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 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.
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.
Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans of the fundamental ways to stop the spread of the virus.
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.
Governor DeWine was joined by Secretary of State Frank LaRose 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.
On Wednesday, Governor DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Husted to request the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) send up to $5 billion in dividends to Ohio employers to ease the continued financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘This pandemic is unprecedented, and continues to financially impact Ohio employers and businesses,” said Governor DeWine. “Issuing these dividends is important. This is about keeping businesses open and people employed.”
If approved by BWC’s Board of Directors, it would bring the total dividend dollars for employers this year to nearly $8 billion.
Also on Wednesday, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 211. House Bill 211, sponsored by Former Representative Steve Arndt, modifies the process for auctioning abandoned watercraft vessels and outboard motors valued at less than $10,000.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has hit a record number of cases reported in a single 24-hour period. Between Wednesday and Thursday, health officials 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 that period, 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."
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 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.
Governor DeWine announced 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.
As of Friday, there are 212,782 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,291 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 18,969 people have been hospitalized, including 3,841 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.