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 Tuesday, Governor DeWine noted 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.
NOTE: Hospital admissions are a lagging indicator. Admissions for the week of September 27th are expected to rise as new information is received.
Governor DeWine 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."
Governor DeWine announced 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.
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.
OHIO IP PROMISE
Lt. Governor Husted also outlined some of the successes achieved during the first year of the Ohio IP Promise. The initiative, launched by the Lt. Governor in 2019, seeks to make Ohio’s universities hubs for innovation and entrepreneurialism by streamlining the process for guiding intellectual property through to commercialization. The Ohio IP Promise is operated jointly by InnovateOhio and the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Since its launch in 2019, the Ohio IP Promise has enabled the University of Cincinnati to generate a record 400 percent increase in startups spun out of UC intellectual property last year and a 1,000 percent increase this year. The Ohio State University now has more than 100 active startup companies in its portfolio, with the IP Promise making a direct and positive impact through the transparency, speed, and ease of engagement that is has driven.
The changes made because of the IP Promise also helped quickly facilitate a recent deal in COVID-19 detection with the University of Dayton Research Institute. The licensee noted that the IP Promise helped the deal move along quickly by reducing risk, because of the transparency and trust created by the initiative.
The Lt. Governor announced three new areas of collaboration for IP Promise commercialization efforts:
Moving forward, the IP Promise will track five benchmarks to further measure the initiative’s success in promoting innovation, including number of invention disclosures, the number of technologies licensed, the number of startups launched, the total amount of portfolio funding, and the net promoter score to measure stakeholder satisfaction. These numbers will be updated annually using five-year moving averages to show up and down trends.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced the appointment of Kenneth E. Ryan to the Athens County Court of Common Pleas, Probate and Juvenile Division.
Ryan, of Athens, will assume office on October 13, 2020. Ryan must run for election on November 3, 2020 for the full term commencing February 9, 2021. Ryan is replacing Judge Robert Stewart, who died September 12, 2020.
Ryan is currently the owner of Ryan Law Office Co., L.P.A, in Athens, Ohio. Ryan has been a lifelong advocate for children, legally representing over 115 children in court. Prior to law school, Ryan was a music teacher for 12 years at Trimble Local Schools in Athens.
Additionally, Ryan is also an advocate for mental health, having been appointed in the probate court to represent over 600 patients at Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare in Athens.
Ryan received his law degree from University of Dayton School of Law, a masters degree from Ohio University, and undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Ryan currently serves on the board for Rising Suns Charitable Pharmacy, and has previously been a board member of the Athens County Board of Elections, The Athens Foundation, as well as a council member for the Village of Coolville.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine 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.”
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.
Prior to Thursday'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
The Ohio Department Administrative Services (DAS) launched 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 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 Ohio held Ohio’s first-ever online donor registration drive. 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.
On Friday, Governor DeWine spoke with media across the state about the recent rise of COVID-19 cases throughout Ohio.
"What we're seeing across the state is many cases are coming from social gatherings- parties, people getting together, not wearing masks, not keeping distance. We're seeing bad trends. We can't let this virus flare up," said Governor DeWine.
As of Friday, there are 166,102 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,994 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,301 people have been hospitalized, including 3,413 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.