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Governor DeWine Announced Curfew Extension 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend Ohio's 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until January 30, 2021 (order).

The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy.  Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery is permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10:00 p.m.

sub temp covid

Stark County Health Department announces registration process and first location

 

For those listed in Phase 1B wanting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

(Jackson Twp., OH, Jan. 13th) – The Stark County Health Department is launching the registration process for individuals in Phase 1B who are wanting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The department will start scheduling those 80 years of age and older beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 14, 2021. Others 65 years of age and older and those with Congenital or Developmental Disorders will be placed on a waiting list until it is their time to receive the vaccine. Those wishing to schedule and register for the vaccine can call (330) 353-9010, where they will hear a recorded prompt to leave their information. A representative will give them a call back shortly to schedule their appointment or to register their information so that when their week comes they can be scheduled. Residents can also visitStarkHealth.org to learn more about this process. The clinic will be held at the Whipple-Dale Centre, the home of Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities, located at 2950 Whipple Ave. NW, Canton, Ohio 44708.

“We are pleased to announce our first major vaccination clinic to our community as we continue our fight against COVID-19,” said Kirkland Norris, RS, MPH, Health Commissioner of the Stark County Health Department. “I ask for your patience as we start this process and offer a reminder to all in Stark County that as we begin, there will be a limited supply of vaccine to start.”

Those registered should bring a state issued ID or driver’s license and an insurance card. The following Ohioans will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines during Phase 1B (this phase will also include an additional phased approach, with new eligible populations added weekly beginning the week of January 19):

PHASE 1B Timeline – Stark County Health Department

The tentative timeline to start vaccinating the Phase 1B population following the process outlined above is as follows:

· Week of January 18: Vaccine providers will begin receiving their first allotment of vaccines for those ages 80 and older.

· Week of January 25: Vaccinations begin for those ages 75 and up. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders.

· Week of February 1: Vaccinations begin for those ages 70 and up. 

· Week of February 8: Vaccinations begin for those ages 65 and up. 

PHASE 1B – Those Ohioans eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are:

· Adults 65 and Older

· Ohioans With Congenital or Developmental Disorders (includes cerebral palsy; spina bifida; congenital heart disease; type 1 diabetes; inherited metabolic disorders; severe neurological disorders including epilepsy; severe genetic disorders including Down Syndrome, Fragile X, Prader Willi Syndrome, and Turner Syndrome; severe lung disease including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma; sickle cell anemia; and alpha and beta thalassemia)

· Adult K-12 School Employees (please note schools will register through a separate process through their school or district) of schools planning in-person or hybrid learning effective March 1, 2021

When a new age group begins, vaccinations may not be complete for the previous age group. It will take a number of weeks to distribute vaccine to all groups given the limited doses available. The department is still currently vaccinating those listed in Phase 1A which includes Stark County’s frontline workers.

“We will continue to issue information and updates on the vaccination process on our website at StarkHealth.org, on our social media, and through press releases,” said Norris. “We encourage the community to read our FAQs on the vaccines if they have any questions or reservations.”

Does where I live in Stark County matter?

The health department will be issuing the COVID-19 vaccine to those in its jurisdiction. The department represents the following areas: Bethlehem Township, Canton Township, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Lawrence Township, Lexington Township, Marlboro Township, Osnaburg Township, Paris Township, Perry Township, Pike Township, Plain Township, Sandy Township, Sugarcreek Township, Tuscarawas Township, Washington Township, Village of Beach City, Village of Brewster, Village of East Canton, Village of Hartville, Village of Hills and Dales, Village of Magnolia, Village of Meyers Lake, Village of Minerva, Village of Navarre, Villas of Waynesburg, Village of Wilmot, the City of Canal Fulton, the City of Louisville, and the City of North Canton. Those who live in the cities of Alliance, Canton, and Massillon should reach out to their local health department as their process may differ from that of the Stark County Health Department.

“We want our community to know that we are doing all that we can to ensure those who want the vaccine can get it,” said Norris. “It will take some time to do this and that is why we ask you to be patient and continue to take the precautions of washing your hands, wearing a mask, limiting gatherings, and keeping a social distance when you can.”

The Stark County Combined General Health District (Stark County Health Department) was founded in 1920 and is celebrating a century of health. The department is currently the ninth largest health district in the State of Ohio which serves the public health needs of over 250,000 people. The jurisdiction of the Stark County District is that of the 17 Townships, 12 Villages, and the cities of Louisville, North Canton, and Canal Fulton. The mission of the department is to assess, protect, promote, and improve the health of Stark County through leadership, quality service, and community partnerships.

ATTENTION!The Stark County Health Department does not provide sick care, treatment, or testing for COVID-19.

If you are sick, contact your primary care provider (PCP).  If you do not have a PCP call 330-493-9904 and ask to speak to our communicable disease staff.

If you have a cough or any respiratory symptoms:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf, mask, or other barrier

• Avoid contact with others

• Wash hands and sanitize often

• Cover your nose and mouth with tissue or sleeve when sneezing

For Questions related to COVID-19  call the Ohio Department of Health Call Center - 1-833-4-ASK-ODH  9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Open 7 days a week

For more information, please visit:

• https://www.starkcountyohio.gov/public-health

• www.coronavirus.ohio.gov

• https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

WE’VE MOVED! We are now in our new facility located at 7235 Whipple Ave NW  North Canton, OH 44720 in the Park Centre Plaza.

COVID-19 Update: Phase 1B Timeline, K-12 Schools, Cybersecurity, Ohio Department of Insurance

(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. 

PHASE 1B TIMELINE

Governor DeWine today highlighted the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program, which began today for those ages 80 and up.  Governor DeWine was joined by several Ohioans, who received a vaccination as part of Phase 1B.  

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, and who have a developmental or intellectual disability. 

A representative from the local county developmental disabilities board will reach out to help coordinate receipt of the vaccination for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, as well as a developmental or intellectual disability.

Ohio Vaccination Program Jan. 19

During the week of February 15, Ohioans with any of these conditions, and do not have a developmental or intellectual disability, will be eligible to receive the vaccination. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming. 

"This group has been identified by medical professionals as having a high risk of death if they caught COVID-19," said Governor DeWine. "It's critical that we continue to prioritize Ohioans who are most vulnerable."

Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days. 

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above. 

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above. 

The Ohio Department of Health has launched a tool on vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.govto assist residents looking for a provider that has been allocated vaccines. 

The tool is searchable by zip code and county, but it will not be uploaded in real-time.  It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local resources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability.

K-12 SCHOOLS

Vaccinations will also be available for personnel in Ohio schools in Phase 1B.  As of today,  96% of public school districts have committed to returning to school at least partially in-person by March 1. 

Schools committed to at least partially returning to in-person by March 1 have been designated a local Educational Service Center as a working partner.  Additional details will be confirmed this week between the working partners and school districts. 

School districts are also choosing a retail pharmacy partner, secured by the state, or an existing local partnership, to administer the vaccinations to school personnel.  Beginning the week of February 1, vaccination administration will be coordinated with school-provider partnerships, and a majority will be closed clinics for school personnel only.

CYBERSECURITY

Lt. Governor Husted today outlined various resources available to Ohioans who are interested in earning a credential, or pursuing a career, in cybersecurity. Strengthening the state’s talent and workforce in this industry is a key component to improving cybersecurity efforts and protecting citizens and businesses from cyberattacks.

Resources include:

  • Industry-recognized credentials are offered at high schools across Ohio. Learn more at education.ohio.gov.
  • Cybersecurity programs offered at institutions of higher education: Ohioc3.org
  • The Ohio Cyber Range supports curriculum development, cyber contests for k-12 to college students, internship programs, and more. Learn more at OhioCyberRangeInstitute.org
  • TechCred: Offers tech-focused credentials, including many on cybersecurity. Visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov to learn more.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE 

Governor DeWine announced today his nomination of former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. French brings more than 30 years of experience, and will lead the department in providing consumer protection through education and fair, but vigilant, regulation while promoting a stable and competitive environment for insurers. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 836,055 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 10,336 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 43,605 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,391admissions 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: Phase 1B Vaccinations, Nursing Home Vaccinations, County Data

(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. 

PHASE 1B VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine today highlighted the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio’s vaccination program, which is set to begin next week for those ages 80 and up.

Week of January 18: Vaccine providers will begin receiving their first allotment of vaccines for those ages 80 and older. Vaccines will be delivered on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up following the same process outlined above. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming.

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above. 

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above. 

“When a new age range opens, that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine. “Vaccinating Ohioans in Phase 1B will take a number of weeks given the limited doses available.”

Beginning tomorrow, Ohioans aged 80 and up can find additional information about providers administering vaccines by calling their local health department or visiting their local health department website.   

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health will launch a tool tomorrow morning on coronavirus.ohio.gov to assist residents looking for a provider that has been allotted vaccines.

The tool will be searchable by zip code or county, but it will not be updated in real-time. It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local resources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability.

“Providers throughout the state are developing systems that work best for them in terms of scheduling and administering vaccinations,” said Governor DeWine. “As we continue to rollout additional vaccination groups, we will work with our local partners, and modify the process as needed.”

The Ohio Department of Health is in the process of developing a state vaccination scheduling system.  Additional information is forthcoming.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is imminently close to completing the administration of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines in skilled nursing facilities.  

"When we started distributing the vaccine in Ohio, one of our first goals was to vaccinate our most vulnerable in our nursing facilities," said Governor DeWine. 

Ohio partnered with four pharmacies through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership in distribution of the vaccine to skilled nursing facilities. These facilities are a part of Phase 1A. 

Absolute has administered 100% of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines as assigned.

As of yesterday, CVS has administered 97% of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines at the 478 assigned facilities. It is anticipated CVS will finish the administration of doses this week.  

Pharm Script has completed 61 of 63 assigned facilities, and will complete the administration of doses today.  

Walgreens has completed 95% of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines at the 398 assigned facilities.  

Within the Federal Pharmacy Partnership, Ohio, with 3.6% of the U.S population, has administered more than 8% of the vaccines in this program nationwide.  This is above the anticipated pace of administering the vaccine. 

OHIO COUNTY COVID DATA

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.

 All 88 counties have a level of spread that is at least three times more than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers high incidence.

88 Counties


Governor DeWine also discussed key measurements regarding incidence cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks, as well as regional COVID-19 ICU utilization. 

"We saw new cases per capita at the statewide level increase since last week, which indicates that COVID-19 continues to spread in both urban and rural communities throughout Ohio," said Governor DeWine. 

Key Measures


GENERAL MOTORS COMMUNITY INVESTMENT

Lt. Governor Husted today announced the community investment from General Motors as part of the Ohio Tax Credit Authority recommendation. 

 The agreed investment of $12 million includes:

  • $5 million to Youngstown State University for workforce development in partnership with Gateway Community College, and funding for the YSU Energy Storage Innovation and Training Center.
  • $3 million to the Village of Lordstown for the design and construction of a new water tower.
  • $2.5 million to the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments for local infrastructure improvements.
  • $1.5 million to the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition to support community workforce development.

In September, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a recommendation by the Ohio Development Services Agency to terminate the Job Creation Retention Tax Credit agreements with General Motors following the company’s decision to close its Lordstown assembly facility.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 807,293 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,990 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 42,491 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,289 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: Phase 1B Timeline

(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. 

PHASE 1B TIMELINE

Governor DeWine today reemphasized the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program which is set to begin next week with those ages 80 and older.

This week: Today, the Ohio Department of Health will receive information from the federal government on Ohio's vaccine allotment for the upcoming week. This information, including which providers will receive vaccines and how many, will be communicated to local health departments this evening. Each county health department, in partnership with their local emergency management agency and vaccine providers, will communicate vaccine distribution plans with the media and the public on Wednesday and Thursday. The process to vaccinate those in each county will vary depending on the provider. Some are expected to hold walk-up clinics, others may take appointments, etc.

On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health will launch a tool on coronavirus.ohio.gov to assist citizens looking for a provider that has been allotted vaccines. The tool will be searchable by zip code or county, but it will not be updated in real-time. It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local sources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability. 

Hospitals that are vaccinating their frontline healthcare workers as part of Phase 1A must complete these vaccinations by Sunday, January 17.

Week of January 18: Vaccine providers will begin receiving their first allotment of vaccines for those ages 80 and older. Vaccines will be delivered on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up following the same process outlined above. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming.

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above. 

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above. 

Vaccine providers are not expected to vaccinate everyone in each age group in one week. As new age groups are authorized to receive vaccinations, previous age groups will continue receiving the vaccine. 

Senior citizens with questions on the vaccination process are urged to contact the Area Agencies on Aging at www.aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-866-243-5678.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

To date, 85 percent of Ohio's nursing homes have been visited by a vaccine provider as part of Phase 1A. Vaccine providers anecdotally tell the Ohio Department of Health that the number of residents and staff accepting the vaccine is increasing. 

In Ohio's two nursing homes operated by the Ohio Department of Veteran Services, 92 percent of veterans have accepted the vaccine. Regarding staff, 60 percent have opted to receive the vaccine in the Sandusky home and 42 percent have chosen to be vaccinated in the Georgetown home.

BROADBAND EXPANSION INVESTMENT

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that Southern Ohio Communication Services, Inc., in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) and Pike County Economic & Community Development, plans to invest $3.8 million to provide high-speed Internet service over 64 miles to 1,300 residential and business customers in southern Ohio.  Southern Ohio Communications Service received a $50,000 JobsOhio Inclusion Grant toward building and engineering costs. Learn more about the announcement here.

