Pandemic Response Week In Review


Throughout the week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and provided updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other state initiatives. 

On Monday, Governor DeWine announced the launch of Ohio’s Top Jobs List. The list combines Ohio’s In-Demand Jobs and newly created Critical Jobs into one list of prioritized job sectors.

Critical Jobs ensure that the state’s workforce supports the health and well-being of Ohioans, their families, and their communities. Governor DeWine made developing the workforce in critical job areas a priority because of their impact on the lives of Ohioans at every stage of life.

The eight career clusters include:

  • Children & Community Health
  • Early Childhood Education
  • First Responders
  • Lead Abatement
  • Mental & Behavioral Health
  • Nursing
  • Physicians
  • Wellness Research & Technology

In addition to creating the Top Jobs List, Governor DeWine announced the new career pathways feature on TopJobs.Ohio.gov. Career pathways illustrate the progress Ohioans can make within the career clusters and information on the skills and education needed for Ohioans to advance to the next level of their chosen career pathway.

Both the list and the career pathway feature are available at TopJobs.Ohio.gov.

On Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will issue a health order requiring that K-12 children to 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  recommending widespread use of masks in schools with the following exceptions:

  • Children under the age of 2 years old
  • Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  • 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)
  • A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask
  • 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." 

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.

Governor DeWine 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.

Governor DeWine 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."

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. 

On Thursday morning, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor  Husted took antigen tests for COVID-19 as part of the standard protocol to greet President Donald Trump on the tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland. 

While Lt. Governor Husted tested negative, Governor DeWine tested positive and returned to Columbus where a second test was administered.

In a second PRC test Thursday evening, Governor DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, as well as members of the staff tested negative for COVID-19.

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.

These antigen 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. 

On Friday, Lt. Governor Husted announced 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/.

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.

On Saturday, Governor DeWine and First Lady DeWine have tested negative for COVID-19 in a PCR test administered and run by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. 

These test results follow the negative PCR test results for the Governor and First Lady on Thursday.  The PCR tests taken Thursday were negative for the Governor, First Lady, and staff members, and were run on lab machines twice with results coming in negative both times.

On Thursday morning in Cleveland, following the testing protocol established to be able to greet the President, Governor DeWine took a rapid antigen test and the results reported back for that test were a false positive.  

Additionally, Governor Mike DeWine has signed the following Executive Orders:

  • Executive Order 2020-31D: "The Partial Rescission of Executive Order 2020-21D and Emergency Adoption of Rules 5101:2-12-02.2, 5101:2-13-02.2, 5101:2-14-02.2, and 5101:2-18-03.1 of the Ohio Administrative Code by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services"
  • Executive Order 2020-32D: "The Emergency Amendment of Rule 122:5-2-03 of the Ohio Administrative Codeby the Ohio Development Services Agency"
  • Executive Order 2020-33D: "The Emergency Amendment of Rules 5122-21-03, 5122-30-27, 5122-40-07, 5122-40-09, and 5122-40-12 of the Ohio Administrative Code by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services"

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

As of Sunday afternoon, there are 100,848 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,669 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,565 people have been hospitalized, including 2,665 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.