorities to serve as peace officers, and adding more oversight to Ohio's law enforcement agencies to ensure accountability.

Other continuing work will include addressing lead paint poisoning in children, reducing infant and maternal mortality in the African American community, increasing home visiting programs for at-risk, first-time moms, fighting the drug epidemic in Ohio, and prioritizing the availability of mental health services in Ohio's schools for children who need them.

K-12 REOPENING UPDATE: 

Governor DeWine announced today that, as of right now, Ohio intends to reopen schools in the fall, but individual starting dates will be up to each local school board. 

In the near future, broad reopening guidelines will be issued for schools in regard to protecting the health of students and staff when the school year resumes.

MEDICAL SURGERIES/PROCEDURES:

Governor DeWine announced today that health care providers, including dentists, may resume all surgeries and procedures that had previously been delayed if they meet safety criteria, including: 

  • Maintaining adequate inventories of PPE, supplies, equipment, and medicine
  • Creating a plan for the conservation and monitoring use of PPE, as well as other supplies and equipment that could include decontamination and reuse
  • Maintaining a reliable supply chain to support non-COVID-19 cases and to respond to an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases, if needed
  • Defining processes for timely COVID-19 testing of patients and staff
  • Continuing the use of telehealth whenever possible.

Additional information can be found in the new Ohio Department of Health Director's Order that Amends the Requirements for Non-Essential Surgeries and Procedures. 

OHIO BUSINESS FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: 

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the creation of three programs to help small and medium-sized businesses in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency:

  • Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program
  • Ohio Minority Micro-Enterprise Grant Program
  • Appalachian Region Loan Program

Ohio small businesses can learn more about these and other resources available through the Office of Small Business Relief and Development at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp.

PANDEMIC EBT PROGRAM: 

First Lady Fran DeWine joined Mr. Red of the Cleveland Indians and Slider from the Cincinnati Reds in a special video message for Ohioans related to the Pandemic EBT Program. 

Ohio was approved for the federal P-EBT Program on May 12 in response to Ohio children who missed out on their free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch at school because of COVID-19. Now, children are starting to receive that benefit – representing the meals they missed – in the form of a credit to spend at local grocery stores and other retailers. Because Ohio schools physically closed for more than 50 days, the benefit amounts to approximately $300 per child.

For most of the 507,000 Ohio children who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the P-EBT benefit was loaded onto their card recently. For 343,000 Ohio children who do not currently receive SNAP benefits, a P-EBT card will be sent in the mail. This benefit is automatic. Families are not required to sign up for this program.

Families can call the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at 866-244-0071 with questions.

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 36,350 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,258 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 6,176 people have been hospitalized, including 1,583 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Testing, Assisted Living Visitation, Premium Deferrals, Fairs

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PHARMACY TESTING:

Governor DeWine announced today that the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has clarified rules that allow pharmacists to order and administer tests for COVID-19. 

"As frontline health care providers, pharmacies are critical in our state’s response to this pandemic," said Governor DeWine. "I have asked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to make sure that Ohio pharmacies have what they need to test for COVID-19."

To help Ohioans find testing locations, a map has been added to coronavirus.ohio.gov that lists COVID-19 testing centers in Ohio. The map includes links to community health centers and pharmacy sites to assist citizens in finding information about how to get a test referral or schedule an appointment.

UPDATED PRIORITY TESTING: 

Ohio has utilized COVID-19 testing priorities to manage limited testing capacity.  Under the guidance of clinical experts, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has modified these groups in light of changes in testing availability and evolving knowledge of COVID-19 and its impact on Ohioans.

Testing must be first available to individuals described in Priority Groups 1, 2 and 3, but Ohio is expanding to allow partners and communities to test Ohioans in Priority Group 4 which includes testing “Individuals in the community to decrease community spread, including individuals with symptoms who do not meet any of the above categories.”

"Expanded test availability will allow individuals in lower-risk tiers to be tested and to help further contain and respond to COVID-19 in Ohio," said Governor DeWine. 

ASSISTED LIVING VISITATION: 

Governor DeWine announced a plan to lift restrictions on visitation at assisted living homes in Ohio. 

Beginning on June 8, 2020, properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation.

The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes. 

"We will continue to examine, monitor, and adjust as we carefully and thoughtfully lift restrictions on visitation," said Governor DeWine. "The well-being of our residents has been, and remains, central to our decision-making." 

The decision to move forward with outdoor visitation for assisting living facilities and intermediate care facilities was made while considering requests from families and residents and considering the impact on the quality of life a prolonged loss of connection can have on an individual. Advocates and providers in the aging and development disabilities communities were also consulted, and guidelines for visitation were jointly developed by the Academy for Senior Health Sciences, Leading Age Ohio, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Health Care Association, and the Ohio Medical Director’s Association.

Because each facility is different, each facility can determine how to best implement outdoor visitations, however, at a minimum, all facilities must develop a policy that includes:

  • Screening for temperatures and symptom-reporting for visitors
  • Scheduled hours and time limits for visits
  • Proper social distancing measures
  • Face coverings
  • Resident, family, and friend education about the risks of the spread of COVID-19

Consideration for visitors during end-of-life situations will also be expanded. Providers should notify family members when a resident's substantial change of condition indicates end-of-life is approaching. Providers should not wait until a resident is actively dying to allow visitors.

OHIO BWC DEFERS PREMIUM INSTALLMENTS: 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is deferring Ohio employers' premium installments for the months of June, July, and August. Businesses will have the option to defer the monthly premium payments with no financial penalties. 

“By extending the premium due date, businesses can continue to focus on the safety and well-being of their employees and customers during this health pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. 

This is the second payment deferral BWC has given to employers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The deferral is designed to help employers focus financial resources on re-opening their businesses under the Responsible RestartOhio Plan.

JUNIOR FAIRS/COUNTY FAIRS/INDEPENDENT FAIRS:

Governor DeWine's Fair Advisory Group has released guidelines for how county fair boards and agricultural societies can work with county health departments to safely operate junior fairs for kids.

The guidelines focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of everyone involved in the junior fair activities, and animal care and welfare.

"The decisions about county and independent fairs need to be made locally because each county and independent fair is unique and has different challenges," said Governor DeWine. "Conditions may change over the course of the summer, however, we are asking all fair boards to comply with all of the orders of the Ohio Department of Health and the guidelines for other sectors that would also apply to fairs, such as for food service and rides." 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is in the process of distributing all state funding available for Ohio's 94 county and independent fairs.   

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 33,915 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,098 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,811 people have been hospitalized, including 1,516 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

‘Coronavirus and Veterans’ Global Virtual Forum

– to address solutions for U.S. military veterans amidst the pandemic

As U.S. military veterans experience devastating impacts from coronavirus, preeminent veteran affairs authority to host a global Virtual Town Hall forum on June 3 addressing the unique issues of today’s veterans;

Live online event to feature Congressional leaders, heads of marquee veteran’s organizations, leading military figures and other expert panelists to address current and emerging COVID-19 impacts and challenges, misconceptions and problem/solution resolutions specific to the veteran community

As the world battles COVID-19, military veterans across the United States and beyond are disproportionately suffering devastating impacts from this pandemic. Not only are they dying from the coronavirus at a higher rate, but even those thwarting the viral infection are otherwise bearing a heavy emotional and economic burden amid social distancing. This as companies—both small and large—are relegated to furloughing and laying off employees ... or shutting down all together.