INDUSTRY SECTOR PARTNERSHIP AWARDS

Lt. Governor Husted also announced that 12 partnerships have been awarded for a total of $2.5 million for the Industry Sector Partnership Award Grant Program. The selected partnerships are located in various regions across Ohio and focus on multiple in-demand industry sectors, including healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, construction and transportation.

“These awards will jumpstart and expand workforce partnerships across Ohio that are helping more individuals earn the skills needed to successfully find employment,” Lt. Governor Husted said. “This is real-world skill development where educators and businesses work together to help people gain the skills they need to get hired for jobs that pay well and have a future. Enhancing meaningful partnerships between the business and education community is key to growing Ohio’s workforce and filling in-demand jobs at a time when many people are looking for opportunities, but not sure where to start.”

Learn more about the Industry Sector Partnership Grant by visiting Workforce.Ohio.gov/ISP

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 792,938 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,802 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 41,863 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,237 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: U.S. Capitol Breach, County Data, Phase 1B Vaccinations

(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. 

U.S. CAPITOL BREACH

Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted shared additional comments regarding yesterday’s events at the United States Capitol.

“Yesterday was a sad day. It was a dark day for this great republic. This was a direct attack on the U.S. Constitution, and everything we hold dear,” said Governor DeWine. “Yesterday’s actions were shameful, and all Americans need to denounce these acts. It is time we all accept the election results, and the will of the People. We need to come together as a People, and we need to work together.”

OHIO COUNTY COVID DATA

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.

 All 88 counties have a level of spread that is at least three times more than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers high incidence. Governor DeWine encouraged Ohioans to look more closely at the chart below, which shows the number of positive cases per 1,000 residents.

88 Counties Ranked


PHASE 1B VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine announced those in Phase 1B will be able to receive vaccinations beginning on Tuesday, January 19. Those 80 years of age and older will be prioritized first in this next phase, roughly totaling 420,000 Ohioans. Ohio is expected to receive 100,000 doses during the first week of distribution to Phase 1B.

“With up to 420,000 people 80 years and above, and only 100,000 doses available the first week, it will take several weeks to vaccinate those 80 years of age and older," said Governor DeWine. "Phase 1B will take a few weeks, and a lot of coordination in distribution.”

Vaccines for Ohioans 80 years of age and older will be administered by physicians, local health departments, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, in-home health service providers, and some retail pharmacies.  As of today, the Ohio Department of Health has approximately 1,700 providers registered to distribute vaccines. 

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health will be hosting a webinar for registered providers to discuss expectations, and instructions for distribution. Additional details will be shared with registered providers in the coming days.

Governor DeWine anticipates vaccinations will be available to Ohioans 75 years of age and older beginning Monday, January 25. The following week, vaccinations will be available to those 65 years of age and older.

“As we include other age ranges, please know that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine.  

The week of January 25 will also include vaccinations for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early onset medical disorders.  Additional details about distribution for this group will be forthcoming.

During the week of February 1, Governor DeWine announced that vaccinations will be available for personnel in Ohio schools.  The Ohio Department of Heath will send forms to Ohio superintendents to indicate their school plans to go back to in full in-person and hybrid learning by March 1, as well as indicate the number of staff they believe will choose to take the vaccination.  Superintendents will also be asked if a community partner has been identified to help with the administering of the COVID-19 vaccines to school personnel.

Additional information about vaccinations can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov

BROADBANDOHIO CONNECTIVITY GRANT

Lt. Governor Husted today announced that the deadline for the BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant, which provided $50 million to schools to help them purchase equipment for students to access the internet, has been extended. This program helps schools to fund everything from hotspots, to Wi-Fi, to access points on school busses. The grant was funded using Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) from the CARES Act.

The deadline to spend these funds was originally December 30, 2020, however, a second federal stimulus bill was signed at the of December, which extended the CRF expenditure deadline an additional year, until December 31, 2021. As a result, this administration extended the deadline for the BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant to the same date, December 31, 2021.

School districts now have more time to spend these funds for services they provide to students to keep them online.

More information about the grant program can be found at ohio-k12.help.

AMENDED HEALTH ORDER

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Sixth Amended Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities, with Exceptions.

This revised order clarifies that in-person compassionate care visits are permitted in nursing homes and similar facilities. The new order does not change required precautions all visitors must take, including but not limited to, wearing of a facial covering and social distancing.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 753,068 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,462 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 40,469 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,092 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: Vaccination Phases, Nursing Home Vaccinations, Virus Variant, Vaccine Redistribution

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATION PHASES

Governor DeWine today recapped Phases 1A and 1B of Ohio's vaccine distribution plan. Because the availability of the vaccine remains limited in Ohio and across the country, Ohio is taking a phased approach that prioritizes the most vulnerable citizens, those in the healthcare field, and school staff members.

Phase 1A, which is currently underway, includes approximately 1 million Ohioans. 

Ohio Vaccination Program


It is anticipated that vaccine distribution in Phase 1B will begin as Phase 1A begins to wind down. 

Phase 1B focuses largely on those who are 65 and older. Those in this age group are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and make up more than 87 percent of Ohioans who have died from the virus. Phase 1B also includes school teachers and other school staff who will be offered the vaccine in an effort to get Ohio's children back to school as soon as possible. In total, Phase 1B includes an estimated 2.2 million people.

Estimates 1B Vaccines


Details of future phases of the vaccination plan will be announced as Phases 1A and 1B progress and as Ohio receives vaccines for the future phases. Ohio is currently receiving roughly 100,000 vaccines each week, although that number could increase if more vaccines are approved for administration.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

As of Sunday, approximately 61 percent of nursing homes in Ohio have been visited by a pharmacy vaccine provider. Of those locations, only approximately 40 percent of staff members have chosen to receive the vaccination. Of nursing home residents, approximately 75 to 80 percent of residents have decided to receive the vaccine.

Nursing home staff and residents who have received their first dose of vaccine will begin receiving second doses on Friday. Governor DeWine encouraged those in nursing homes who initially declined to receive the vaccine to get their first dose as part of this second round. Following this opportunity, it may be some time before a first dose is available again.

VACCINE DISCUSSIONS FOR LONG-TERM CARE PROVIDERS

The Ohio Department of Aging will be hosting live discussions to help educate long-term care providers about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine. State and community vaccine experts will be available to answer questions about the vaccine, and participants will have the opportunity to offer input to help state leaders make decisions to guide Ohio out of the pandemic.

VIRUS VARIANT

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health, provided information related to the coronavirus variation that was first seen in the United Kingdom.

"Although virus variations are normal, and most do not impact the behavior of a virus, this variation is notable because it appears to be more contagious than other variants of the coronavirus," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "Fortunately, this variant doesn't appear to be more severe or to impact those who are already immune, but it worries us because a more contagious variant could lead to more people getting sick, more people being hospitalized, and more people dying."

Ohio currently has three times the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations that it had on November 1 and nearly seven times the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations that it had on October 1. 

Dr. Vanderhoff stressed the importance of continuing Ohio's coronavirus protocols of social distancing, avoiding crowds, washing hands, wearing masks, and accepting the vaccine when available to prevent the spread of all variants of the coronavirus and to prevent further increases in hospitalizations. 

VACCINE REDISTRIBUTION PLANS

The Ohio Department of Health will be issuing a directive requiring vaccine providers to develop a surplus vaccine redistribution plan. The directive follows a recent incident in which a long-term care facility in Ohio overestimated the number of vaccine doses needed for residents and staff. Seven vials of vaccine (35 doses) were not administered and expired.

"Every vaccine dose that Ohio receives must be administered," said Governor DeWine. "Each vaccine represents a potential life saved, and it is our obligation to ensure that not a single dose is wasted."

Vaccine redistribution plans will prioritize recipients based on Phase 1A and 1B vaccine distribution criteria. If a significant number of doses remain, vaccine providers must contact the Ohio Department of Health for immediate redistribution assistance.

NEXT ROUND OF TECHCRED NOW OPEN

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced that the seventh round of TechCred – a program that helps businesses upskill their current and incoming workforce with tech-focused credentials – is now open until January 29.

Ohio businesses can receive up to $2,000 for each tech-focused credential earned, up to $30,000 per employer each application period. Since the program’s start, a total of 966 Ohio employers have been approved for funding, supporting the earning of 15,105 tech-focused credentials by Ohio employees.

To learn more and apply, businesses can visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov.

BAR & RESTAURANT FUND DEADLINE EXTENDED

The Lt. Governor also announced that the deadline to apply for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund has been extended to January 31.

There are approximately 15,400 on-premises liquor permits in the state eligible for assistance. Of that, roughly 10,854 or 70 percent have taken advantage of this funding opportunity as of today.

Governor DeWine designated $38.7 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and each active on-premises liquor permit is eligible for funding.  

While the program is referred to as the Bar & Restaurant Assistance Fund, more than just bars and restaurants have eligible permits. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, sports and concert venues, and even some hair salons are eligible for this funding.

Eligible businesses can visit businesshelp.ohio.gov to apply, which requires them to simply enter their liquor permit number and federal tax information.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION RATE CUT

The Lt. Governor also announced that Ohio’s public employers will pay $14.8 million less in premiums this year thanks to a rate reduction from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation that went into effect January 1.

The rate cut means approximately 3,700 counties, cities, public schools, and other public taxing districts will pay an average of 10 percent less on their annual premiums than in calendar year 2020. The reduction, made possible by declining injury trends and relatively low medical inflation costs, is the twelfth cut for public employers since 2009 and follows a 10 percent cut in 2020.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 735,003 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,247 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 39,650 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,022 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: School Quarantine Guidance Change, Curfew Extension, Bar and Restaurant Grants Still Available

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

OHIO VACCINES

Ohio is expected to receive more than 238,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines next week. Governor DeWine encouraged those administering the vaccine to do so with urgency. 

"Although we'll never know whose lives have been saved, we do know that these vaccines are saving lives," said Governor DeWine. "We all have a moral responsibility to get the vaccine out to those who choose to receive it as quickly as we possibly can."

Governor DeWine also encouraged citizens who wish to be vaccinated to act with urgency when offered the vaccine. Because the vaccine is currently scarce, Governor DeWine warned that those who decline to receive a vaccine at the first opportunity may not immediately receive another chance. 

SCHOOL QUARANTINE GUIDANCE CHANGE

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is changing its guidance regarding quarantines following an in-classroom exposure in K-12 schools. Moving forward, students and teachers exposed to a COVID-positive person in school are no longer required to quarantine as long as the exposure occurred in a classroom setting and all students/teachers were wearing masks and following other appropriate protocols.

The change follows an evaluation of virus spread in Ohio schools conducted by researchers with the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team. Preliminary results of the evaluation found no discernable difference in the risk of contracting the coronavirus between those in close contact with a COVID-positive person in the classroom and those who were farther away.  

"This evaluation confirms for us that Ohio's classrooms are a safe place for our students and that the commitment our schools have made to keeping kids safe in the classroom is working," said Governor DeWine.

Schools should continue to require quarantines for exposed students in situations where masking and distancing protocols were not followed. The updated quarantine guidance does not apply to after-school activities, including sports. 

CURFEW EXTENSION

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend Ohio's 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until January 23, 2021. The extension is necessary until Ohio can determine if it will see a post-holiday case surge that impacts hospitals.

The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy.  Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery is permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10:00 p.m.

BAR & RESTAURANT GRANTS STILL AVAILABLE

More than 5,100 eligible on-premises liquor permit holders have not yet applied for state assistance through Ohio’s Bar & Restaurant Grant Program. Of the $38.7 million allotted to support liquor permit holders, more than $12 million remains unclaimed.

Each active on-premises liquor permit (as of 10.23.20) is eligible for $2,500 per location. The funding is not competitive, and the money does not have to be repaid. 

Although the program is referred to as the Bar & Restaurant Assistance Fund, more than just bars and restaurants have eligible liquor permits.  Movie theaters, bowling alleys, sports and concert venues, and even some hair salons are eligible for this funding.

Permit holders who have not yet claimed their funds should visit businesshelp.ohio.gov to apply. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 690,748 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 8,855 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 38,002 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,837 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.

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Ohio National Guard members receive COVID-19 vaccinations

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 28 —OhioNational Guard members on the front line of the state’s pandemic response began receiving the COVID-19vaccination last week.The U.S. Department of Defense is allocating doses of the vaccine to the Ohio National Guard as part of a pilot program for Soldiers and Airmen who are currently performing full-time National Guard duty under Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code,in support of the state’s COVID-19 response operations. About 500 Guard members who are assisting in missions at long-term care facilities, COVID-19 testing sites, and food banks are expected to be vaccinated.“We’ve been supporting our state since March in the fight against COVID-19. I’m incredibly proud of the work being done by our men and women,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general and commander of the Ohio National Guard.“Their health and safety is a top priority. The vaccine will help protect them, their families, and their communities.”Ohio Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Adam Stang,a Soldier with the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the food bank mission inCincinnati,was one of the first in line to get the vaccination.“I am representing the Ohio National Guard and it’s one of my responsibilities to be the best representative I can be, and to be safe and healthy. So this was one way that I could ensure that I would be safe and healthy and be able to continue my mission,” Stang said. Ohio Army National Guard 1st Lt. Zachary Cook, also with the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the officer in charge of the food bank mission in the Cincinnati area,felt it was well worth getting the vaccination. He urged others to do the same.“I’m getting vaccinated because my wife’s a teacher and I want to make things easier for her,” Cook said. “It is absolutely recommended to get the vaccine. It is safe, it’s effective by every measure that the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has put out.”Even though the vaccine is available, Ohio National Guard members will continue to adhere to all public health standards issued by the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health.

