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.
Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Dr. Acton continue to thank Ohioans who are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and urged everyone to continue their efforts.
"Please know that this battle is still ongoing," said Dr. Acton. "We are blessed that we had early mitigation, but we need to stay there. There is no way out of this without what we're doing together. Please continue to stay home."
On Monday, Governor DeWine announced a plan to expand healthcare services at alternative sites in addition to the traditional medical care facilities should they be needed for potential COVID-19 surges. The following sites have been selected based on considerations such as distance to an existing hospital, conditions safe for patients and health care professionals, and space to meet the region’s expected needs.
Governor DeWine also announced that he authorized the Ohio National Guard to assist federal authorities in the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County where seven inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and three inmates have died from the disease.
Lt. Governor Husted announced that the administration’s Dispute Resolution Commission, which was initially announced last week, is now prepared to receive submissions from essential businesses as well as county health departments. The purpose of the commission is to provide clarity and ensure that similarly-situated businesses are treated fairly, regardless of which side of a county line they operate.
Monday evening at midnight, Ohio’s new stay at home order went into effect.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission passed an emergency rule to allow establishments with an existing on-premises liquor permit to sell and deliver alcohol, including high-proof liquor in limited quantity, for off-premises consumption.
Lt. Governor Husted announced the Office of Small Business Relief, a new office developed within the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) to better coordinate Ohio's efforts to identify and provide support for Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses.
The Office of Small Business Relief will:
Also, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) Director Annette Chambers-Smith recommended to the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) that certain inmates scheduled to be released in the next 90 days be released sooner to allow for increased social distancing between prison staff and inmates, pursuant to Ohio's overcrowding emergency statute (ORC 2967.18). A total of 141 inmates are under consideration for release.
An additional 26 inmates who are over the age of 60 and suffering from one or more chronic health conditions are also under consideration for release. These inmates have served more than half of their sentences and meet similar criteria.
Additionally, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced that those who did not already receive the maximum monthly allotment for their household size from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in March will be issued an additional payment beginning this week.
On Wednesday, Governor DeWine announced that a member of Ohio's state-employee family, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Officer John Dawson, died after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 30.
Officer Dawson, 55, of Mansfield, had been a corrections officer at the Marion Correctional Institution since 1996. He most recently worked in the control center handing out equipment to staff.
Governor DeWine made another plea to healthcare workers using N95 masks to send them to Battelle which can serialize up to 160,000 masks each day, making them reusable up to 20 times. Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage in Ohio remains severe.
Governor DeWine also thanked Apple and Apple CEO Tim Cook for recently donating 100,000 N95 masks to Ohio for frontline healthcare workers. The masks will be added to Ohio's stockpile for distribution.
Since Ohio's stay at home order began on March 22nd, Ohio has seen approximately a 50-percent drop in child abuse and neglect cases because those who typically report suspicions of abuse - such as teachers, coaches, child care providers, and school counselors and nurses - aren’t seeing children every day.
Governor DeWine urged everyone to report any suspected abuse or neglect by calling 855-OH-CHILD.
Additionally, Governor DeWine asked the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to give up to $1.6 billion to Ohio employers to help ease the economic impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s economy and business community.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced that through the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, 19 manufacturers have partnered with three hospital groups to begin large scale production of face shields. Over the next five weeks, 750,000 to 1 million face shields will be added to the Ohio’s stockpile.
Lt. Governor Husted also announced that The Christ Hospital Lindner Research Center in Cincinnati has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin treating high-risk COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma. This treatment protocol is the only protocol that incorporates a readily available, rapid turnaround (less than 1 hour) blood test that reflects risk of dying and can identify patients before it’s too late.
On Friday, Governor DeWine announced that Medicaid, the managed care plans, and MyCare Ohio plans have come together to remove barriers for members receiving Medicaid benefits during this crisis.
Lt. Governor Husted announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted STERIS Healthcare in Mentor a temporary Emergency Use Authorization for decontaminating compatible N95 and N95-equivalent respirators.
Many Ohio distilleries have stepped up and are now are producing large quantities of hand sanitizer. JobsOhio has purchased more than 3,100 cases (more than 1 million ounces) of distillery-made sanitizer. JobsOhio will donate the hand sanitizer to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.
Governor DeWine also announced a new permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation will allow food vendors to sell food to truck drivers and other essential personnel who stop at any of the state’s 86 rest areas.
Additionally, as Ohio reports data moving forward, there will be new data categories for total COVID-19 cases and total COVID-19 fatalities:
Confirmed Cases and Confirmed Deaths: Data calculated through laboratory tests. This data is consistent with Ohio's previous data reporting.
CDC Expanded Case Definition and CDC Expanded Death Definition: Data that follows updated CDC criteria and includes those who have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, those who've been diagnosed with COVID-19 without a laboratory test, and those who death certificates list COVID-19 as the cause of death without a laboratory test.
Ohio will also report the combined total numbers of cases and the combined total number of deaths.
All of Ohio's COVID-19 data can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.