For some perspective on the breadth of this problem, a recently released report by the Bob Woodruff Foundation reveals that more than 500,000 veterans live in the 15 cities that are most likely to be affected by pandemic-driven difficulties. As worrisome, the report also emphasized that COVID-19 is creating a “perfect storm” of emergent trauma and loneliness due to social isolation and unplanned wage or job loss that could threaten the mental health of many veterans—a group of men and women who have selflessly served and protected our great nation.

Validating these concerns, the sobering statistics continue to stack up on all fronts. In fact, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report cites that veteran unemployment is up to nearly 12 percent, with more than 1,000,000 veterans reporting being jobless this past April, alone. There is also escalating discourse regarding COVID-19-driven PTSD and other mental health issues within this community, underscoring that it is exacerbating anxiety and suicidal ideation among a litany of other specialized impacts that veterans are uniquely experiencing. This includes, but is not limited to, a higher risk of contracting the virus due to age and “toxic exposure” (and greater mortality vulnerabilities in relation), reduced access and barriers to healthcare and suitable treatment options, housing crises and funding problems for community-based veteran organizations serving as critical front-line touchpoints.

As part of an on-going commitment to support America’s veterans, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and Veterans Law Attorney John Berry, Jr., CEO of Berry Law Firm, will host a comprehensive “Coronavirus and Veterans” virtual forum designed to tackle current challenges and address misconceptions. This virtual town hall discussion and education forum will include a cross section of leading individuals who serve the veteran community as well as other panelists to who will shed light on the impact the virus is having on veterans, specifically, across an array of categories. This includes efforts already underway in addition to what we as a society can do moving forward to uphold this group of individuals who have already sacrificed so much for the greater good. 

Participants of the virtual forum will include Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar; Assal Ravandi, CEO of The Academy of United States Veterans the Chair of The VETTYS Awards; Air Force Colonel Dr. Mickra Hamilton (and one of the organization’s Human Potential Subject Experts); retired Navy Seal Chriss Smith; and a representative of The Bob Woodruff Foundation. As host of the event, Berry’s law firm boasts one of the largest clientele of veteran clients in the United States and has been featured on the Inc. 5000 list this past three consecutive years. Other expert event panelists will address current and emerging COVID-19 impacts, challenges, misconceptions and problem/solution resolutions specific to the veteran community.

This virtual forum will be live streamed at 1:00 p.m. ET on June 3, and those interested in joining can register online for free at www.COVID19andVeterans.com. With nearly a dozen military organizations and other partners already scheduled to participate—and considering the easy accessibility of the forum around the world via America’s vast network of military organizations, other online platforms and through social media—an audience of over 200,000 viewers is anticipated.

“As a military veteran myself and hailing from a family that’s duly served, this issue is very personal to me and is what drives my legal work on behalf of veterans every day,” Berry said. “My father, John Stevens Berry, Sr. served in Vietnam and, during my own time in the U.S. Army, I led troops in the U.S., Bosnia and Iraq. Our law firm, started by my father, has worked with thousands of veterans in all 50 states, listening to their stories and helping them successfully navigate through the legal system when issues arise.”

 

In recognition of Berry Law Firm’s service to the veteran community nationwide, in 2019 it received the Department of Labor Platinum Medallion Award for their demonstrated commitment to hiring veterans. Most recently, Berry sponsored a report for members of Congress outlining 12 specific areas of concern among the veteran community. This report underscored the importance of the COVID-19 stimulus bill set to allocate $19.6 billion in additional funding to support the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to mitigate adverse impacts of the pandemic.

“As a veteran, I’m passionate about helping veterans better navigate health, financial and lifestyle obstacles that COVID-19 has presented,” Berry noted. “I want to do all I can to ensure the veteran community has vital, relevant, fact-based and useful information and this virtual event is a power means toward that end.”

Additional information on event host John Berry is available at www.JohnBerryLeads.com.

HHS will distribute $314 million to Ohio nursing facilities impacted by COVID-19

CINCINNATI, OH, May 22 —Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will distribute more than $314 million to Ohio skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to help them combat the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to HHS, they will make relief fund distributions to SNFs based on both a fixed basis and variable basis. Each SNF will receive a fixed distribution of $50,000, plus a distribution of $2,500 per bed. All certified SNFs with six or more certified beds are eligible for this targeted distribution.

Nursing home recipients must attest that they will only use Provider Relief Fund payments for permissible purposes and agree to comply with future government audit and reporting requirements.

Some of this funding comes from the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Portman supported and was signed into law by President Trump. Portman released the following statement: 

“This relief funding is good news for nursing facilities across Ohio that are struggling to keep up with growing expenses during this ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” said Portman. “As we’ve seen, nursing homes are on the frontlines of care in this pandemic, with nearly 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio attributed to nursing homes that must care for our most vulnerable in high-risk, congregate setting. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure Ohioans have the resources they need during these uncertain times.”

COVID-19 Update:  Congregate Care Unified Response Teams

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NEW CONGREGATE CARE UNIFIED RESPONSE TEAMS:

Governor DeWine announced today the formation of new Congregate Care Unified Response Teams to test residents and staff members in Ohio's nursing homes.

"Nursing facilities have been aggressive regarding testing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks on their own, but this effort will provide them with additional resources," said Governor DeWine. "As we continue to ramp up our testing in Ohio, we must deploy our resources in a way that will save the most lives."

Beginning this week, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams, which will include medically-trained members of the Ohio National Guard, will begin testing residents and staff within nursing homes on two parallel paths: 

  • All staff in all Ohio nursing facilities will be tested to help nursing home administrators gauge the status of the virus in their facilities and help isolate the virus to stop it from infecting their community.
  • Testing will be conducted in facilities where residents or workers have confirmed or assumed positive cases. Testing will be conducted on all staff, and the testing of residents will be based on a clinically-driven strategy that targets those who have likely been exposed to COVID-19. By testing residents based on their potential interaction with a confirmed COVID-19 case, the nursing facility will be better equipped to isolate the virus and contain spread within the facility.

In addition, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams will begin the testing of all residents and staff members in the state’s eight developmental centers to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 in congregate care settings.  

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 33,006 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,002 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,579 people have been hospitalized, including 1,450 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Update: Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIOANS PROTECTING OHIOANS URGENT HEALTH ADVISORY:

Governor DeWine today released details of the new "Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory" which replaces the Stay Safe Ohio order that was issued by the Ohio Department of Health on April 30, 2020.  

"Ohioans take care of Ohioans because that is at the core of who we are, and that is how we are going to save our economy," said Governor DeWine. "What this comes down to now is that each of us has a responsibility to each other to slow the spread.  No other time in our lives will our individual actions play a greater role in saving lives." 

The health order replaces language requiring Ohioans to stay at home with limited exceptions with language that strongly recommends that citizens, especially those who are high-risk, stay at home as much as possible. The order does not change the mass gathering restrictions, which remain at a 10-person limit.

The new health advisory also lifts overall travel restrictions and the requirement to quarantine if someone travels to or returns to Ohio. Unnecessary travel within or outside of Ohio is not encouraged. 