The Department of Defense pilot program is separate from the doses of vaccine the state of Ohio is currently receiving for front-line civilian healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

COVID-19 Update: Next Vaccination Phase, Local Health Departments and Hospitals, New Maps 

(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. 

NEXT VACCINATION PHASE

Governor DeWine announced the goals of Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution are to save lives and for schools to be fully open by March 1st.

“Ohioans in the 65 and older category make up just under 87% of COVID deaths. This is a stunning number, and it’s critical that we protect our older Ohioans,” said Governor DeWine.

In the next phase, vaccines will be available to those who choose to receive them who are 65 years or older or those living with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additionally, adults working in Ohio's schools will have the option to receive the vaccine. This is intended to assist schools in returning to in-person learning. 

Ohio Vaccination Program

Additional details about the next phase are forthcoming.

The following Phase 1A members are currently receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  This phase includes health care workers and personnel, nursing homes residents and staff, assisted living facilities residents and staff, psychiatric hospital patients and staff, people with developmental disabilities and those with mental illness who live in group homes or centers and staff at those locations, Ohio veterans homes residents and staff, and EMS responders.

LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND HOSPITALS

The local health departments and hospitals will assist with managing mass vaccination clinics as more vaccines are shipped to Ohio.

"Ohio's public health departments and hospitals are experts at managing mass vaccination clinics, and I am thankful we can turn to them to begin vaccinating Ohioans against COVID-19," said Governor DeWine. 

Christina Conover, director of nursing for the Clark County Combined Health District, joined today's public briefing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and encouraged other first responders and health care workers to do the same. 

Dr. Kevin Miller, emergency department physician, chief of Sugarcreek Fire Department and Tuscarawas County EMS director, and Dr. Jeffrey Cameron, Tuscarawas County coroner and emergency room doctor, both received their COVID-19 vaccine at the public briefing. Both doctors discussed their experiences in the emergency room throughout the pandemic and why they chose to receive the vaccine.

Additionally, advanced EMTs and paramedics will assist in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Carol Cunningham, an emergency room physician and Ohio’s State Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services, received a COVID-19 vaccine administered by Dan Samf, a paramedic with the Kirtland Fire Department.

Also Charles Shepherd, a therapeutic program worker at Twin Valley Psychiatric Hospital, joined today’s public briefing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and discussed the impact the vaccine will have at state psychiatric hospitals. .

NEW COVID-19 MAPS

Governor DeWine shared two new maps from the Ohio Department of Health for tracking how severe the spread of COVID-19 is in Ohio. 

The first map measures cases per capita over time. The time-lapse map is based on the list of high incidence counties and indicates the levels of spread from week to week.

Incidence - Cases per 100k

The second map shows each Hospital Preparedness Region and what percent of the overall ICU patient population are COVID patients.

“At the beginning of August, we were at about 12% statewide, or 1 in 8 patients in the ICU was a COVID patient,” said Governor DeWine. “Now, we’re at 31% or about 1 in 3 patients in the ICU are a COVID patient.”

Regional COVID-19 ICU

Both maps will be updated weekly on Thursdays at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

BWC "WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED" 

Lt. Governor Husted today announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is distributing another 23 million Ohio-made masks to help support the state’s workforce.  Shipments began in November and are expected to continue through June 2021. In October, the BWC contracted with Buckeye Mask Company, in Cleveland, for 10 million masks, and with Career Development and Placement Strategies, also in Cleveland, for 13 million masks.

Today’s announcement marks the second round of mask distribution launched by the BWC, which sent out nearly 23 million masks over the summer and fall to assist in weakening the spread of COVID-19.

SUPPORT LOCAL THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

With Christmas days away, Lt. Governor Husted reminded Ohioans to consider “shopping local” this holiday season to help Ohio retailers and small businesses. In addition, to support local restaurants, many Ohio food establishments offer delivery and take-out options.

For ideas on how to support local, visit Ohio.org.

FOODBANKS

First Lady Fran DeWine encouraged Ohioans to consider donating to The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which serves all 88 counties.

More information about how to donate can be found at OhioFoodbanks.org/Coronavirus

CHILD CARE STUDY

Since reopening child care at the end of May, Ohio has participated in two significant research studies on the spread of COVID in child care settings. The results of both studies found that child care did not lead to an increased risk for contracting COVID.

In October, Yale University released their findings from a survey of nearly 100,000 child care educators across the nation, including more than 5,000 in Ohio. This study found the work of child care providers to sanitize, wash hands, stay masked, and social distance greatly impacted the safety of children in their care.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation also commissioned a study of Ohio child care facilities through Case Western Reserve University. The results of this study will be released soon, confirming the findings of the Yale study.

Through parent and child care worker surveys and interviews; symptom tracking of workers, children, and parents; and hundreds of COVID tests of child care workers and families from August to November, researchers from Case Western found no link between child care and an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. In fact, just 2 asymptomatic positives were found among the nearly 400 COVID tests, which is a positivity rate of just 0.5 percent.

"I want to thank all of our child care workers for their efforts over the past nine months, said Governor DeWine. "You all have truly risen to the occasion to protect the children and families you serve, and just as importantly, yourselves."

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 644,822 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 8,361 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 36,025 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,640 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: Thanksgiving Mobility, Upcoming Holidays, Ohio National Guard Waiver

(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. 

OHIO EXCEEDS 8,000 DEATHS

On Saturday, Ohio surpassed 8,000 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. As of today, 8,122 people infected with the coronavirus have died since the beginning of the pandemic. 

In the past 24 hours, 6,548 new cases and 301 new hospitalizations were reported. A total of 17 counties have a case rate over 1,000, meaning that at least 1 percent of people in these counties either have or recently had the virus and are at risk of spreading it to others.

THANKSGIVING MOBILITY & UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

Ohio is not experiencing a drastic surge in cases related to Thanksgiving gatherings which is attributable to the fact that Ohioans greatly reduced their contacts and travel over the holiday. According to anonymized data published in the New York Timesthere was a 60 to 70 percent reduction in contacts over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

"If we can get through Christmas and New Year’s without a significant surge, we will be much better positioned to start 2021 against this virus," said Governor DeWine. "It’s critical that we keep up the work we started over Thanksgiving for the next several weeks to prevent another surge in January."

Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff stressed the need for citizens to continue following the Stay Safe Ohio Protocol to help prevent Ohio hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. 

"Up to and through Thanksgiving, Ohioans took important steps to avoid letting COVID-19 overwhelm our hospitals, but in spite of this, our hospitals remain extremely busy," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "Adding a post-holiday spike would create a terrible situation, so we can't let ourselves be lulled into a sense of complacency as we move into the next two-week period, the biggest holiday season on our calendar."

OHIO NATIONAL GUARD WAIVER

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Ohio National Guard received a waiver that will allow them to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The waiver gives the Ohio National Guard the flexibility to fully utilize National Guard medical personnel trained in administering the vaccine.

The Ohio National Guard has approximately 600 members who are medical personnel, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and medics. Ohio is working to determine how it will best utilize Guard medical personnel without adversely affecting Ohio health care systems’ critical medical resources by removing Guard members from their civilian medical positions.

PHONE NUMBERS

Governor DeWine reminded doctors and others performing COVID-19 testing to collect complete information from patients including telephone numbers. This is vital information for local health departments conducting case investigations and contact tracing.

IMAP

Lt. Governor Husted reminded Ohioans about the Individual Microcredential Assistance Program, or IMAP, which is a program available to Ohioans who are low income, partially unemployed, or totally unemployed to earn a tech-focused credential for free. There are 11 IMAP training providers and 54 eligible credentials available, and 37 of these credentials can be completed 100 percent online. Those interested should visit IMAP.Development.Ohio.gov to apply.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 629,354 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 8,122 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 35,048 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,537 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: Vaccines, New Advisory System Map, New Nurse PSAs

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

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Richland County. Medina, Portage, Stark, and Summit counties all moved from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3 this week. Governor DeWine cautioned that a decrease from Level 4 to Level 3 does not indicate that the situation in these counties is improving, but rather that healthcare indicators, such as hospitalizations, are plateauing at a very critical level. 

"Red and purple are not all that different," said Governor DeWine. "They both mean that a county has a very high level of cases and a very high level of COVID activity in the healthcare system. Purple simply indicates counties where things are worsening noticeably, but red counties are also at very worrisome and unsustainable levels."

Ohio Public Health Advisory System Dec. 17


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.

When seeking to determine the level of risk in each county, Governor DeWine encouraged Ohioans to look more closely at the chart below which shows the number of positive cases per 1,000 residents. All 88 counties have a level of spread that is at least three times more than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers high incidence. The top 20 counties show rates of nine to 13 times the high-incidence level. 

All 88 Counties Ranked


VACCINE UPDATE

Tomorrow, as part of the federal program to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff, facilities in Ohio will be among the first in the nation to receive vaccines through Walgreen’s, CVS, PharmScript, and Absolute Pharmacy. Ohio was invited by the CDC to participate in the scaling up of the federal program.

NEW PSA FEATURING OHIO NURSES

Governor DeWine unveiled a new public service announcement featuring four of Ohio's frontline nurses. The nurses describe what it’s like taking care of COVID patients in Ohio's hospitals.

The featured nurses are Erin Russo of Memorial Hospital in Marysville, Dara Pence of OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Jasmine Shavers of Miami Valley Hospital, and Lisa Burich of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. 

Erin Russo, RN


CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 596,178 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,894 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 33,745 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,382 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.

Altercare to Begin COVID-19 Vaccine Administration

Skilled Nursing Care Centers Partner with Absolute Pharmacy to Vaccinate Long-term Care Residents and Employees

North Canton, Ohio, December 13, 2020 – Altercare Integrated Health Services, in partnership with Absolute Pharmacy, will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to its long-term care residents and staff on Monday, December 21, 2020.

Upon availability, Absolute Pharmacy will supply and administer the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine via onsite clinics at select Altercare centers throughout Ohio as part of the nationwide, phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to offer the Pfizer vaccine to our residents and hardworking staff. The vaccine, with results reflecting an effectiveness of up to 95 percent, will provide welcomed protection to our vulnerable communities and their care-giving teams,” says Deanna Hatfield, Chief Nursing Officer, Altercare.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, administered 21 days apart. This particular vaccine requires extreme cold storage, and has a short stability timeframe once prepared for administration. Absolute Pharmacy, in partnership with local resources, is equipped to meet the storage needs of the vaccine.

“The coordinated leadership and longstanding relationship between Absolute and Altercare supports our ability to bring the vaccine to the residents and staff of Altercare as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Kevin Fearon, Chief Operating Officer, Absolute Pharmacy.

To ensure all qualifying individuals have an opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Absolute Pharmacy will schedule and coordinate three on-site clinic dates at each center in collaboration with clinical management teams. Pfizer indicates that full antibody levels are achieved ten days after the second dose. “We are thrilled that decision makers have made patients and staff of skilled nursing and assisted living centers the first to receive the vaccine. These individuals are absolutely deserving of this prioritization. We are committed to making good on this opportunity and will work diligently to vaccinate as many residents and staff as quickly as possible. The vaccine will allow our centers to identify as among the safest places to work and live during this public health emergency,” said Greg Colaner, president of Altercare Integrated Health Services.

Both Altercare and Absolute Pharmacy are part of The Schroer Group, a family-owned outcom based company in North Canton.

COVID-19 Update: Vaccinations Continue in Ohio, Local Health Department Vaccination Guidance

(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. 

VACCINATIONS CONTINUE IN OHIO

Seven hospitals in Ohio received their first vaccine shipments today, bringing the total number of vaccine doses delivered to Ohio over the past two days to 98,475.

Governor and First Lady DeWine were present this morning for the delivery of the vaccine shipment to Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center and Lt. Governor Jon Husted visited OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus as they received their first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

In addition to the two aforementioned hospitals, COVID-19 vaccine shipments of 975 doses apiece were also delivered to:

  • Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
  • Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
  • Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
  • Aultman Hospital, Stark County
  • Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

An additional 975-dose shipment was delivered today to OhioHealth Riverside Hospital for use at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens. 

Although vaccine supplies are currently limited, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has advised that Ohio will continue to receive vaccinations throughout the month of December. Next week, Ohio is expected to receive 123,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as 201,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. During the week of New Year’s, Ohio is expected to receive an additional 148,000 Pfizer vaccines and an additional 89,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. 

A number of healthcare workers who received vaccinations today joined today's public briefing to discuss their experiences, including Kasi Gardner, RN, of Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center who received her vaccine during the news conference.

Dr. Jennifer Wall Forrester, associate chief medical officer at UC Health, also discussed when citizens should call their doctors or go to the hospital if they develop COVID-19 symptoms

HOSPITALIZATIONS 

Ohioans continue to be hospitalized at record numbers. As of today, 5,296 patients are hospitalized throughout the state and 1,311 of those patients are in intensive care units. Ohio currently has more patients in the ICU than it had total for all COVID-19 hospitalized patients during the previous peak last summer.  There are currently 863 patients who need a ventilator, as compared to 360 patients on ventilators a month ago.

"While there is good reason to be optimistic about Ohioans receiving the vaccine, we have our work cut out for us to slow the spread of the virus until enough Ohioans can be vaccinated," said Governor DeWine. "We must continue rallying together to prevent overwhelming our hospitals."

LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT VACCINATION GUIDANCE

Next week, local health departments in Ohio that registered as providers are expected to begin receiving vaccines.  Today, Governor DeWine outlined guidance on individuals who should be prioritized by health departments during Phase 1A.

Local health departments should coordinate the vaccinations of congregate care residents and staff, such as those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who are not enrolled in the federal long-term care pharmacy programs or are not registered as providers themselves. This includes people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers, as well as staff.

