Throughout the week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton M.D., MPH, to announce decisions made regarding the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout Ohio.
On Monday, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health has extended its order to keep schools closed through May 1, 2020.
Governor DeWine also announced the formation of a “Homelessness Team” to help people who may rely on homeless shelters, domestic shelters, group homes, and recovery housing - all of which pose challenges for social distancing. The team will also work to incorporate these populations into the state's ongoing planning for access to healthcare through community health centers and planning for quarantine or isolation.
On Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will be taking action to gather a statewide inventory of ventilators and other machines and devices that provide breathing assistance. Director Acton issued an order requiring weekly online reporting of these devices by any entity in the supply chain, from creation through end-use.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued an order to maintain public water service during the COVID-19 state of emergency. This order prevents a water system from shutting off a resident's water service due to non-payment during the declared state of emergency. It also requires water systems to reconnect water to anyone whose water was shut off dating back to January 1st.
Governor DeWine also extended his directive for state of Ohio employees to work remotely to the greatest extent possible. Teleworking for state employees will continue through at least Friday, May 1, 2020.
Additionally, JobsOhio will begin collaborating on how to help the economy once the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic begins to fade. JobsOhio announced that it has provided a $2 million growth fund loan to Appalachian Growth Capital (AGC) as part of a new strategic initiative to provide more economic development funds to areas of Ohio hardest hit by the economy.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio’s State at Home order has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020. Dr. Acton signed an updated order that will go into effect at midnight on Monday, April 6.
Governor DeWine also announced the creation of his Economic Advisory Board that will help his administration work through the economic issues facing Ohio as the state looks toward the future.
In addition, Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has developed a website specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 crisis. Both essential businesses and current job seekers can visit Coronavirus.Ohio.gov/JobSearch to post and search.
Director Acton announced that Ohio has worked with numerous licensing boards to send a survey to identify additional personnel who have clinical or behavioral health skills to respond to potential hospital surge from COVID-19. Dr. Acton asks that anyone who is a current or retired licensee from any of the following boards take the time to complete the survey to help Ohio understand the people who are available to help.
On Friday, Governor DeWine announced that The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has partnered with the Ohio Department of Health to help increase the availability of testing supplies needed for testing citizens for COVID-19.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that Battelle and JobsOhio have partnered to provide free N95 mask sanitizing for hospitals for the next two weeks.
Governor DeWine also announced that he will recommend the early release of 38 prison inmates. The inmates fall into two categories:
Additionally, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released a special guide to help schools, educators, students, parents, and caregivers as they navigate remote learning.
The new Remote Learning Resource Guide will support the ability of each child to carry on learning during this time of social distancing. The guide is available on the Ohio Department of Education's website and on coronavirus.ohio.gov.
On Saturday, Governor DeWine urged Ohioans to begin wearing cloth masks while in public, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Governor DeWine also signed an executive order that will allow Ohioans to more easily access telehealth services from individual counselors, social workers, and marriage and family counselors.
Additionally, Lt. Governor Husted announced that BroadbandOhio has been working with providers to find public wi-fi hotspot locations for Ohioans who may not otherwise have access to the internet from home. A list of hotspot finders and locations by provider is available at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp.
As of Saturday afternoon, there are 3,739 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 102 deaths. A total of 1,006 people have been hospitalized, including 326 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Additionally, Governor DeWine announced the appointment of James P. Salyer to serve as a judge on the Vinton County Court of Common Pleas, General Division. Salyer, of McArthur, will assume office on April 26, 2020.