In addition, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not recovered, those who are presumptively diagnosed with COVID-19, and those who are exhibiting the symptoms identified in the screening guidance available from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health, remain prohibited from entering the state of Ohio unless they are doing so under medical orders for purposes of medical care, are being transported by emergency medical services EMS, are driving or being driven directly to a medical provider for the purposes of initial care, or are a permanent resident of Ohio.

OHIO BWC TO PROVIDE FACE COVERINGS TO EMPLOYERS: 

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) will begin distributing at least 2 million non-medical-grade face coverings to Ohio employers who are covered by BWC. 

Public and private employers that participate in the State Insurance Fund will receive a package from BWC containing at least 50 face coverings. These packages will be shipped in batches beginning tomorrow.

The masks, which are intended to support and enhance any workforce safety and health efforts businesses already have in place, are funded through BWC’s existing budget and will not impact any premiums.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 28,952 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,720 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,117 people have been hospitalized, including 1,357 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

COVID-19 Will Change Job Recruiting; Here’s How Companies Need To Adapt

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the business world and put tens of millions out of work in the U.S. At the same time, it’s caused a seismic shift in the way many companies operate, the biggest change being that more business functions are done while working remotely.

But along with the work-from-home aspect, the fallout from the coronavirus will fundamentally change recruiting and hiring practices long after the pandemic has passed, says Jack Whatley (www.humancodeofhiring.com), a recruiting strategist who specializes in creating employer branding campaigns.

“Social distancing, shelter-in-place orders and the forced closing of businesses will change the way we look at employment,” Whatley says. “No longer will the promises of changing the world attract the modern workforce. Safety and job stability are at the top of the mind for the modern job seeker – and that changed what they want in a job.

“Businesses will have to become employee-centric as well as customer-centric. The companies that have the ability to capture that part of the employee message, put it into their employer branding, and reinforce it throughout recruitment marketing campaigns are going to be the companies moving ahead in a much different world.”

As states begin different stages of reopening for business, Whatley breaks down what companies should do when recruiting, hiring, and re-hiring:

Create a communication campaign. “If you’re a company that laid off employees with the hope of bringing them back, you have to reach out with genuine communication that goes the extra mile,” Whatley says. “It should let them know in detail what steps the company is taking. Those people who were let go unexpectedly and lived paycheck to paycheck, they’ll be emotionally drained and stressed. A company bringing them back needs to make them feel valued so the company doesn’t lose that relationship.”

Be careful in rehiring. Rehires won’t be a straightforward process for some companies. Circumstances won’t allow them to rehire or bring back from furlough all of their former employees. “Employers must be cautious in determining who to bring back to the workplace; they need to mitigate the risk of potential discrimination claims, which could be based on the decision not to bring back certain employees,” Whatley says. “Employers will need to have a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for choosing which employees to rehire. Those reasons include seniority, operational needs or documented past performance issues. Employers should document their decision-making process now, before deciding who will be invited back.”

Focus on expanded employee rights. Whatley thinks a new appreciation for workers may be emerging as state and local governments mandate paid sick leave and family leave during the outbreak. Some companies are shifting their focus to hourly workers as well for those perks. “This change could become permanent,” Whatley says, “as organizations work hard to hire new staff and increase retention rates.”

Streamline the process. “If the recruiting process gets backlogged,” Whatley says, “it causes problems for your current employees and an under-staffed  company. It becomes frustrating for them, because they’re forced to work overtime, and the big workload kills morale and increases turnover.”

“Most companies look at hiring people as a transaction – they need to fill a seat,” Whatley says. “They place a job posting and fill the job. In the new world, that will no longer be the case. To get the best talent, companies will have to engage people sooner, more thoughtfully, and put a higher priority on what employees value most in a job.”

About Jack Whatley

Jack Whatley (www.humancodeofhiring.com) is a recruiting strategist who specializes in creating employer branding campaigns that position companies as the employer of choice in their market. He is the author of the upcoming book Human Code of Hiring: DNA of Recruitment Marketing. Whatley is known for creating successful recruiting and employer branding campaigns and delivering highly-qualified applicants. His Driver DNA Hiring System has made Whatley the No. 1 people ops recruiting strategist for truck driving recruitment in the world. Together with his partner, daughter and innovation wizard Anika Whatley, they have expanded into other industries and have been working to perfect the Human Code DNA Hiring System, which uses the latest technology to improve the quality of worker life and enhance recruiter productivity.

 

Blood donors needed to keep supply strong amid COVID-19 outbreak

(May 13, 2020) — In times of need, people come together to support one another. The American Red Cross is asking for healthy individuals to step up to help patients experiencing health crises by donating blood or platelets. 

As COVID-19 continues to affect everyday life, people may not be thinking about blood donation. But blood and platelets are needed daily to help patients battling disease and facing the unexpected. Donating blood is an easy way to care for each other and ensure hospitals have the blood products patients rely on.

As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, all who come to give blood or platelets May 15-31 will receive a special Red Cross “We’re all in this together” T-shirt, by mail, while supplies last. Donors must have a valid email address on file to claim their T-shirt.

How to help

Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate this May by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.  

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to safeguard donors, volunteers and employees.

The Red Cross is also looking for blood drive hosts to help ensure a stable blood supply. Learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

How COVID-19 May Change A Trip To The Dentist’s Office

As the coronavirus pandemic swept the U.S., state governments mandated that dental offices open only for emergency procedures. But in the coming weeks, some dental practices may resume regular appointments in individual states where businesses considered “essential” are allowed to re-open.

When dentists do re-open for full business, the patient experience may seem the same in some ways, but in other ways the offices will reflect a “new normal,” says Dr. Kyle Bogan (www.drkylebogan.com), a general dentist and speaker on workplace culture.

“Dentists are accustomed to following stringent infection control precautions under normal circumstances to lower the risk of transmission of infectious diseases,” Bogan says. “These precautions help keep both patients and dentists safe because it assumes all patients may have an infection, despite the reality that most won’t.

“But now I expect patients will be given temperature checks before an appointment and be asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding coronavirus symptoms. All hygiene and safety standards will be enhanced, and the look of a typical dental office will be different.”

Bogan says those aren’t the only ways a dental visit may be different as a result of COVID-19. Others include:

• More safeguards against blood and saliva. When dentists work on your teeth, they can produce aerosols – droplets or sprays of saliva or blood – in the air. This happens routinely when the dentist uses a drill or when the teeth are scaled or polished. With  the coronavirus pandemic, there is an increased risk that the blood or saliva may carry the virus and either directly infect the dental staff, or land on surfaces that the staff or the next patient can touch, Bogan says. “Equipment that reduces patient spray will come into play for patient and employee safety,” he says. “You’ll see preprocedural rinses with a hydrogen peroxide solution, which is effective at killing the virus and reducing viral load in the mouth. There will be more use of rubber dams, a shield that fits over top of the tooth and minimizes aerosols in the area. The high-volume suction used to suction up spray will be used at a higher level. And some dentists may be wearing face shields.”

• An empty “waiting” room. Seeing several people in the waiting room reading magazines may be a thing of the past. “You shouldn’t go into an office until it’s your time to go in,” Bogan says. “There will be limited, if any, occupancy in waiting rooms, Offices will schedule more time between appointments, both to maintain safe space between patients and to have sufficient time to clean up between patients. Parents or other people accompanying patients likely will have to wait outside the office.