In addition, local health departments should prioritize vaccinating other healthcare providers who are not being vaccinated by hospitals and health systems and are not enrolled as providers themselves.  These providers could include:

  • Home health workers
  • Hospice workers
  • Emergency medical services responders
  • Primary care practitioners
  • Free-standing emergency department, urgent care, pharmacy, and dialysis center providers not vaccinated by hospitals or healthcare systems
  • Dental providers
  • Public health employees who are at risk of exposure or transmission, such as vaccinators
  • Mobile unit practitioners
  • Federally-qualified health center providers
  • High-risk ancillary health care staff members

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 579,357 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,654 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 32,878 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,283 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: Vaccinations begin in OH

(COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 14th)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATIONS BEGIN IN OHIO

Governor DeWine announced today that the first COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Ohio. Shipments of 975 doses were delivered this morning to both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and UC Health in Cincinnati. Several healthcare workers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients immediately received vaccinations. 

“It was such a moment of hope to watch the healthcare workers begin to get vaccinated today,” said Governor DeWine. “Today is the first day of a process that will continue over the months ahead as Ohioans who choose to be vaccinated have their opportunity to receive the vaccine. However, until the vaccine is widely available for all Ohioans who choose to receive it, we must continue to use all available tools to prevent the spread of the virus, like wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and washing your hands.”

Vaccine shipments will be delivered to eight additional hospitals in Ohio tomorrow:

• Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County

• Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County

• Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County

• Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center, Clark County

• OhioHealth Riverside Hospital, Franklin County

• Aultman Hospital, Stark County

• OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Athens County

• Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

All 10 hospitals were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity. 

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to come to Ohio, Cardinal Health’s OptiFreight Logistics business will help provide same-day delivery services. Once the vaccine is widely available, this partnership will allow Ohio to ship the vaccine to approximately 350 locations across the state.  

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has invited Ohio to participate in an early scaled launch of vaccinations in nursing homes. Ohio will begin providing vaccinations in five to ten nursing homes starting this Friday, December 18. 

Ohio had previously been scheduled to start its nursing home vaccination program in partnership with pharmacy providers on Monday, December 21.

VACCINATION DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard in the coming days at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The dashboard will list the number of people vaccinated in Ohio and will be sortable by demographic and by county.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 570,602 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,551 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 32,264 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,209 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: Vaccinations Begin in Ohio

(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. 

VACCINATIONS BEGIN IN OHIO

Governor DeWine announced today that the first COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Ohio. Shipments of 975 doses were delivered this morning to both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and UC Health in Cincinnati. Several healthcare workers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients immediately received vaccinations. 

"It was such a moment of hope to watch the healthcare workers begin to get vaccinated today," said Governor DeWine. "Today is the first day of a process that will continue over the months ahead as Ohioans who choose to be vaccinated have their opportunity to receive the vaccine. However, until the vaccine is widely available for all Ohioans who choose to receive it, we must continue to use all available tools to prevent the spread of the virus, like wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and washing your hands."

Vaccine shipments will be delivered to eight additional hospitals in Ohio tomorrow:

  • Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
  • Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
  • Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
  • Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center, Clark County
  • OhioHealth Riverside Hospital, Franklin County
  • Aultman Hospital, Stark County
  • OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Athens County
  • Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

All 10 hospitals were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity. 

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to come to Ohio, Cardinal Health’s OptiFreight Logistics business will help provide same-day delivery services. Once the vaccine is widely available, this partnership will allow Ohio to ship the vaccine to approximately 350 locations across the state.  

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has invited Ohio to participate in an early scaled launch of vaccinations in nursing homes. Ohio will begin providing vaccinations in five to ten nursing homes starting this Friday, December 18. 

Ohio had previously been scheduled to start its nursing home vaccination program in partnership with pharmacy providers on Monday, December 21.

VACCINATION DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard in the coming days at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The dashboard will list the number of people vaccinated in Ohio and will be sortable by demographic and by county.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 570,602 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,551 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 32,264 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,209 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: Stay Safe Ohio Protocol,  Curfew Extension, Sports Variance

(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. 

STAY SAFE OHIO PROTOCOL

Governor DeWine today unveiled the new Stay Safe Ohio Protocol. The protocol was developed in partnership with medical professionals across the state to inform Ohioans how to safely live with the virus.

Stay Safe Ohio Protocol

Governor DeWine was joined by medical professionals throughout the state to explain the importance of the protocols.  

CURFEW EXTENSION

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will be extending the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew until January 2, 2021.

The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy.  Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery will be permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10 p.m.

“COVID-19 is the single greatest threat to the physical well-being of all Ohioans, the mental health of our citizens, and our economic security,” said Governor DeWine. “We must do everything we can to slow down the spread of this virus.”

The decision to extend the curfew was made with input from the medical and business communities with consideration to the economic impact and health care system.

The extended order can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark and Summit counties. Ashland and Guernsey counties were moved to the Watch List.

Noble, Harrison and Washington counties moved to Red Level 3 for the first time since implementation of the Advisory System in April.

Ohio also had 11,738 new cases reported between yesterday and today, which is the fourth highest case court to date. A total of 452 new hospitalizations were reported, as well as 111 deaths.

Ohio Public Health Advisory System

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.

SPORTS VARIANCE

The Ohio Department of Health will issue a variance to the curfew for specific sporting events in Ohio. The start times of these games are dictated by national television contracts, and as a result, the games would not be finished until after the 10 p.m. curfew.

More information will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov in the coming days.

DINE SAFE

Lt. Governor Husted encouraged Ohioans to do what they can to support local restaurants during this time, whether it’s by carrying out a meal at least once a week or by ordering delivery. He also recommended giving out restaurant gift cards as gifts for family and friends this holiday season.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 

As another update in Ohio’s economic recovery, the Lt. Governor discussed two new projects that are putting Ohio on the map as far as innovation in transportation technology.

Agility Prime: Earlier today, the Lt. Governor joined officials from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Dayton Development Coalition, JobsOhio, City of Springfield, BETA Technologies, and Joby Aviation to participate in a virtual groundbreaking event for a new advanced urban air mobility technology simulator facility at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.

The Air Force recently launched the program, which seeks to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft and create a robust domestic industry and supply chain to support their development and production.

Waymo: Last week, Waymo – one of the world leaders in autonomous driving technology – announced their plan to develop new proprietary features at TRC’s SMARTCenter to help them advance their Waymo Driver self-driving system and driverless Class 8 truck. This is a big win for Ohio as it’s the first time Waymo has established a permanent presence at a third-party test site.

The Lt. Governor underscored what these announcements mean to Ohio’s recovery and how they attract investment, new technologies and workforce development.

“This can really be an important part of the foundation for our economic recovery in 2021,” Lt. Gov. Husted said. “We really welcome these new investments from companies who are outside of Ohio – who are bringing their investments to Ohio – to start brand new innovations, brand new companies and brand new technologies that we hope will benefit Ohioans for generations to come.”

FOODBANKS

First Lady Fran DeWine encouraged Ohioans to consider donating to The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which serves all 88 counties. The Ohio National Guard has assisted foodbanks throughout the state this year in distributing more than 79 million pounds of food. 

More information about how to donate can be found at OhioFoodbanks.org/Coronavirus

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 531,850 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,298 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 31,142 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,090 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 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: Antigen Testing, K-12 Education Update, DataOhio Portal

(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. 

OHIO CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS

In the past 24 hours, Ohio reported 9,273 new coronavirus cases, the sixth highest count reported in one day since the pandemic. 336 new hospitalizations were reported and 40 new patients are in intensive care. An additional 63 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio, surpassing 7,000 total deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.   

ANTIGEN TESTING UPDATE

Governor DeWine discussed the Ohio Department of Health aligning with the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current case definition. In August, the CDC changed the case definition of antigen testing to include case counts without additional verification.  Ohio has continued to manually verify an epidemiological link, such as a known positive contact, with an antigen positive test result.

Tomorrow, December 8, the department will begin including antigen tests without an epidemiological link in the total case count. This will result in a one-day spike in reported cases from pending positive antigen cases. 

“After understanding more about the antigen testing, the CDC changed their definition. Our epidemiologists have alerted us that they are no longer able to keep up with the manual verification process of antigen testing because there is so much COVID-19 spread in Ohio,” said Governor DeWine. “Antigen tests have become a bigger part of our overall picture of understanding COVID-19, and it’s important to capture that information.”

Not all pending cases will be translated into new cases.  Cases will be checked and duplicate records will be removed. Cases will also be assigned to their appropriate onset date.

K-12 EDUCATION UPDATE

The Ohio Department of Education continues to report limited spread of COVID-19 in a classroom setting, but an increase of community spread from informal gatherings outside of school.

The department also tracks how many districts are hosting in-person, hybrid, or remote learning. 

“This week, you can see that a lot of districts, especially in northeast Ohio, are fully remote.  Once we get community spread under control, schools will feel safe going back to in-person learning," said Governor DeWine. 

Education Delivery Model

DATAOHIO PORTAL

Lt. Governor Husted announced the launch of the DataOhio Portal, which delivers datasets and interactive visualizations to Ohioans.  This portal delivers unprecedented access through an innovative, data-sharing platform for state agencies and their partners. 

We’ve all learned over the past year how critical data is to tackling our biggest challenges,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “The IOP team has built a one-stop-shop for the state’s data, providing a secure approach to data access and displaying datasets that, in some cases, are available now for the first time. This collaboration will help Ohio make better public policy decisions so we can better serve the people of our state."

ADDITIONAL GUESTS

During today’s briefing, Governor DeWine was joined by two nurses who discussed their experiences treating patients with coronavirus.

Lisa Burich, a registered nurse and emergency room team lead at Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, discussed the conditions seen for admitted coronavirus patients and the concern of spreading COVID-19 from the hospital setting.

CJ Adams, nurse manager at TriHealth Bethesda North Hospital, discussed the challenges associated with bed and staffing capacities. Adams was a Captain in the Air Force Reserves and shared how her military experience has helped build her leadership and resiliency skills.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 484,297 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,022 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 29,569 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,943 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.

OHIO STATE STUDY FINDS SPECIFIC PROTEINS INHIBIT OR ENHANCE VIRUS THAT CAUSES COVID-19

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study in human and mouse cell lines shows that specific proteins that have long been studied as inhibitors of influenza can also inhibit SARS-CoV-2, the type of coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

Findings of the study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State College of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are published online in The EMBO Journal.

The research team focused on studying interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) that are known to restrict infections by many viruses. According to past research on IFITMs and common cold coronaviruses, whether IFITMs are antiviral depends on the specific virus.

“Our new findings are potentially quite important because there are people who have mutations in the IFITM3 gene, possibly making them more susceptible not only to influenza but also SARS-CoV-2,” said co-author Jacob Yount, an associate professor of Microbial Infection and Immunity and co-director of the Viruses and Emerging Pathogens Program at Ohio State’s Infectious Disease Institute. “We also made a somewhat surprising finding that, under certain circumstances, the virus can actually hijack IFITM3 for its own benefit to enhance entry into cells, which is very different from the flu. The full importance of this unusual ability of SARS-CoV-2 is unclear and will need more research.”

In March, as COVID-19 was first sweeping the country, Yount and two members of his team were among the first researchers at Ohio State granted access to a specialized, high-security biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory on campus to study live strains of coronavirus. BSL-3 laboratories often work on microbes that can cause serious or potentially lethal disease through inhalation, such as the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

The researchers underwent specialized training and wore two sets of gloves, along with disposable gowns and booties, and used air-purifying respirators while working inside the secure facility.

As the Ohio State team was studying “genuine” coronavirus, their collaborators at the NCI were examining SARS-CoV-2 Spike-pseudotyped virus, which is a surrogate virus system that uses the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein for entry into cells. This system can be studied in standard biology laboratories.

“Our team at the NCI, using pseudotyped virus, came to many of the same conclusions as the Ohio State group regarding effects of IFITMs on SARS-CoV-2. Combining our data into a joint publication strengthened our confidence in the conclusions,” said co-author Alex Compton, who studies HIV at the NCI’s Retroviral Replication Laboratory.

SARS-CoV-2 can enter cells two ways –through fusion with the surface of cells or through a process called endocytosis. The researchers discovered that IFITMs inhibit the portion of virus that enters cells through endocytosis, and, conversely, enhance entry of virus at the cell surface.

“In 12 years of studying IFITMs, we’ve never encountered a virus that can use IFITMs for its own benefit,” Yount said.

They further found an additional cellular factor that, when present, shifts the balance of IFITM activities toward enhancement of infection. This factor is present to different extents in different organs of the body, and has been suggested to increase with age.

“We’re continuing to research whether IFITMs might have distinct effects in different cell types,” Compton said.

The team also found that mouse IFITMs have an overall inhibitory effect similar to those seen for human IFITMs in many of their experiments. They hypothesize that mice lacking IFITMs might serve as a model for severe COVID-19 in which vaccines and therapeutics could be tested.  

This research is supported by funding from The Ohio State University Office of Research and the National Institutes of Health. 

Other researchers involved in this study include equal contributing co-first authors Adam Kenney of Ohio State and Scarlett Shi of NCI, as well as Kin Kui Lai of NCI, and Ohio State researchers Ashley Zani, Lizhi Zhang, Dmitri Kudryashov, Elena Kudryashova, Luanne Hall-Stoodley and Richard T. Robinson.

COVID-19 Update: Increasing Positivity Rate, New Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard

(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. 

OHIO CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS 

In the past 24 hours, Ohio reported 8,921 new coronavirus cases, the fifth-highest case count reported in one day since the start of the pandemic. Nearly 400 more hospitalizations were reported, and an additional 82 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio.

COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high with 5,142 patients currently hospitalized. Of those, 1,204 patients are in intensive care. 

Current Confirmed COVID-19 Patient Count


Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, warned that Ohio is not yet seeing the impact of gatherings that took place over Thanksgiving because hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. Symptoms generally develop within 10 days of transmission, and hospitalizations typically occur a week after diagnosis.

"This is not the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning," said Dr. Thomas. "Hospitals are in a very difficult spot here, and we're just now heading into the most challenging three months of the pandemic. ICU beds are an area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state, especially in rural areas."

"We are in crisis. Hospitals across Ohio are running out of beds, healthcare workers are burned out and stretched thin, and our hospitals are stressed to the extreme," said Dr. Nora Colburn, associate medical director for clinical epidemiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Hospitals around the state are delaying non-emergency procedures which will impact routine healthcare. The bottom line is that non-COVID patients are being crowded out of the system and won't be able to get the care they need to stay healthy. We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus."

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Lake, Lorain, Medina, Montgomery, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit counties. Cuyahoga, Fairfield, and Madison counties were moved to the Watch List.

Franklin County dropped from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3, however, Dr. Thomas urged county residents to remain vigilant. 

"This does not mean that Franklin County is out of the woods," said Dr. Thomas. "We still have a rate of cases that is six-times higher than the definition of high incidence. That is not good. We are not on our way down yet." 

Ohio Public Health Advisory System


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.

OHIO POSITIVITY

According to this week's ODH travel advisory, this is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15 percent.

The travel advisory encourages all Ohioans to help to limit the spread and impact of this virus by staying home except for necessary trips for supplies. The advisory also urges Ohioans to consistently wear masks when around others and frequently wash their hands.

ODH requests that anyone who must travel to any other state with a positivity rate of 15 percent or more self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. ODH also asks any non-Ohioans entering the state from one of these areas to do the same.

Travel Advisory Map


RETAIL COMPLIANCE UNIT DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard is now available online at coronavirus.ohio.gov

The new dashboard includes information on the number of retailers visited by agents, how many customers and employees were properly wearing masks, how many establishments had proper signage, and the number of warnings issued. The dashboard will be updated each Thursday.

The Retail Compliance Unit was created within the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to help keep businesses open and safe for customers and employees. 

MASKS AND THOSE WITH DISABILITIES

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that some individuals with disabilities may not be able to wear a mask.

"While it’s crucial that those of us who can wear face masks do wear face masks, we should all remember that when we see someone in public without a mask it may be someone with a disability who may not be able to wear one," said Governor DeWine. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 446,849 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,753 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 28,281 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,814 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 reveals shortages in rural health care

 

(Nov. 25) In spring 2020, we heard terrible stories of overburdened hospitals leading to preventable deaths in Italy. Soon after, these stories started to hit closer to home—New York City.

Now, as  COVID-19 surges to a new peak, these shortages have even reached rural areas, where hospital systems are already often under-resourced and understaffed.

Across the country, rural communities are seeing record numbers of hospitalizations. As of last week, in the region surrounding Platte County, Nebraska, there was only one available intensive care unit (ICU) bed. In late October, North Dakota had only 16 available ICU beds in the entire state, and South Dakota was not far behind. As a result, urban hospitals, themselves overburdened, are seeing rural patients who have been unable to find care in their own area.

Federal and state officials have made moves to increase hospital capacity, including streamlining medical licensing requirements and waiving telehealth regulations. These could help patients to seek care through routes that put less stress on overburdened hospitals.

In the long term, the pandemic has exposed that rural hospitals often lack resources and staffing. This should turn the attention of health care professionals and policymakers toward addressing those shortages. 

Getting more rural people insured, eliminating the Medicare sequester for rural hospitals permanently, and allowing those facilities to transition, when appropriate, to outpatient care can be a place to start. 

More creative solutions will be needed in the coming years to make sure rural communities have access to adequate health care.

- - -

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

COVID-19 Update: 5,060 Hospitalizations, New Indoor Air Quality Program

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

HOSPITALIZATIONS & ICU ADMISSIONS

Ohio's COVID-19 hospitalizations have hit an all-time high at 5,060 people hospitalized with the coronavirus across Ohio as compared to just under 1,700 COVID-19 patients on November 1. Of Ohio's currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, there are 1,180 individuals in intensive care units and 682 people are on ventilators. 

According to Dr. Andy Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, one-third of ICU patients across Ohio have COVID and one-third of individuals on ventilators have COVID.

"COVID patients are going to start crowding out other people who need that level of care as these numbers continue to rise," said Dr. Thomas. "The reality is that hospitals are making difficult decisions about delaying care. It may be non-urgent care, but it's care that may cause someone to go to the ICU after surgery. A lot of hospitals are delaying those surgeries because they can't afford their ICUs to be overtaxed."

Dr. Thomas reported that rural areas are being hit particularly hard right now, and several hospitals are beginning to voice concerns about their ability to manage such a high number of intensive care patients. As the total number of COVID patients grows, smaller community hospitals will be unable to expand their intensive care capacity. 

For individuals who traveled over Thanksgiving, Dr. Thomas urged them to quarantine upon return to Ohio to break any possible chain of transmission. 

COVID-19 INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

Governor DeWine today announced a new program to help improve indoor air quality and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 at senior living facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living centers, and adult day centers. 

The $28 million program was created using federal CARES Act funding to address indoor air quality through HVAC inspections, portable air filtration systems, new filtration systems, maintenance on current systems, and other interventions. Eligible recipients can receive up to $15,000.

“As we move into colder months and spend more time inside, proper ventilation and filtration are even more important to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor DeWine.

The program was approved by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors at a special meeting Wednesday. BWC will administer the program and applications are available at bwc.ohio.gov. Additional questions about the program should be emailed to [email protected].

STATE OF OHIO EMPLOYEES

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ohio, Governor DeWine has delayed Ohio's plan to resume in-person work at state-owned facilities. A gradual, phased approach was expected to begin in January. Governor DeWine also encouraged other employers to allow employees to work at home to the extent possible.

ADDITIONAL GUESTS

During today's briefing, Governor DeWine was joined by four nurses who discussed their experiences treating patients with coronavirus. 

Stacey Morris, a COVID unit nurse manager at Cleveland Clinic Akron General, discussed the role nurses play when patients are admitted, as they fight for their lives, and, in the worst circumstances, when they must say goodbye to their loved ones. 

Carrie Watkins, assistant director for nursing at Genacross Lutheran Services in Holland, Ohio, discussed the surge in COVID cases that are experienced in nursing homes each time there is a surge in community spread. 

Dara Pence, ICU nurse manager at Ohio Health's Riverside Hospital in Columbus, discussed the unpredictability of the virus and the tragedies that she has witnessed due to COVID-19. 

Jamie Giere, a nurse and team leader for the COVID unit at Premier Health's Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy, Ohio, discussed the surge in patients over the past three weeks and her concerns that the public does not fully understand what is happening in Ohio's hospitals.

NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH

On this final day of National Adoption Month, Governor DeWine encouraged Ohioans to consider fostering or adopting a child. In Ohio, there are 3,000 children waiting for a family, including 11-year-old Alex, who is featured in the video below. 

National Adoption Month

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 421,063 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,429 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 26,864 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,682 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: Record Number of Hospital Admissions 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—This afternoon, Governor DeWine was joined by leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association to discuss the status of hospital capacity and healthcare personnel needs in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the state.

Today, Ohio reported 282 new hospitalizations in the last 24 hours. Additionally, Ohio reported 11,885 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Due to an electronic lab reporting technology issue, information from multiple labs was not processed for two proceeding days and was consequently included in today's report. 

“On Thursday, Ohio hospitals had more than 3,800 COVID-19 patients, which was the highest patient count we had seen so far.  Today, we are reporting 4,358 COVID-19 hospitalized patients,” said Governor DeWine. “The virus is quickly spreading throughout our entire state and is dramatically impacting all of our healthcare zones and their ability to care for patients.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio Hospital Association to develop a comprehensive statewide public health system to ensure that all Ohioans have access to quality care during the pandemic. As part of this process, the state was divided into three healthcare zones. Leaders of each zone provided an update on hospital capacity in their regions. 

Zone 1

ZONE 1

Zone 1 has seen a consistent climb in COVID-19 hospitalizations in recent weeks. Additionally, Zone 1 is experiencing a sharp increase in caregivers becoming ill with COVID-19. 

“My biggest concern today is that within the Cleveland Clinic system, alone, we had 970 caregivers out due to coronavirus,” said Robert Wyllie, MD of the Cleveland Clinic. “These caregivers are not catching this in the hospital, but rather in the community.  As the community spread increases, so does the number of caregivers who are in quarantine from exposure or who are sick with coronavirus.”

Zone 2

ZONE 2

Two weeks ago, Zone 2 hit a milestone of 560 COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the region.

“On November 2, Zone 2 had 400 patients in our hospitals.  And not even three weeks later, on November 21, we surpassed over 900 patients,” said Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Until we see cases peak and start to come down in a sustained way, Ohio will continue to see hospitalizations rise.”

Zone 3

ZONE 3

Additionally, Zone 3 has seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations throughout the region.  

“In late September, Zone 3 had 90 hospitalizations. This was at a time when we were opening businesses, and kids were going back to school,” said Richard Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP, and president and CEO of UC Health. “This really speaks to us because we know how to keep this virus at bay. But, unfortunately this virus is now everywhere.”

The increase in hospitalizations throughout the region has taken a toll on caregivers, as well. Several hospitals in Zone 3 have reported a nursing shortage.

RURAL HOSPITALS

Ronda Lehman, PharmD, MBA, FACHE and president of Mercy Health, also discussed the hospital capacity among many rural communities.

“The number of coronavirus patients who require hospitalizations are happening at a faster rate than we are discharging them," said  Lehman. "The ability to discharge patients safely with adequate care, such as providing oxygen or skilled nursing home placement, is also burdened like our hospital systems.”

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 363,304 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,020 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 24,705 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,454 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: Critical Hospitalization Levels, New Childcare Dashboards

(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. 

CRITICAL HOSPITALIZATION LEVELS

As of today, there are 3,829 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Ohio, with 943 of those individuals in the ICU. These are the highest patient counts Ohio has had during the pandemic and more than double the hospitalizations recorded during previous peaks.

While statewide testing has increased by 43 percent, positive cases have increased by nearly 300 percent in the past month. 

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health revealed today that Franklin County has reached a Level 4 Purple Public Emergency with severe exposure and spread. All 88 counties remain at "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the first time, no counties are rated below Level 2. 

"Other counties may not yet be seeing continuous, uninterrupted increases in the same way as Franklin County, but make no mistake - almost all counties are seeing more cases and more healthcare use that could threaten the medical system if they continue," said Governor DeWine.

Ohio Public Health Advisory System Nov. 19


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.

SENATE BILL 311

Governor DeWine today announced his intention to veto Senate Bill 311 if passed by the Ohio General Assembly.  The bill, which is currently under consideration in the Ohio House of Representatives, would severely limit the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to issue orders necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases now and in the future.  

"Imagine if a country hostile to the United States smuggles a biological agent into our state and unleashes it in Ohio - our state would need to respond quickly to quarantine the area to stop its spread. This bill would make Ohio slow to respond in a crisis and would put our citizens in severe danger," said Governor DeWine. "I've always listened to the advice of experts, and the experts are telling me this is a dangerous idea. Doctors, nurses, and scientists have all advised me that this bill would do great harm if it became law."

CHILDCARE DASHBOARDS

Two new COVID-19 dashboards tracking the number of cases at Ohio child care centers are now available. 

The first dashboard tracks the number of children and staff cases in individual centers. Because of the small size of home-based providers, many of which serve six or fewer children, positive COVID cases from children and adults in those facilities will be tracked by county on a separate dashboard.

RETAIL COMPLIANCE UPDATE:

Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit has visited more than 50 percent of Ohio counties in its first three days. Agents have observed over 90 percent compliance in social distancing and mask-wearing in retail establishments, a noticeable improvement.  

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 326,615 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,890 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 23 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,22 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.

Mercy temporarily stops hospital visitation, effective November 12

Canton, Ohio: At Mercy Medical Center, we continue to see increases in COVID-19 cases, and their need for hospitalization is at an all-time high. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Mercy Medical Center joins many other hospitals around the state to temporarily stop all hospital visitation, effective Thursday, Nov. 12. Mercy Medical Center will continue to allow one support person for our maternity patients, and that support person must be the same person throughout the stay. Surgical/procedural patients are allowed one visitor during this time period.

Exceptions to the visitation policy will be made on a case-by-case basis, such as end-of-life and critical patient situations.

COVID-19 Update: 21-Day Statewide Curfew

 

(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 CURFEW

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will be issuing a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew beginning on Thursday, November 19. The curfew will be in effect for 21 days. 

The curfew will not apply to those going to or from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to a pharmacy. Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery will be permitted, but serving food and drink in person must cease at 10 p.m. 

Additional details on the 21-day curfew order are forthcoming.

"We're not shutting down, we're slowing down," said Governor DeWine. "The curfew is aimed at helping to reduce the number of person-to-person contacts because the only way virus lives is when it goes from one person to another. We have to flatten this curve again and get this under control."

The decision to impose a 21-day curfew was made with input from the medical and business communities with consideration to the economic and mental health impacts that another shutdown could cause. 

"This is a balanced approach that will slow down people coming together and impact the spread of the virus to the point that it can be controlled, and at the same time, not cause a catastrophic effect in the economy," said Lt. Governor Husted. "You have to care about both the economy and health - you can't just care about one in isolation. Based on all of the recommendations we considered, a curfew was the most impactful option with the least disruption." 