• Alternating office hours. “Offices may reduce schedules so fewer patients are there at once, reducing the chance for contact,” Bogan says. “Another option is longer hours on certain nights, in part to accommodate patients who couldn’t be seen during the shutdown – those who had to postpone non-essential appointments such as checkups, cleanings, and orthodontic adjustments.”

“Along with having trust in your dentist’s ability to care for your needs, more than ever a patient has to trust in the cleanliness and safety of the dental environment,” Bogan says. “That’s what will help set an office apart, and anything less will result in a patient migration.”

About Kyle D. Bogan, DDS

Dr. Kyle Bogan (www.drkylebogan.com) is a general dentist and a speaker/consultant on workplace culture. He is the owner of North Orange Family Dentistry. Bogan earned a Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry and a Fellowship in the International College of Dentists. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, the International Dental Implant Association and the American Academy of General Dentistry. Bogan earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from The Ohio State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and played sousaphone in the marching band.

COVID-19 Update: Safety Checks, Twin Valley Update, Veterans Home Update

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BAR/RESTAURANT SAFETY CHECKS: 

Governor DeWine announced today that he is assembling an enforcement team to ensure that bars and restaurants are operating safely under the Responsible RestartOhio plan. 

Bars and restaurants reopened to patrons for outdoor dining on Friday. Dine-in service is scheduled to resume on May 21. 

"We know that many Ohio bars and restaurants are working very hard to comply with the safety guidelines, and I want to commend them for doing that," said Governor DeWine. "We did, however, receive several very troubling reports this weekend of bars and restaurants that were not complying with proper social distancing guidelines. We cannot allow the few bad actors to threaten the potential closure of other restaurants and bars." 

The enforcement team will operate as part of the Ohio Department of Safety's Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) and will conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants.  Businesses found violating the Stay Safe Ohio order will receive administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses. The OIU team will also work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against business owners who do not follow the order, which includes the requirement that patrons remain seated while eating/drinking and that parties stay six feet apart.

TWIN VALLEY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HOSPITAL UPDATE:

Three patients at Twin Valley Behavioral Health Hospital in Columbus have tested positive for COVID-19. In response, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is working with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to test all patients in the 25-person unit. 

Patients in the unit are currently quarantined, and those who test positive are being isolated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, all patients in the hospital are screened multiple times a day and staff members are screened at the beginning of their shifts.

All impacted staff have been notified, are actively being monitored for symptoms, and are urged to be tested. Staff working in this unit are now using full PPE, including masks, gowns, gloves, shoe covers, and face shields.

The hospital has stopped taking new civil admissions and is working with Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Boards in impacted counties and local psychiatric hospitals in Franklin County to divert those patients there.

Updates on the status of COVID-19 at the state’s behavioral health hospitals are available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

OHIO VETERANS HOMES UPDATE: 

Governor DeWine announced today that he ordered mass testing to take place at Ohio's two state nursing home facilities for veterans. 

The Ohio Department of Veterans Services (OVS) operates nursing homes in Sandusky and Georgetown. Last week, several residents at the Sandusky facility were confirmed positive for COVID-19 which led to the facility-wide testing. 

Nearly everyone in both facilities - more than 700 staff members and 500 nursing home residents - were tested last week and over the weekend. Testing at Sandusky's independent living facility was completed today.

As of today, 24 nursing home residents and three staff members in the Sandusky home have tested positive. An additional staff member tested positive in mid-April. The Georgetown location has had zero positive test results. A total of 508 staff and residents have tested negative and the remaining test results are pending. 

Data on the status of COVID-19 in the OVS nursing homes is updated at approximately 4:00 p.m. each day at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 28,454 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,657 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 4,998 people have been hospitalized, including 1,328 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Week in Review

For the week ending May 15, 2020

Throughout the week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton M.D., MPH, and provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as several new opening dates established as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

On Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (OJFS) has received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture for its Pandemic EBT plan. The Pandemic EBT program was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020.

The approval will allow OJFS to distribute SNAP benefits to 850,000 students across Ohio who relied on free or reduced-price meal programs when school was in session to have access to a hot, nutritious meal.  The benefits will be mailed directly to students, and families do not need to apply to be eligible.  

Families will receive approximately $300 to purchase healthy and nutritious foods to feed their children. These benefits amount to more than $250 million that will go to our grocery stores and other eligible retailers.

Lt. Governor Husted announced that sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, and cosmetic therapy, will be permitted to reopen on Friday, May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures. 

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Personal Services Advisory Group and the Ohio Department of Health can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Friday, May 15, tattoo and body piercing services will also be permitted to reopen on with the implementation of proper safety measures.

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Personal Services Advisory Group can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Additionally, Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy announced a new service that will provide a daily check-in by phone for Ohioans age 60 or older to ensure that older Ohioans stay connected while staying at home.

The Staying Connected program will call older adults who sign up for the service during a predetermined window of time. When participants answer the phone, they will be asked to respond via touch-tone to confirm that they are OK or to access live support. 

If no one answers after three attempts, a call is then made to an alternate contact (if provided) or to non-emergency services.  The service can be canceled at any time.

Eligible Ohioans can sign up at aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-800-266-4346. Staying Connected is not an emergency response service, and participants should always use 911 or their emergency response system if they are injured or in need of emergency assistance.

On Thursday, Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted and Dr. Acton provided the following sector opening dates established as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

Beginning Sunday, May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these providers can meet required safety protocols. 

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Early Childhood Advisory Council can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

To assist in the reopening of child care centers, Ohio will use more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to provide reopening grants to all of Ohio’s childcare providers, including family childcare, childcare centers, and both publicly-funded and private providers. More information on how to apply will be posted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' website soon. 

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio will fund a research project to study best practices for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in childcare settings. Information gathered from the study will continue to inform childcare regulations moving forward. 

The reopening date of May 31 also applies to day camps that can meet required safety protocols. A detailed list of guidelines and best practices for day camps will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Thursday, May 21, campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices for both campgrounds and campers from Governor DeWine's Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) locations in Ohio will be permitted to reopen for certain services if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

Services that can be accomplished online should still be done online. More details on online BMV services can be found at oplates.com

The BMV is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for deputy registrars to follow.  A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Gyms Advisory Group will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, non-contact and limited contact sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols. This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports.

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Large Venue Advisory Groupwill be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Safety protocols for high-contact sports are in development. 

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's  Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

This does not apply to water parks or amusement parks. Safety protocols for these venues are in development. 

Beginning Friday, May 22, horse racing in Ohio will be permitted if these operations can meet required safety protocols. Spectators will not be permitted. 

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine’s administration and the Ohio State Racing Commission will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

This does not apply to casinos and racinos. Safety protocols for these venues are in development. 

Additionally, Governor Mike DeWine announced two appointments to fill judicial vacancies. He appointed John M. Halliday to serve as a judge on the Washington County Court of Common Pleas, General and Domestic Relations Division, and Patrick T. Murphy to serve as a judge on the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas, Probate and Juvenile Division.

Check out this video which highlights many of the safety measures Ohio businesses are taking to keep employees and customers safe.  

As of Friday afternoon, there are 26,954 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,581confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 4,791people have been hospitalized, including 1,277admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH

 

COVID-19 Update: State Budget Impact

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATE BUDGET IMPACT:

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor DeWine today announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30. 

At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenues for the fiscal year were ahead of estimates by over $200 million. As of the end of April, Ohio's revenues were below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million. 

Because Ohio is mandated to balance its budget each year, and in addition to identifying areas of savings, the following budget reductions will be made for the next two months:

• Medicaid:  $210 million

• K12 Foundation Payment Reduction:  $300 million

• Other Education Budget Line Items:  $55 million

• Higher Education:  $110 million

• All Other Agencies:  $100 million

"Decisions like these are extremely difficult, but they are decisions that are part of my responsibility, as your governor, to make," said Governor DeWine. “We believe that instituting these cuts now will provide the most stability moving forward, however I am greatly concerned about the cuts we must make in education. We have an obligation to our schools to give them as much predictability as we can, but if we don’t make these cuts now, future cuts would be more dramatic." 

The budget reductions are in addition to Governor DeWine's March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions.

The new budget reductions will not apply to critical services available to Ohioans or COVID-19 pandemic services. Money to balance the Fiscal Year 2020 budget will not be drawn from Ohio's Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the "rainy-day fund."

"I know that I have said that 'it’s raining,' but we do not want to tap into the rainy-day fund yet," said Governor DeWine. "The 'rain' is not a passing spring shower - it could be a long, cold, lingering storm, and we should not use the fund until it is necessary."

Projections by Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks indicate that the state’s revenues will continue to be below estimates in the coming months as Ohio moves through the COVID-19 crisis. Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Director Murnieks will continue to work with the Ohio General Assembly to identify ways to continue supporting Ohio’s economy through the COVID-19 crisis.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 20,969 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,135 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,956 people have been hospitalized, including 1,123 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH

COVID-19 Update: New Responsible RestartOhio Opening Dates

COVID-19 Update: New Responsible RestartOhio Opening Dates

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following sector opening dates established as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan. 

CHILD CARE: MAY 31

Beginning Sunday, May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these providers can meet required safety protocols. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Early Childhood Advisory Council created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for childcare centers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

"Our goal is to have the safest child care system in the nation - one that nurtures the health and continued growth and development of our children and one that protects the health and safety of our child care workers and teachers," said Governor DeWine. "Moving forward, child care is going to look different for children, parents, and teachers. But we must get this right, or we run the risk of exposing more people to COVID-19."

To assist in the reopening of child care centers, Ohio will use more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to provide reopening grants to all of Ohio’s childcare providers, including family childcare, childcare centers, and both publicly-funded and private providers. More information on how to apply will be posted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' website soon. 

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio will fund a research project to study best practices for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in child care settings. Information gathered from the study will continue to inform child care regulations moving forward. 

The reopening date of May 31 also applies to day camps that can meet required safety protocols. A detailed list of guidelines and best practices for day camps will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

CAMPGROUNDS: MAY 21

Beginning Thursday, May 21, campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

To ensure that campgrounds operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for day camps to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices for both campgrounds and campers is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

OHIO BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES (CERTAIN SERVICES): MAY 26 

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) locations in Ohio will be permitted to reopen for certain services if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

Services that can be accomplished online should still be done online. More details on online BMV services can be found at oplates.com

To ensure that each deputy registrar location operates in the safest manner possible, the BMV is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for deputy registrars to follow. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

GYMS, FITNESS CENTERS: MAY 26

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Gyms Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for gyms and fitness centers to follow. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

SPORTS LEAGUES (NON-CONTACT, LIMITED CONTACT): MAY 26

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols. This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports.

To ensure that non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Large Venue Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for sports leagues to follow. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Safety protocols for high-contact sports are in development. 

PUBLIC/CLUB POOLS: MAY 26

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.

To ensure that these pools operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for these facilities to follow. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

This does not apply to water parks or amusement parks. Safety protocols for these venues are in development. 

HORSE RACING (NO SPECTATORS): MAY 22 

Beginning Friday, May 22, horse racing in Ohio will be permitted if these operations can meet required safety protocols. Spectators will not be permitted. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's administration worked with the Ohio State Racing Commission to create a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for agricultural horse racing operations to follow. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

This does not apply to casinos and racinos. Safety protocols for these venues are in development. 

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 26,357 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,534 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 4,718 people have been hospitalized, including 1,268 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

USDA Approves Program to Feed Kids in Ohio

(Washington, D.C., May 12, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced Ohio has been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed by President Trump, which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.

Background:

Ohio will be able to operate Pandemic EBT, a supplemental food purchasing benefit to current SNAP participants and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households to offset the cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school. For the 2019-2020 school year, Ohio has approximately 850,000 children eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch, or about 47% of children in participating schools. Previous announcements of approvals for Pandemic EBT include: Michigan, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Arizona, Illinois, Alabama, Wisconsin, California, Connecticut, Kansas, Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico, Delaware, Oregon, Maine, North Dakota, West Virginia, Vermont New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Jersey.

Under FFCRA, States have the option to submit a plan to the Secretary of Agriculture for providing these benefits to SNAP and non-SNAP households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. State agencies may operate Pandemic EBT when a school is closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session.

The implementation of Pandemic EBT is in line with USDA’s commitment to keep Americans safe, secure, and healthy during this national emergency and to keep kids fed when schools are closed. USDA is working with states and local authorities to ensure schools and other program operators can continue to feed children. This latest action complements previously-announced flexibilities for the Child Nutrition programs that:

  • Allow parents and guardians to pick up meals to bring home to their kids;
  • Temporarily waive meal times requirements to make it easier to pick up multiple-days’ worth of meals at once;
  • Allow meals be served in non-congregate settings to support social distancing;
  • Waive the requirement that afterschool meals and snacks served through certain programs be accompanied by educational activities to minimize exposure to the novel coronavirus; and
  • Allow states, on an individual state-by-state basis, to serve free meals to children in all areas, rather than only those in areas where at least half of students receive free or reduced-price meals.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of actions that USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has taken to uphold the USDA’s commitment to “Do Right and Feed Everyone” during this national emergency. Other actions include:

  • Launching a new coronavirus webpage to proactively inform the public about USDA’s efforts to keep children and families fed;
  • Providing more than five million meals a week through public-private partnership Meals to You;
  • Increasing access to online purchasing by expanding the online purchasing pilot to more than half of all SNAP households;
  • Debuting “Meals for Kids” interactive site finder – to help families find meals for children while schools are closed across more than 38,000 locations;
  • Allowing states to issue emergency supplemental SNAP benefits totaling more than $2 billion per month to increase recipients’ purchasing power;
  • Collecting solutions to feeding children impacted through [email protected]; and
  • Providing more than 1,500 administrative flexibilities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to allow for social distancing.

These actions and more are part of USDA’s focus on service during the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more about FNS’s response to COVID-19, visit www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat.

Louisville Business update

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Herald is listing updated Louisville area business office hours and service adjustments while under restrictions from the Covid-19 virus situation. If you would like your Louisville area business to be featured in this listing, email information on hours and services adjustments due to coronavirus-19, to [email protected] Restrict listings to no more than 250 words.

Pioneer Physicians Louisville Medical Center

Pioneer Physicians Louisville Medical Center remains open with our full schedule.  We see patients in person and by Televisit from 8:30 AM to 5 PM on

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday our schedule is 8:30 to 12 PM. All sick patients are asked to park in designated spots. They are roomed via a separate entrance so that they are not in contact with well patients. Well patient visits are scheduled in the morning and early afternoon to separate them from anyone who may be ill.