Governor DeWine also encouraged Ohioans to do one thing each day that will decrease the spread of the virus through mask-wearing, social distancing, and limiting the number of daily contacts.  

VACCINE PREPOSITIONING

Governor DeWine today provided details on Ohio's vaccine prepositioning plan. 

The Ohio Department of Health has identified 10 sites across the state that will receive the pre-positioned vaccine after a COVID-19 vaccine is given emergency-use authorization. Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issues its recommendation on how to use the vaccine, these sites will begin administering the vaccine immediately to those who choose to receive it and are identified as able to receive it in the first stage.

Ohio will first vaccinate those who are most at risk, including those who work in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and other congregate-care facilities, high-risk health care workers, and first responders.  

The ten pre-positioned sites were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity. Other sites will begin receiving shipments of vaccine following final approval, potentially just days after the pre-positioned sites begin administering the vaccine.  

Governor DeWine once again encouraged citizens to remain vigilant in practicing safety measures until a vaccine is available.

Ohio vaccine pre-positioning locations

HOME AND HEALTHY FOR THE HOLIDAYS

As students at Ohio’s colleges and universities are preparing to head home for the holidays, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and Ohio Hospital Association are launching a new campaign to encourage students to keep themselves and family members safe while they're at home. 

The "Home and Healthy for the Holidays" campaign will provide tips for students to follow before, during, and after holiday travel. The campaign will also share information for students on what they should do if they have no access to testing or if they receive a positive or negative test result. 

College students are encouraged to share how they plan to be safe during the holidays by posting to social media using the hashtags #HomeandHealthyfortheHolidays and #BackOnCampus21.

Safely celebrate the holiday season

NEW HOLIDAY GUIDE

Governor DeWine announced the release of a new holiday celebration guide from the Ohio Department of Health to help families celebrate safely during the 2020-2021 holiday season. 

The guide provides alternatives to large in-person celebrations for a variety of holidays, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Orthodox New Year, and others. 

"This year’s holidays will look different as we make adjustments to keep our loved ones and ourselves healthy, so we can celebrate together in the future," said Governor DeWine. "Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, please keep the celebration small, and wear as mask and stay socially distanced if you absolutely must celebrate with individuals outside of your household."

The holiday gathering guide is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 312,443 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,772 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 22,846 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,250 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: New Zip Code, Flu Dashboards, $30 Million to Assist Ohio Health Departments 

(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 HIGH INCIDENCE 

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that all 88 counties in Ohio remain at "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to today's updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, 68 counties are currently rated as having a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 56 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. 

Both Franklin and Tuscarawas counties met six of seven advisory-system indicators and are approaching Purple Level 4. 

Ohio also had another record-breaking day for new cases reported in a 24-hour period, with 7,101 cases reported between yesterday and today. A total of 268 new hospitalizations were reported, as well as 35 more deaths.

Ohio Public Health Advisory System Nov 12

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 ZIP CODE DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine today announced the creation of a new zip code dashboard. Ohioans can now view data from their local communities and filter data by probable or confirmed case status, county, a specific zip code, or a specific time period.

Case counts will also be available on a downloadable, filterable chart sorted from the most cases to the least. To protect confidentiality, case counts for zip codes with fewer than five cases or less than 100 total residents will not be displayed.

The new zip code dashboard can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov

NEW FLU DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine also announced a new flu dashboard that expands the statewide data that the Ohio Department of Health shares on seasonal flu activity each year.

The new dashboard shows flu trends over time with charts that indicate whether flu hospitalizations or cases of flu-like illness are on the rise or decline as compared to the previous week and compared to the five-year average data.

Hospitalization data is broken down by region, county, date, sex, age, race, and ethnicity. The data shows only positive flu PCR tests reported by public health laboratories and selected clinical laboratories that participate in the national flu monitoring system.

Additional data will be added moving forward, and the dashboard will be updated every Friday at 9 a.m.

The new flu dashboard can be found at flu.ohio.gov.

FUNDING FOR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Governor DeWine announced that the state is setting aside $30 million to assist the state’s 113 local health departments. Each department will receive $200,000 and will have the flexibility to determine how to best use the funds as they see fit to fight COVID-19. 

The remaining money will be used to hire contact tracers to support local health departments. Contact tracers will deploy where they are needed across the state to assist in identifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and prevent further spread.

GRANT ASSISTANCE STILL AVAILABLE

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today reminded Ohio small businesses that the application period for the Small Business Relief Grant and Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is now open.

The Small Business Relief Grant provides a $10,000 grant to small businesses with at least one but no more than 25 employees. The grant funding will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including mortgage or rent payments; utility payments; salaries, wages, or compensation for employees and contractors; business supplies or equipment; and other costs. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure the grants are spread throughout the state, $500,000 will be set aside for businesses in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. When a county’s allocation is depleted, businesses in that county will be eligible to receive grants from the remaining funds in the overall grant program.

The Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund provides $2,500 for those permit holders who haven’t been able to fully use their liquor permit. Businesses with an on-premise consumption permit through the Ohio Department of Commerce will be eligible to receive $2,500 per unique business location. Businesses need to have an active on-premise permit as of close of business on October 23, 2020.

More information can be found at BusinessHelp.Ohio.gov.

BRENT SPENCE BRIDGE

Governor DeWine today signed a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Hamilton County due to the catastrophic crash that heavily damaged the Brent Spence Bridge which connects Cincinnati and Kentucky. 

Although Kentucky leads all bridge maintenance, Governor DeWine authorized the Ohio Department of Transportation to assist with repairs so that the bridge can reopen as soon as possible.

The state of emergency declaration will allow Ohio to recover bridge repair expenses from the Federal Emergency Relief Program. 

GOVERNOR'S IMAGINATION LIBRARY

First Lady Fran DeWine announced today that the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program is now being offered to children in all of Ohio's 88 counties. 

Kids from birth to age five statewide are now eligible to receive a free book in the mail each month, no matter what county they live in.

When First Lady DeWine started this program with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, only a handful of counties offered the books and 13 percent of Ohio children were enrolled. 

Parents are encouraged to enroll their kids in this free literary program. To sign up, visit ohioimaginationlibrary.org Learn more about the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library in the video below. 

Governor's Imagination Library

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 267,356 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,623 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 21,290 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,122 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 Calls on Ohioans to Recommit to Safety Practices, Announces New Mask, Social Distancing Orders

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— In a statewide address to Ohioans Wednesday evening, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called on citizens to recommit to their individual efforts to prevent coronavirus spread as Ohio moves through its most intense, widespread, and dangerous surge of cases to date.

Ohio is currently facing a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions, with nearly 3,000 people in the hospital, including more than 700 people in the ICU. During the first week of November alone, 104 Ohioans infected with the coronavirus died.

“With this new wave of COVID-19, the onset of flu season, and an already-exhausted group of healthcare workers, there are serious concerns that there won’t be enough people to fully staff our healthcare facilities in the next few weeks,” said Governor DeWine. “If we don’t change this, Ohio won’t be able to provide appropriate care for COVID patients or for Ohioans who require other emergency care for things like accidents, strokes, and heart attacks. Hospitals will again be forced to postpone important, but less urgent, care.”

Although testing capacity in Ohio has nearly doubled, the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has increased almost four times. At the end of September, Ohio averaged under 1,000 new cases per day; this week, Ohio hit a record high of more than 6,500 new cases reported in a single 24-hour period.

“As we wait for the vaccine, which could come as soon as December, we have so much to protect,” said Governor DeWine. “What each Ohioan does in his or her own life impacts every citizen and every place we desperately want and need to keep open– our schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and businesses.”

To reinforce the necessity of wearing masks and slowing virus spread, Governor DeWine announced two forthcoming orders:

Revised Mask Order

Although most people and businesses have properly followed COVID-19 safety guidelines issued in Ohio’s July 23, 2020, mask order, others are not following the order.

To protect frontline workers and customers, the Ohio Department of Health will reissue Ohio’s mask order and add the following provisions:

  • Each store will be required to post a sign outlining face-covering requirements at all public entrances to the store;
  • Each store will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks; and
  • A new Retail Compliance Unit, comprised of agents led by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, will inspect to ensure compliance. A first violation will result in a written warning and a second violation will result in closure of the store for up to 24 hours.

New Social Gathering Order

Ohio’s April order that limits public events and private gatherings of more than 10 people is still in effect, however, there has been rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals.

To address the tragedies that have resulted from such events, the Ohio Department of Health will issue an order that will place significant new restrictions on these social activities. Specifically, open congregate areas will no longer be permitted to open, and everyone will be required to be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks.

Bars, restaurants, and fitness centers may remain open, but this will be reassessed one week from tomorrow for potential closure. 

“If the current trend continues and cases keep increasing, we will be forced to make these closures,” said Governor DeWine. “I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and owners, but these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus.”

For Governor DeWine’s entire address, visit ohiochannel.org or read his prepared remarks at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

PRESS RELEASE FROM LOUISVILLE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

In order to limit the exposure to COVID 19, Louisville City Schools has transitioned Louisville High School students to remote learning beginning Thursday, November 12 through Friday, November 20.  Louisville High School currently has 7 positive cases of COVID and many students and staff members have been asked to quarantine or stay home due to contact tracing.  Students will return to the building on Monday, November 23. 

The district’s elementary and middle schools and RG Drage will remain open. “We do not take the decision to close Louisville High School lightly,” said Superintendent Michele Shaffer. “We are closing Louisville High School out of an abundance of caution for our students, staff and families. Students who were currently learning in-school will receive instruction online from their teachers who will be available during school hours for instruction and questions. Louisville High School families have received remote learning information and schedules and an “all call” will go out to families about meal pick up.

The district will continue to reevaluate the situation and communicate any additional details.

COVID-19 Update: Unprecedented Spike in Hospital Admissions

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— This afternoon, Governor DeWine was joined by incoming Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association to discuss the status of hospital capacity in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge throughout the state.

There are currently over 2,500 hospitalizations statewide, up from 2,000 hospitalizations on Thursday. A total of 154 hospitalizations were reported in the last 24 hours alone.

"In Ohio, we are seeing an unprecedented spike in hospital utilization and it is impacting all areas of the state. While we are better prepared with personal protective equipment and physical capacity, what we are seeing now is an increasing demand on our staffing," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "If we don't control the spread of this virus, we won't be able to care for those who are acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent, care. We anticipate that this kind of shift could happen in a matter of weeks if trends don't change."

“The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more dire for Ohio as hospitalizations have escalated 350 percent in the past 50 days to 2,533 COVID patients in Ohio hospitals today,” said Mike Abrams, president and CEO, Ohio Hospital Association. “Our hospitals are capable of managing capacity needs, but we must stem the spread now. This steep climb creates a severe strain on our caregivers who are braving the frontline of this pandemic. We can stop this spread, and we call on Ohioans to join hospitals and caregivers to take action now and do the right thing to slow the spread.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio Hospital Association to develop a comprehensive statewide public health system to ensure that all Ohioans have access to quality care during the pandemic. As part of this process, the state was divided into three healthcare zones. Leaders of each zone provided an update on hospital capacity in their regions. 

Healthcare Zone 1

ZONE 1

Of all hospitalizations in the state, more than 50 percent are in Zone 1, but there are currently enough hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), medication, and ventilators. Total beds utilized and intensive care beds utilized in Zone 1 currently stands at 70 to 75 percent. This zone, however, is seeing many caregivers becoming ill with COVID-19. At the Cleveland Clinic alone, there are currently 300 caregivers out due to the coronavirus. 

"It's not because they're catching COVID in the hospital. What we're seeing is they're catching it in the community," said Robert Wyllie, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "What we're asking everyone to do is double down. Now is the time to wear a mask and socially distance - if not to protect your family and friends, do it to protect the caregivers who protect COVID patients and other hospitalized patients."

Healthcare Zone 2

ZONE 2

Last Monday, Zone 2 hit a milestone of 400 patients in the hospital, and by Friday, the number surpassed 500 patients. Today there are over 560 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Zone 2.

Because patients are normally admitted 7 to 14 days after symptoms arise, hospitals are expecting to see hospitalizations continue to increase for at least two weeks after COVID-19 cases peak which could impact non-COVID care.

"We need the citizens of Ohio do to the same things they did in the spring and summer - take seriously masking, distancing, washing hands, and especially avoiding large gatherings of people you don't live with where you can't control your environment and you can't protect yourself or loved ones from someone in that crowd who is asymptomatic positive," said Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Healthcare Zone 3

ZONE 3

Zone 3 has had an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the beginning of October. There are over 670 patients hospitalized today, as compared to 300 patients at the peak of the previous surge in July. In the greater-Cincinnati area, the positivity rate had been approximately 3 percent but is now standing at approximately 8 percent. 

In Zone 3, the growth of hospitalizations is doubling every three weeks. Right now, Zone 3 can accommodate the current capacity of patients, but if the doubling of cases continues to accelerate, this zone could exhaust resources and may have to defer non-COVID care. 

"If we do what we did in the past - adhering to social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands, and not expanding your personal bubble, we can bring the spread of this virus under control," said Richard Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP, and president and CEO of UC Health.

RURAL HOSPITALS

Ronda Lehman, president of Mercy Health, Lima region, also discussed the hospital capacity in their hospital system, which encompasses many rural communities. There is currently adequate capacity of PPE, ventilators, and hospital beds, however, hospitalizations are increasing. On October 5, the hospital system had 17 COVID-19 patients, and today they are treating 75 patients who are COVID-19 positive.

"This is a stark challenge for us because this is in addition to the normal fall flu and critical illness admissions, and it's not sustainable," said Lehman. "This is not a metro problem, this is a statewide and countrywide problem. Those in small communities should recognize that their behaviors do have a substantial impact to their neighbors, their local hospitals, the people they worship with, the people they go to school with, and the people they care about in their circles."