We can be contacted by phone at 330-875-3366. All established patients are given HIPPA compliant access to the patient portal. On the portal they may send secure messages to the doctors, view lab results and check on upcoming appointments. Our practice has an app for the cell phones called Healow which makes communication even easier. Televisits can be done through that app or on a computer. 

We can be contacted by phone at 330-875-3366. All established patients are given HIPPA compliant access to the patient portal. On the portal they may send secure messages to the doctors, view lab results and check on upcoming appointments. Our practice has an app for the cell phones called Healow which makes communication even easier. Televisits can be done through that app or on a computer. 

Bixler Moore

The Attorneys at Bixler Moore are here to serve you during these uncertain times…

The Attorneys at Bixler Moore are open and available to serve you with your Wills, Trust, Real Estate and Nursing Home Planning needs. We are open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday- Friday.

We can accommodate clients who do not wish to leave their homes by having an initial consultation by phone or by web conference.

For clients who do not mind leaving their homes, we have installed plexiglass in our conference room as well as our receptionist area to ensure our clients safety.

We ask that clients wear masks, and do not come in if they have any symptoms related to Covid-19.

Please call before entering the building so that we can make sure the lobby is clear of other clients.

-You can call or go to our website to request a no-cost consultation.

- Phone: 330-875-8508. Website: www.bixlermoore.com   Address - 318 E Main St., Louisville, OH 44641.

Louisville Vision Center

We will be back in the office the week of May 18 and seeing patients for appointments. Hours will be the same. We will be asking the patients to wear a mask and come alone for their appts. We can be reached at 330-875-2300 and are located at 503 E. Main St., Louisville.

Yost distributes nearly $1 Million in funding to 48 domestic violence shelters across Ohio

(COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 6) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced his office distributed nearly $1 million in funding to domestic violence shelters and coalitions across the state to assist battered men, women and children in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we have been asked to stay at home, sometimes home isn’t the safest place,” Yost said. “Thanks to the General Assembly, this money will be used to keep life-saving services available to those who need to escape dangerous environments.”

The $950,000 in domestic violence grants and statewide training grants has been awarded evenly amongst 48 shelters across the state with an earmarked 10% ($95,000) going to the statewide domestic violence coalition. The Ohio Domestic Violence Network, a federally-recognized coalition for domestic violence programs in the state, received the training grant so that they can help ensure recipients of the funding abide by federal and state standards for providing trauma-informed services for survivors.

“For the first time ever, Ohio’s domestic violence programs have a stable source of funding from the state’s general fund,” said Mary O’Doherty, executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network. “We greatly appreciate the leadership of Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) who led the effort to make this happen. We also want to thank the Attorney General’s Office for supporting our work and being willing to administer these funds, and, most important of all, the General Assembly for including the line item in Ohio’s budget.”

Funds disbursed will be used to further the recipients’ mission of providing services, including prevention services, to survivors and co-survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking.

The 48 domestic violence shelters who received funding included the Alliance Area Domestic Violence (Stark).

The Ohio Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Section works with partners to award this grant funding.

COVID-19 Update: State Budget Impact

(COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 7)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATE BUDGET IMPACT:

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor DeWine today announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30. 

At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenues for the fiscal year were ahead of estimates by over $200 million. As of the end of April, Ohio's revenues were below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million. 

Because Ohio is mandated to balance its budget each year, and in addition to identifying areas of savings, the following budget reductions will be made for the next two months:

• Medicaid: $210 million

• K12 Foundation Payment Reduction: $300 million

• Other Education Budget Line Items: $55 million

• Higher Education: $110 million

• All Other Agencies: $100 million

"Decisions like these are extremely difficult, but they are decisions that are part of my responsibility, as your governor, to make," said Governor DeWine. “We believe that instituting these cuts now will provide the most stability moving forward, however I am greatly concerned about the cuts we must make in education. We have an obligation to our schools to give them as much predictability as we can, but if we don’t make these cuts now, future cuts would be more dramatic." 

The budget reductions are in addition to Governor DeWine's March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions.

The new budget reductions will not apply to critical services available to Ohioans or COVID-19 pandemic services. Money to balance the Fiscal Year 2020 budget will not be drawn from Ohio's Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the "rainy-day fund."

"I know that I have said that 'it’s raining,' but we do not want to tap into the rainy-day fund yet," said Governor DeWine. "The 'rain' is not a passing spring shower - it could be a long, cold, lingering storm, and we should not use the fund until it is necessary."

Projections by Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks indicate that the state’s revenues will continue to be below estimates in the coming months as Ohio moves through the COVID-19 crisis. Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Director Murnieks will continue to work with the Ohio General Assembly to identify ways to continue supporting Ohio’s economy through the COVID-19 crisis.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 20,969 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,135 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,956 people have been hospitalized, including 1,123 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

As Ohio retail opens, shopping small more important than ever

NFIB–

COLUMBUS, May 11, 2020 – On May 12, small retailers across Ohio are permitted to reopen. These operations make up a significant portion of the nearly one million small businesses in the state. As they reopen, these businesses must meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees as set by the Ohio Department of Health, and they are prepared to do so.

 “As the retail sector reopens fully in Ohio, they are dedicated to putting people back to work responsibly, realizing they need to do so in a safe manner. These small business owners understand for their relaunch to be a success, they need to follow the five protocols laid out by the Ohio Department of Health. Their first and foremost responsibility remains the safety of their employees and customers, as without either of those it is impossible to operate,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

Small business continues to be the economic engine of Ohio’s economy, creating nearly two out of every three new jobs. The U.S. Small Business Administration figures show nearly one million small businesses in Ohio account for about 99.6 percent of all employers in the state employing almost half of the entire state’s workforce. Employees of small businesses are like an extended part of the owner’s family. Small business owners know the names of their employees and the members of their employees’ families.

For every $100 spent by consumers at locally owned businesses, $68 stays in the local economy, compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain. Their employees live in the local community, and entrepreneurs give back to those same communities, sponsoring the little league teams, events, and charities. They are the heart and soul of their neighborhoods.

“Everyone is familiar with Small Business Saturday which takes place just after Thanksgiving. We need to carry the strong support of our local entrepreneurs into Ohio’s retail reopening to help these pillars of our communities recover. The idea of shopping small needs to resonate with everyone across our state. Small businesses have been there for their communities and, now, like never before, they are counting on Ohioans to come back and shop at their favorite neighborhood businesses,” said Geiger.

The state of Ohio has created a page so Ohioans can find and support their local businesses https://ohio.org/supportlocalohio/.

Supercharge your immune system to combat illness – including COVID-19

News & Experts

As COVID-19 has spread around the world, data has shown that those with weakened immune systems are among the most susceptible to severe illness from the virus.

A number of factors can cause a compromised immune system, and some of those, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition, are largely in our control. At the same time, there are ways people can improve their immune system and in the process be better able to fight COVID-19, says Dr. Nammy Patel, DDS (www.sfgreendentist.com), author of Age With Style: Your Guide To A Youthful Smile & Healthy Living. 

“COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while,” Dr. Patel says. “We can wait around for a vaccine, but the reality is we need to focus on building our immune system, because the stronger it is, the better we are prepared to counter and get over any kind of virus.

“This pandemic is a wakeup call in so many ways. A healthy lifestyle, reducing the chances of having an underlying condition that can make COVID-19 symptoms much worse, has gained added importance. And a strong immune system is our biggest ally. We need to take this time that we have as a society to slow down and focus on our well-being.”