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 254,974 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,524 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 20,651 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,047 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: Record-Breaking Cases, COVID Defense Teams

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

RECORD-BREAKING CASES

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio has now hit a record number of cases reported in a single 24-hour period. Between yesterday and today, health officials have reported a total of 3,590 new positive coronavirus cases in Ohio which is more than 700 cases more than the previous high number of cases reported last Saturday. A total of 194 new hospitalizations were also reported in the past 24 hours, the third-highest number of hospitalizations reported in a single day so far. 

"The virus is raging throughout the state, and there is no place to hide," said Governor DeWine. "We must face this virus head-on with the tools that we know can beat this virus back: masks, social distancing, washing hands frequently, and good ventilation when inside."

UPDATED OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY 

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 43 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 38 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. As of today, 78 percent of Ohioans are living in a Red Level 3 county. Less than 1 percent of Ohioans live in a Yellow Level 1 county.

"Despite the grim data that we see today, I am confident that we can slow down this invader," said Governor DeWine. "The decisions Ohioans make each day will determine the outcome of this battle. We must mask more, keep distance more, and simply be more careful. We can control our destiny."

Ohio Public Health Advisory System


Although Clark, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton counties are no longer listed on Ohio's watch list, there are still serious concerns about spread of the coronavirus in these counties. 

"Our alert system is designed to flag indicators that are getting worse, and what we are seeing is that these three counties have plateaued at high levels," said Governor DeWine.

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.

COVID DEFENSE TEAMS

Governor DeWine today called on community leaders in each county to immediately form a local COVID Defense Team consisting of county commissioners, mayors, local hospital leaders, health commissioners, business leaders, religious leaders, and other local leaders. 

Each COVID Defense Team will be responsible for assessing COVID-19 spread in their communities, taking inventory of the assets in the community, and focusing on what steps are necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus among their citizens. 

LEARNING AID 

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities has partnered with Governor DeWine’s Children’s Initiative to provide financial support to  families who may need supplemental assistance outside of what is provided by their child's Individualized Education Programs (IEP).

Learning Aid Ohio was created to connect tutors, aides, or in-home providers who can offer distance learning support for students with disabilities on IEPs. The primary goal of Learning Aid Ohio is to provide opportunities for meaningful educational experiences for students on IEPs learning full-time on a digital platform. 

Applications can be submitted at www.LearningOhio.com.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 208,937 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,275 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 18,800 people have been hospitalized, including 3,816 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: Updated County Risk Levels, Election Update

(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 announced that 82 of Ohio's 88 counties are now considered high incidence counties as defined by the federal government. This means that the county has seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks.

88 Counties Ranked by Occurrence

High incidence counties are highlighted blue.

Governor DeWine also announced that number of patients treated in Intensive Care Units at hospitals throughout the state are at the highest rate since the beginning of the crisis. He said that based on the indicators we have not yet reached the peak of our hospitalizations, and the ICU utilization has doubled since the beginning of October. Governor DeWine explained that most of Ohio’s cases are a result of community spread.

“As the virus spreads in the community from gatherings where people aren’t wearing masks or social distancing, it directly impacts our ability to keep our schools open, to protect our vulnerable elderly in nursing homes, and to keep our hospitals from being over-run and exceeding capacity,” said Governor DeWine. 

Confirmed COVID-19 Patient Count

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans of the fundamental ways to stop the spread of the virus.

  • Wear a mask when you are out in public, when you go to a store, and when you are with friends.
  • Keep your distance.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Keep your building well-ventilated. 

He also asked Ohio businesses to allow employees to work from home, when possible; to remind employees of the ways they can stop the spread of the virus; and require customers to wear masks.

Governor DeWine also called on community leaders to inventory where they are in the battle against COVID-19. He asked them to work together to assess where they are, what they need to do, and set goals in their fight against the virus. The Governor and Lt. Governor will begin calls with the community leaders to develop strategies forward, starting with the three counties on the watch list.

ELECTION UPDATE

Governor DeWine was joined by Secretary of State Frank LaRose today for an update on the election on November 2, 2020. Secretary LaRose outlined the precautions that the Board of Election offices are taking to keep Ohioans safe while voting. Secretary LaRose also reminded Ohioans that they can cast their vote early in person, by mail or on election day.

Additional information about the election, such as hours of polling locations, can be found at VoteOhio.gov

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 202,740 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,239 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 18,433 people have been hospitalized, including 3,771 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.

Additional CARES Act Dollars will Help Ohio Small Business Owners

COLUMBUS, October 26, 2020 – NFIB, the state’s leading small business association, issued the following statement on the announcement by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that proposed CARES Act dollars announced Friday, October 23, have been approved by the state’s controlling board to support small business owners throughout the state. This statement can be attributed to Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“NFIB is particularly pleased that this program specifically targets help to the smallest of Ohio’s entrepreneurs, of which many were unable to access any of the federal relief funds,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“As the pandemic continues to hammer away at Ohio entrepreneurs, the opportunity to tap into additional CARES Act dollars made available by Governor Mike DeWine is certainly welcome news and much appreciated. In a recent survey, 77 percent of our members indicated they accessed a Paycheck Protection Loan. However, 88 percent of them have already exhausted the funds that they indicated mainly went to employee wages, utility costs, and rent or lease costs,” he continued.

“With so much uncertainty still looming, access to these dollars along with the rebates by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation being mailed out this week will provide vitally important resources to help keep their businesses open. We once again appreciate the strong leadership shown by Governor Mike DeWine, Speaker of the House Bob Cupp, and Senate President Larry Obhof for their understanding of just how much the small business owners of our state still need help so they can keep their doors open and their valued people employed,” Geiger concluded.

Additional CARES Act Dollars will Help Ohio Small Business Owners

COLUMBUS, October 23, 2020 – NFIB, the state’s leading small business association, issued the following statement on the announcement by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that additional CARES Act dollars would be made available to small business owners through the state. This statement can be attributed to Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“NFIB is particularly pleased that this program specifically targets help to the smallest of Ohio’s entrepreneurs, of which many were unable to access any of the federal relief funds,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“As the pandemic continues to hammer away at Ohio entrepreneurs, the opportunity to tap into additional CARES Act dollars made available by Governor Mike DeWine is certainly welcome news and much appreciated. In a recent survey, 77 percent of our members indicated they accessed a Paycheck Protection Loan. However, 88 percent of them have already exhausted the funds that they indicated mainly went to employee wages, utility costs, and rent or lease costs,” he continued.

 

“With so much uncertainty still looming, access to these dollars along with the rebates by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation being mailed out this week will provide vitally important resources to help keep their businesses open. We once again appreciate the strong leadership shown by Governor Mike DeWine, Speaker of the House Bob Cupp, and Senate President Larry Obhof for their understanding of just how much the small business owners of our state still need help so they can keep their doors open and their valued people employed,” Geiger concluded.

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For more than 75 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the one, true Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as the engine of the American economy and its biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate, and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

COVID-19 Update: Record-Breaking Hospitalizations, $1.3 Billion for Ohio Businesses, Spread from Social Gatherings

(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. 

RECORD-BREAKING HOSPITALIZATIONS

Governor DeWine announced today that hospitals across Ohio are currently treating 1,221 COVID-19 patients which is the most hospitalized patients at one time since the start of the pandemic. A total of 216 of these hospitalizations were reported in the past 24 hours which is the highest number of hospitalizations reported in a single day and more than 50 hospitalizations more than the previous high in mid-July. 

Ohio is also recording an increase in ICU admissions and ventilator utilization. 

Current Confirmed COVID-19 Count

"So far, Ohio's hospitals still have adequate remaining capacity to care for everyone who is sick, but our hospitalizations are already breaking records, and we are not seeing any signs of Ohio's case numbers slowing down," said Governor DeWine. "If we don’t buckle down, wear our masks, and take care of each other, I am very concerned that our hospitals will begin to fill up. We pushed this virus down before, and it's up to all of us to do it again."

Ohio also reported 2,015 new COVID-19 cases since yesterday. Sixty-nine of Ohio's 88 counties have a high incidence of COVID-19 spread, meaning their rate of cases is more than 100 cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks. 

SOCIAL GATHERINGS

The White House Coronavirus Task Force strongly recommends that Ohioans limit gatherings with family and friends to prevent the virus from spreading to those most at risk of complications. The recommendation follows the increase in community spread in Ohio initiated by small social gatherings.

"It’s the same thing I’m hearing when I speak with county health commissioners. They are seeing the most spread in Ohio from informal gatherings," said Governor DeWine. "We can’t let our guard down; we must keep our masks on."

Governor DeWine also urged caution for sports fans who gather this weekend to watch the Ohio State, Browns, and Bengals football games. 

$1.3 BILLION GOING TO OHIO BUSINESSES

Dividend checks from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will be mailed to employers beginning this week.  The dividend amount totals approximately $1.3 billion.

The money is being given back to employers in response to Governor DeWine's request in August that the Ohio BWC Board of Directors approve a second dividend to provide financial support for public and private employers impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

These checks will be mailed to employers throughout the end of October. 

A wide-ranging program to address the needs of struggling Ohioans, including funding for rent, mortgages, and water and sewer utility bills, as well as funding for small businesses and nonprofits, will be announced in the near future. 

OHSAA UPDATE

Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided an update from the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) on the status of high school fall sports.

OHSAA Observers have attended 458 sites, including 600 football games, at least 50 volleyball matches, and at least 50 soccer matches over the course of eight weeks.

The OHSAA provides reports to the schools following the competitions to serve as an educational opportunity for the school to improve.

LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY DASHBOARD

Ohio's new long-term care facility dashboard is now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The new dashboard outlines visitation information at nursing facilities across the state. Those with loved ones in a nursing facility can search for information by county or facility to find information on the types of visits that are offered and when they are permitted. Nursing facilities were permitted to allow indoor visitations beginning October 12. 

Details regarding the visitation guidelines for Ohio’s intermediate care facilities can be found in a public health order issued on September 24. Visitation at intermediate care facilities was permitted to resume on September 28.

VACCINE PROVIDER REGISTRATION

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has submitted its Interim Draft COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The plan is a framework on how Ohio will proceed once a vaccine is available. The plan will be available tomorrow at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

The Ohio Department of Health will also be launching a new registration tool for health care providers who would like to eventually administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers, such as local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and nursing facilities, will be notified soon with instructions about how they can register.

TEST RESULT REPORTING

The Ohio Department of Health has developed a technology solution to allow their systems to track negative test results. In response, Interim Director of Health Lance Himes today amended a directive that now requires all labs to start sharing all positive, negative, inconclusive, and invalid test results related to COVID-19 tests with the Ohio Department of Health.

Previously, labs were reporting positive COVID-19 results at the individual level and as an aggregate count for all other test results.  

"Adding these categories will allow us to gather additional data for a more complete picture of how COVID is spreading in our communities," said Governor DeWine. This will also allow us to provide positivity data by county in the coming weeks."

FLU SHOTS

Governor DeWine once again urged Ohio citizens to get their flu shots this year.  A person can become infected with both the flu virus and coronavirus at the same time.

If you become ill this season, many healthcare providers will test for both flu and COVID-19 to get a proper diagnosis. While the symptoms can be similar, COVID-19 is more serious, its symptoms last longer, those hospitalized tend to have longer hospital stays, and the virus has a higher mortality rate. 

Flu and COVID-19 Differences

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 185,639 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,083 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 17,388 people have been hospitalized, including 3,597 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 today announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed the Amended Director’s Order on the Opening of Adult Day Services and Senior Centers. Adult day services and senior centers were permitted to reopen September 21, 2020. This order makes two changes – it lifts the requirement for facilities to test all participants and staff, and clarifies that all participants must wear facial coverings.

COVID-19 Update: Updated County Risk Levels, Increased Spread in Cases

(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 29 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3):

Adams, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Highland, Lawrence, Licking, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Stark, Summit, Scioto, Union, and Warren

“We have 70 counties that are either red or high incidence. That’s 10 million Ohioans or 85% of the population, living in an area with a high risk of community transmission,” Governor DeWine said.

Governor DeWine reviewed the seven indicators of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which assess the degree of the virus’ spread in each county. The seven indicators are:

  • Indicator 1: New cases per capita
  • Indicator 2: Sustained increase in new cases
  • Indicator 3: Proportion of cases not in congregate setting
  • Indicator 4: Sustained increase in Emergency Department visits for COVID-like illness
  • Indicator 5: Sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness
  • Indicator 6: Sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions
  • Indicator 7: Intensive Care Unit bed occupancy

Ohio Public Health Advisory System Oct 15

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.

INCREASED SPREAD IN CASES

Governor DeWine also announced the state’s positivity rate was 5.4% and the seven-day average was 4.2%. This is up from September when the positivity rate was 2.7%. He reported that today Ohio has 1,042 COVID inpatients in hospitals, which is a significant increase from the 563 patients on September 20, 2020.

Governor DeWine spoke with Dr. Nick Dreher, medical director of the Population Health Innovation Institute at MetroHealth System, and Dr. David Margolius, division director of internal medicine at MetroHealth System about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Ohio.

Dr. Margolius told Ohioans that if they are planning to spend time with family and friends, they need to do it safely, by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.  Dr. Dreher reminded Ohioans that they know how to fight the spread of COVID-19 and need to continue following the proper prevention methods to avoid stress on Ohio’s hospital systems.

“The only way, the only way we can beat this virus back is to follow the prevention methods we have been talking about since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. “Stay home when you are sick. Social distance. Wear a mask. Always.”