Dr. Patel suggests these ways to build your immune system:

  • De-stress. “This is a very stressful time for all of us,” Dr. Patel says, “and stress is hard on the immune system. When your body perceives stress, the adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol, which causes your heart rate and your blood pressure to increase. When we’re hyper-stressed, our immune system’s ability to fight for us is reduced, and we’re more susceptible to infections. But to help yourself and your body, start with your mind and find ways to relax. We’re not going to be in this predicament forever. Be patient and be positive.”
  • Boil a healing potion. Dr. Patel combines cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, peppercorn, lemon, and sugar and brings it to a boil. “Drinking it on a daily basis, the properties from these spices activate your immune system,” she says. “Together they help your cellular function while detoxifying. It’s easy to do and ideal when working from home.”
  • Do morning breathing exercises. “Twenty minutes of breath work in the morning is time well spent,” Dr. Patel says. “Breathing through your nose is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. You are activating nitric oxide, all the hormones, and your immune system to get rid of all the bad bugs, whether it’s COVID-19, influenza or whatever.
  • Cook with healthy spices. “Being home all the time takes away the fast-food excuse and makes it vital to cook clean,” Dr. Patel says. “Try cooking with mustard seed, turmeric, chili pepper, Thai chilies. These are great at building antioxidants in our body and killing off bad bacteria.”
  • Exercise daily. “Don’t let social distancing guidelines prevent you from getting necessary fresh air and exercise,” Dr. Patel says. “Keep your distance, yes, but keep a commitment to stay fit. A 20-minutes-or-more walk is ideal. That fresh air is filled with oxygen, the fuel we need to fight any bug. If indoors, yoga is great as a combination of activating the immune system and relaxing us internally. Doing 20 suryanamaskars – yoga poses – in your own home will activate your good-feeling hormones.”

“You can really take some control back in this unprecedented time by doing all you can to strengthen your mind and your immune system,” Dr. Patel says. “As you feel healthier and less stressed, you’ll come to the realization that you’re going to come out of this challenge better and stronger.”

About Dr. Nammy Patel, DDS

Dr. Nammy Patel, DDS (www.sfgreendentist.com) operates a practice called Green Dentistry in San Francisco and is the author of Age With Style: Your Guide To A Youthful Smile & Healthy Living. A graduate of the University of California’s School of Dentistry, she is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. Dr. Patel focuses on helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health.

Testing Priority, Ohio BMVs

COVID-19 Update:

(COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 4)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TESTING UPDATE: 

Governor DeWine today provided an update on Ohio’s plan for increased COVID-19 testing. 

A new partnership announced last week between the state of Ohio, Thermo Fisher, and ROE Dental Scientific will allow for a steady supply of testing reagent and swabs. With Ohio’s new increased testing capacity, Ohio will prioritize testing in the following categories: 

(SEE GRAPHIC ABOVE)

“It’s important to remember, that testing is only one response to this virus. It allows us to quickly identify individuals infected with COVID-19, promptly isolate them, and determine who they’ve been in close contact with to minimize the spread,” said Governor DeWine. “Increased testing capacity does not replace infection control and prevention practices such as social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and sanitizing high-touch surfaces.”

OHIO BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES REOPENING PLAN: 

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced today that, although opening dates for individual locations have not yet been finalized, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) deputy registrars around the state may begin reopening as early as later this month.

Upon reopening, every deputy registrar will offer online the Ohio BMV’s Get In Line, Online program that was launched by Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted as a pilot project last year. A partnership between InnovateOhio and the Ohio BMV has been expanding the project to locations statewide. There are currently 48 deputy registrars that had been offering Get in Line, Online, and all other locations that had not yet offered the service will offer it to customers upon reopening. 

“So far, this system has saved Ohioans nearly 9,000 hours of wait time,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “In order to reduce lines and the time each Ohioan has to physically spend in the BMV, we are working with InnovateOhio to expand the program throughout the state by the end of May so that every open BMV will offer this service.”

In preparation for reopening, deputy registrars are also reactivating and hiring staff, making accommodations to their facilities to ensure social distancing, and ensuring that safety measures are in place, such as cough/sneeze shields, at customer-facing workstations. 

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 20,474 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,090 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,809 people have been hospitalized, including 1,090 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Video of today’s full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Here to help during these challenging times

Ohio Dept. of Insurance–

 

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year it arrives when so many people are overwhelmed with challenges and emotions in a world suddenly altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Ohioans, we value our capacity to endure. In these times of change and uncertainty, we are all uplifted by the boundless acts of heroism and kindness during this fight, but we are still going to have some mentally taxing days and that is all right.

I want Ohioans to know that the Ohio Department of Insurance is here to help. The department has resources that can help people understand their mental health and substance use benefits and how to access them. We have created a toolkit that includes wide-ranging information and makes the complexities of insurance digestible.

We have information on our website to walk people through the health insurance decision appeals process. We also have experts available at [email protected] and 800-686-1526 to answer your mental and substance use disorder benefits questions. 

In addition, the Coping with COVID-19 Anxiety Toolkit at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov is full of valuable information and resources and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services recently launched a confidential, mental health COVID CareLine, 1-800-720-9616, where trained staff are available to provide emotional assistance to anyone struggling with mental health concerns due to the ongoing stress of the pandemic.

Along the way let us remember to be good to ourselves. And know that resources and people are available that we can lean on. There is no doubt that times are tough, but will get through this – we’re #InThisTogetherOhio!

Philanthropic Partners Distribute Fifth and Sixth Rounds of COVID-19 Emergency Grants

STARK COUNTY, Ohio, May 1 – A local philanthropic collaborative recently awarded its fifth and sixth rounds of COVID-19 emergency grants totaling more than $100,000. To date, more than $1.2 million has been mobilized to area organizations affected by the pandemic.

Fifth and sixth round grant recipients include:

Epworth Nursery School – $10,000 to pay for utilities, food, disinfecting supplies and salaries for employees providing childcare to essential workers

ICAN Housing – $37,000 to cover operational expenses for staff working remotely, provide additional security at one housing project and offset unpaid tenant rents for three months

Project REBUILD – $6,000 to purchase tablets and keyboards to support online learning for students

Stark County Catholic Schools – $11,000 to purchase laptops to support online learning for students without computer access and technology to allow the schools to monitor security and resolve technical issues

TWi – $25,000 to provide staffing and materials for virtual day services; educational and entertainment items and emergency aid for in-home clients; and gas gift cards for staff to allow for activity materials to be delivered to worksites

YWCA of Canton – $15,000 to provide rental assistance to participants in its Rapid Rehousing program whose income has been directly affected by COVID-19

The local philanthropic collaborative, led by Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and Stark Community Foundation, works together to review grant applications and makes funding decisions. Fifth and sixth rounds of funding were generously provided by the Austin-Bailey Health and Wellness Foundation, Deuble Foundation, Gessner Family Foundation, Health Foundation of Greater Massillon, Hoover Foundation, Massillon Rotary Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, Stark Community Foundation and Timken Foundation of Canton. Funding was also provided by Stark Community Foundation’s Immediate Impact Alert Fund, a flexible funding source that mobilizes resources quickly to organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals, families and businesses have donated to this fund.