CENSUS REMINDER

Lt. Governor Husted also reminded Ohioans that today is the last day to respond to the 2020 Census. The Census determines the spending of $675 Billion in federal funds and what portion of that funding comes back to Ohio for schools, hospitals, public safety, roads, and bridges.

Individuals can respond online at 2020Census.gov or by phone: In English – 844-330-2020 or in Spanish – 844-468-2020.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 175,843 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,038 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,824 people have been hospitalized, including 3,507 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: Increasing Cases, Childhood Vaccinations, Lab Capacity Dashboard, BinaxNOW Testing Plan

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

INCREASING CASES

Governor DeWine today cautioned that the continuing increase in COVID-19 cases indicates that significant numbers of infections are likely this winter unless citizens take steps to mitigate and control the spread of the virus. 

"Although a vaccine is on the way in the future, we can't control the timetable of the development of a vaccine - but we can control how much this flares up until then," said Governor DeWine. "We have avoided the large outbreaks that other countries and other states have seen, and so far, the combined efforts of Ohioans have kept the virus in check. We can't let our guards down now. We need to continue taking basic safety measures of wearing masks, keeping distance, and avoiding large gatherings."

In the last seven days, Ohio COVID-19 cases have averaged 1,475 cases per day by report date as compared to an average of approximately 1,000 cases per day only two weeks ago. Ohio's current positivity rate is 4.1 percent as compared to 2.7 percent on September 23 and 24. A total of 51 counties are considered high incidence and/or Alert Level 3 on Ohio's Public Health Advisory System. 

A new public service announcement featuring former Ohio State coaches Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer encourages everyone to stay in the game and to stick to the game plan. 

Ohio State Coaches PSA

CHILDHOOD VACCINES

In Ohio and across the country, there has been a decrease in vaccinations administered to protect against diseases like measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, and polio, and today Governor DeWine today encouraged parents not to delay their children's well-visit vaccinations. 

"While we do not have a vaccine yet for COVID-19, we can prevent more than a dozen other diseases from harming our children and our communities," said Governor DeWine. "It is critical that Ohioans and providers remain vigilant about keeping children up to date on these vaccines."

In the coming days, the Ohio Department of Medicaid will launch several initiatives to encourage childhood immunizations among its members.  These efforts will be aimed at increasing safe, convenient access to vaccinations by providing mobile vaccination clinics and reducing administrative barriers for providers.

Governor DeWine also unveiled a new public service announcement that stresses the importance of childhood vaccines.

Childhood Vaccines

LAB CAPACITY DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine today announced the creation of a new Lab Capacity Dashboard to help pharmacists, nursing homes, colleges and universities, employers, and others administering COVID-19 tests find a lab to run their samples. This new resource will help connect groups that are testing with available labs in order to ease turnaround times and inform Ohioans of their COVID-19 status.

The new dashboard provides self-reported information about labs that can run tests, including hours of operation, types of tests they accept, estimated turn-around time, and locations. Labs with available capacity can sign up on the website to be included in this dashboard.

BINAX-NOW TESTING PLAN

Governor DeWine today discussed plans for Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen screening tests that the federal government is providing to Ohio.

This week, Ohio is deploying thousands of these screening tests to colleges and universities to help them implement proactive screening plans. Next week, Ohio will begin sending tens of thousands of screening tests to nursing homes for both routine and outbreak testing requirements. 

Governor DeWine emphasized that lab-based PCR tests are still considered the “gold standard” test that provides the most accurate results, and antigen tests can have false positives and false negatives.

"The opportunity to test more broadly and more often make this an important step forward in our fight against COVID-19 spread, even with the lower sensitivity and specificity of these tests," said Governor DeWine. "We do have protocols to follow up on results that are most likely to be false, but we need to be aware that this is part of testing at this scale."  

Governor DeWine also cautioned that testing should not be considered a substitute for precautions such as wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.  

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 161,678 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,017 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,565 people have been hospitalized, including 3,447 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: Updated County Risk Levels, Nursing Homes Visitation Order, Women's Enterprise Certification

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s press conference was held in Marion, Ohio at the home of President Warren G. Harding.

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 18 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3): Ashland, Butler, Fayette, Hamilton, Lawrence, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto,  and Trumbull.

“We have 18 Red counties, which is more than we’ve seen since the week of July 23,” said Governor DeWine. “Additionally, there are 58 Orange counties this week, the highest ever. 96% of Ohioans are living in a Red or Orange county. The virus continues to spread quickly throughout the state, and we need to continue staying at home when sick, wearing a mask when out, and keeping at least six feet between you and those outside of your household.”

Ohio Public Health Advisory System

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.

NURSING HOME VISITATION ORDER

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes has signed the order that allows nursing facilities to permit indoor visitation beginning Monday, October 12th. In order to permit indoor visitation, facilities are required to meet certain health and safety requirements.

The visits will be limited to two visitors and will be a maximum of 30 minutes. Visitors will have to be socially distanced and wear a face covering. Visits are to occur in areas that are separate from a resident’s room.

Facilities are required to report visitation information, including visitation status, hours, maximum visitation time, and number of visitors via an online dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Facilities must register with the state by October 19th.

In addition, this order also details compassionate care visits, which are separate and distinct from normal visitation. These visits are not exclusively for end-of-life situations, but can also include situations where a resident was recently admitted to the home and are struggling with the change in environment and lack of family support.

Other situations can include when a resident is grieving someone who recently passed away, a resident that may need encouragement to eat or drink that was previously provided by a family member or caregiver and is experiencing weight loss or dehydration, or when a resident is experiencing emotional distress.

Facilities should work with residents, families, caregivers, resident representatives, clinicians, and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program to identify the need, length, and frequency of these visits.

The order is available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

H2OHIO UPDATE

Prior to today’s press conference, Governor DeWine visited the site of a future H2Ohio wetland complex in Wyandot County. The new wetland complex, with several new and restored wetlands, will be developed at the headwaters of the Blanchard River, which flows into Lake Erie. 

H2Ohio is a comprehensive, data-driven water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure, and prevent lead contamination. An important part of this plan includes expanding and protecting wetlands throughout the state.

OHIO TASK FORCE ONE

Governor DeWine acknowledged Ohio’s Task Force One as they were activated and deployed yesterday to assist those impacted by Hurricane Delta in Louisiana. Ohio’s Task Force One is headquartered near Dayton, Ohio, and serves as one of the top Urban Search and Rescue teams.

WOMEN’S ENTERPRISE CERTIFICATION

Beginning tomorrow, the Ohio Department Administrative Services (DAS) will launch the Ohio Women’s Enterprise Certification (WBE). This first-of-its-kind certification will allow women-owned businesses to seek certification from the Equal Employment Opportunity office at DAS.

CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS

Governor DeWine today acknowledged Kimberly Hall, Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge for being named the 2020 Center for Community Solutions Public Service award winners.

The Center for Community Solutions awarded both Director Hall and Congresswoman Fudge for their commitment to ensuring Ohioans have access to food and nutrition services through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as for their efforts to create the Pandemic-EBT program, which provides critical assistance to hundreds of thousands of Ohio school-aged children.

DONATE LIFE

Donate Life Ohio will be holding Ohio’s first-ever online donor registration drive today.  Donate Life's “Don’t Wait, Save 8” campaign encourages Ohioans to register online to become a donor, rather than waiting until a visit to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). In Ohio, more than 3,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

FIRST LADIES FOR HEALTH- FAMILY HEALTH DAY

The Ohio National Guard will be assisting with free COVID-19 testing in the Cincinnati-area on Sunday, October 11. Testing will be available in nine Cincinnati locations from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.. Several of these locations also offer flu shots.

Information on testing in Cincinnati is available at FamilyHealthDay.org.

Additional information about COVID-19 testing throughout the state is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov under the Testing and Community Health Centers tab.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 164,262 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,983 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,200 people have been hospitalized, including 3,395 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: Hospital Admissions,  Quarantine Study, PPE Manufacturing

(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. 

HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS

Governor DeWine noted today that although COVID-19 hospital admissions in Ohio had been declining since peaking in mid-July, hospitalizations are now trending upwards with an increasing number of hospitalizations in rural Ohio.

The average age of hospitalized patients has also gone up in recent weeks. Ohioans 60 and older now account for approximately 70 percent of COVID hospital admissions as compared to 50 percent of hospitalizations in July.

"As we said earlier in August and September, spread among the young and healthy will eventually impact those who are older and more vulnerable, which is why it is so very important that younger Ohioans do all they can to prevent spread," said Governor DeWine. 

Regionally, the western part of the state has been seeing an increase in hospital admissions and relatively fewer hospital admissions have been occurring in northeast and central Ohio. 

All regions of the state currently have adequate hospital capacity. 

5_crop.jpg

NOTE: Hospital admissions are a lagging indicator. Admissions for the week of September 27th are expected to rise as new information is received.

CONTINUED PRECAUTIONS

Governor DeWine today reminded Ohioans to continue to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He stressed that President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis  should serve as a reminder that anyone can become ill with coronavirus and that citizens should remain diligent in their efforts to prevent virus spread. 

"Each of us can demonstrate our love and respect for our fellow Ohioans by wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings, keeping at least 6 feet of distance from others, and frequently washing our hands. This is in our control," said Governor DeWine. "This virus is an enemy of our freedom, but by doing these things to fight back against it, we'll keep our kids in school and our economy moving forward. All of us working together will allow us to live with this virus until the time when it is gone."

QUARANTINE STUDY

Governor DeWine announced today that he has authorized a study focused on school students who are quarantined due to meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

"We have heard anecdotally that most quarantined students are not getting sick, but I believe that it is important to have data and evidence before considering a change to the recommended guidance," said Governor DeWine. 

ECONOMIC RECOVERY RELIEF PACKAGE

Governor DeWine announced that his administration is working closely with the Ohio General Assembly on a plan to distribute CARES Act funding to help citizens who are struggling to pay their rent, mortgage, or water and sewage utility bills. The plan will also focus on providing aid to small businesses and non-profits. 

More information on the economic recovery relief package is expected to be released soon.

PPE MANUFACTURING

Lt. Governor Husted recognized Phoenix Quality Manufacturing for their work to produce N95 masks, creating 40 jobs in Jackson County. The facility will convert 23,000 square feet of the former Elemetal (Ohio Precious Metals) facility into an N95 mask manufacturing operation.

The project has received a $250,000 JobsOhio revitalization grant and a $500,000 PPE grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency. They also received support from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Appalachian Growth Capital, and various investors. Phoenix Quality Manufacturing plans to start producing masks in November for local, state, and international customers.  

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 161,299 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,947 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,972 people have been hospitalized, including 3,367 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: September Summary, Prevalence Testing, Updated Risk Levels, Worker Upskilling

(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 11 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3): Ashland, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Putnam, Richland, and Scioto. Richland County is on the borderline of a Level 4 public emergency with severe exposure and spread.

"We have 11 red counties, which is more than we’ve seen at any point in September," said Governor DeWine. "Although many Ohioans are working hard to keep this virus in check, unfortunately, we are seeing a rebound in some areas of the state. This pandemic isn't over, so please continue to stay home if you're sick, wear a mask when you're out, and keep at least six feet between you and those outside of your household."

Ohio Public Health Advisory System

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.

SEPTEMBER SUMMARY

Governor DeWine today released new data summarizing cases, hospitalizations, and deaths reported in Ohio's 88 counties so far in September. The counties are ranked by cases per 100,000 people. 

Cases Hospitalizations and Deaths in September

WORKER UPSKILLING

Lt. Governor Husted announced the results of the August 2020 TechCred Application period, which set a record in approving 4,468 credentials through 288 Ohio companies. So far, a total of 983 Ohio employers have been approved for reimbursement, which will yield as many as 11,941 technology-focused credentials for Ohioans. Prior to their election, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted promised to fund the completion of at least 10,000 micro-degrees per year – a commitment that has been met through this latest round.

PREVALENCE TESTING

Lt. Governor Husted also held an on-air discussion with Dr. Abby Norris Turner of Ohio State University. Dr. Norris Turner described the prevalence testing Ohio State conducted on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health in order to assess how many Ohioans have already contracted COVID-19. The study was conducted over 20 days in July 2020 and included a sample of 727 adults. The study showed that approximately .9 percent of Ohioans were likely infected with COVID-19 during the study, and approximately 1.5 percent had prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies during the study period in July. You will soon be able to access a summary of the study at coronavirus.ohio.gov and viewing the Dashboard Overview page.

WI-FI HOTSPOTS

Lt. Governor Husted thanked the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio for coordinating efforts between Facebook and T-Mobile that will provide Wi-Fi hotspots to libraries in Southeast Ohio. These internet-enabled devices will be available to patrons to check out in the same way they would borrow a library book or film. The effort aims to give opportunities for at-home internet usage for those who do not have reliable access to broadband. Facebook donated the devices at no charge and paid for 6 months of unlimited network usage on the T-Mobile network. T-Mobile will fund an additional 6 months of connectivity for the devices as well as help get the hotspots ready for use and provide ongoing technical support.

LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE ELITE PROGRAM

Lt. Governor Husted also recognized Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), Fifth-Third Bank, and JobsOhio for offering financial support so 10 companies will be able to participate in the London Stock Exchange ELITE program. ELITE will work with each of these business owners to develop clear, actionable plans around preparing for future growth, developing world-class strategy and operational functions, and accessing regional and global capital markets.

The London Stock Exchange’s ELITE Program is opening their first headquarters in the Americas in Cleveland, Ohio, which Lt. Governor Husted announced while on a business development mission to the United Kingdom in 2019.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 155,314 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,817 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,606 people have been hospitalized, including 3,297 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.

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!

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.

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