The seventh round of funding and additional contributors to this community-wide effort will be announced at a later date.

Apply for help

Local 501(c)(3) organizations, schools, churches and government entities affected by COVID-19 are eligible to apply for future rounds of emergency funding. Currently, priority is given to programs that provide:

  • assistance to homebound seniors
  • pandemic childcare
  • mental health services
  • shelter and homeless services
  • other documented emerging needs

The local philanthropic collaborative has responded to the increased need for food through a partnership with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank to serve Stark County partner sites. In addition, individuals seeking emergency financial assistance with rent and mortgage payments should contact United Way of Greater Stark County.

The COVID-19 funding opportunity is intended to fill needs that are currently not being addressed through federal, state and local governmental resources. For application instructions, contact Anne Savastano, grants and operations manager at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, at [email protected] or (330) 454-5800, ext. 304.

Support your community

While local foundations are funding these emergency grants from their own endowments, Stark Community Foundation is currently accepting donations of any size to its Immediate Impact Alert Fund. Donations to this fund will continue to support organizations affected by COVID-19. Here’s how people can support their community during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Make a gift online with your credit or debit card at www.starkcf.org
  • Write a check to Stark Community Foundation with Immediate Impact Alert: COVID-19 Response

written on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Stark Community Foundation, 400 Market Avenue

North, Suite 200, Canton, Ohio 44702.

  • Donate stock by calling the Foundation at 330-454-7992.

Aultman and Mercy Medical Center step up disinfection and cleaning efforts

Goal is to maximize safety as hospitals prepare to resume elective procedures

CANTON, Ohio (May 5, 2020) – As Aultman hospitals and Mercy Medical Center prepare to resume outpatient elective procedures such as mammograms, endoscopies and some orthopedic procedures, the hospitals have increased and improved their cleaning and sanitization efforts to maximize patient safety.

Among those efforts, Aultman Hospital main campus, Aultman Alliance Community Hospital, Aultman Orrville Hospital and Mercy Medical Center have increased the frequency of room cleaning, enacted new personal protective equipment (PPE) and mask policies and provided additional training to clinical staff on hand hygiene and PPE use. In Canton, Aultman and Mercy have even deployed germ-zapping robots to disinfect all surfaces touched by the robots’ pulsed ultraviolet (UV) light. The organizations have also restricted visitation and required all patients, employees and visitors to wear a mask while in health care facilities, with the exception of patients who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons and children under the age of 2 years old.

The Xenex LightStrike robots at Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center use intense pulsed xenon UV light that quickly destroys bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacterial spores. According to Xenex, the robots are the first and only UV disinfection technology that has been proven to deactivate the COVID-19 virus. In a study at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, test results showed a 99.99% reduction in pathogen load in two minutes at one meter for hard surfaces.

The robots use flashes of intense UV-C light to penetrate the cell walls of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus and spores. Their DNA is fused, rendering them unable to reproduce or mutate, effectively killing them on surfaces. The portable disinfection system is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including Candida Auris (C.auris), Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza, Ebola and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

The portable robots disinfect a typical patient or procedure room in five-minute cycles without warm-up or cool-down times. Operated by hospital environmental services teams, the robots can be used in any department and in any unit within a health care facility. Aultman and Mercy use their robots to disinfect rooms throughout the hospitals, particularly where the most vulnerable patients are treated, including intensive care units, emergency departments, isolation rooms, cath labs, NICUs, operating rooms, endoscopy units and wound centers.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the environmental services teams have enhanced the disinfection efforts with increased frequency of cleaning and the use of our UV disinfecting robots in all patient care and public areas throughout Canton hospitals,” said Jo Ann DiPierro, director of environmental services at Aultman.

“When it comes to infection prevention, both Mercy and Aultman have comprehensive programs in place that include antibiotic stewardship, hand hygiene and education, to name just a few of our best practices,” said Daniel Lane, DNP, director of quality at Mercy. “We intend to give patients, guests and staff the safest environment possible in their time of need.”

The Xenex robots at Aultman were purchased by the Women’s Board of Aultman Hospital, which was founded in 1969 to render services to Aultman Hospital in the areas of community relations and fundraising. Since its inception, the Women’s Board has raised more than $25 million to support major projects at Aultman Hospital such as the Emergency/Trauma Center, NICU, Dialysis Center, Cancer Center, Pediatric Services, Aultman College, Compassionate Care Center, The Shoppes at Aultman, the Aultman Cancer Center, the orthopaedic unit modernization and Xenex robots.

At Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Service League purchased the first Xenex robots with proceeds raised by its signature fundraising event, The Harvest Ball. The most recent robot was purchased through a generous $103,000 donation by Scott and Karen Fitzpatrick. Scott Fitzpatrick is a member of the Mercy Development Foundation board of directors.

COVID-19 Update: State Budget Impact

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATE BUDGET IMPACT:

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor DeWine today announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30. 

At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenues for the fiscal year were ahead of estimates by over $200 million. As of the end of April, Ohio's revenues were below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million. 

Because Ohio is mandated to balance its budget each year, and in addition to identifying areas of savings, the following budget reductions will be made for the next two months:

• Medicaid:  $210 million

• K12 Foundation Payment Reduction:  $300 million

• Other Education Budget Line Items:  $55 million

• Higher Education:  $110 million

• All Other Agencies:  $100 million

"Decisions like these are extremely difficult, but they are decisions that are part of my responsibility, as your governor, to make," said Governor DeWine. “We believe that instituting these cuts now will provide the most stability moving forward, however I am greatly concerned about the cuts we must make in education. We have an obligation to our schools to give them as much predictability as we can, but if we don’t make these cuts now, future cuts would be more dramatic." 

The budget reductions are in addition to Governor DeWine's March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions.

The new budget reductions will not apply to critical services available to Ohioans or COVID-19 pandemic services. Money to balance the Fiscal Year 2020 budget will not be drawn from Ohio's Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the "rainy-day fund."

"I know that I have said that 'it’s raining,' but we do not want to tap into the rainy-day fund yet," said Governor DeWine. "The 'rain' is not a passing spring shower - it could be a long, cold, lingering storm, and we should not use the fund until it is necessary."

Projections by Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks indicate that the state’s revenues will continue to be below estimates in the coming months as Ohio moves through the COVID-19 crisis. Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Director Murnieks will continue to work with the Ohio General Assembly to identify ways to continue supporting Ohio’s economy through the COVID-19 crisis.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 20,969 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,135 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,956 people have been hospitalized, including 1,123 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH

COVID-19 Update: Advisory Groups on Restaurants, and Personal Services

 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ADVISORY GROUPS ON RESTAURANTS AND PERSONAL SERVICES

Governor DeWine announced today the members of two separate advisory groups for recommendations and best practices when reopening dine-in restaurants, and personal service locations throughout the state. 

Members of the two advisory groups were identified by relevant business association, along with Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder, Senate President Larry Obhof, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko.

The restaurant advisory group will develop and recommend best practices for reopening dine-in restaurants throughout the state and balance the need to protect the health of employees and customers.  A listing of individuals serving on the restaurants advisory group can be found here

The personal services advisory group will also develop and recommend best practices for reopening hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, massage therapy locations, and tanning facilities throughout the state.  A list of individuals serving on the personal services advisory group can be found here

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 18,743 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,002 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,634 people have been hospitalized, including 1,056 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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