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, to honor the life and service of United States Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, as well as all Capitol Police officers and law enforcement officers across the country, Governor DeWine ordered that all U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds throughout Ohio until sunset on January 13, 2021.

Also on Monday, Governor DeWine announced the reappointment of Randall Meyer as Ohio Inspector General.

Meyer began a full-term commencing January 12, 2021, and ending January 12, 2025. This appointment is subject to confirmation by the Ohio Senate. Meyer was appointed in January 2011, and reappointed in 2015.
On Tuesday, Governor DeWine reemphasized the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program which is set to begin next week with those ages 80 and older.

This week: The Ohio Department of Health received information from the federal government on Ohio's vaccine allotment for the upcoming week. This information, including which providers will receive vaccines and how many, was communicated to local health departments. Each county health department, in partnership with their local emergency management agency and vaccine providers, will communicate vaccine distribution plans with the media and the public on Wednesday and Thursday. The process to vaccinate those in each county will vary depending on the provider. Some are expected to hold walk-up clinics, others may take appointments, etc.

Hospitals that are vaccinating their frontline healthcare workers as part of Phase 1A must complete these vaccinations by Sunday, January 17.

Week of January 18: Vaccine providers will begin receiving their first allotment of vaccines for those ages 80 and older. Vaccines will be delivered on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up following the same process outlined above. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming.

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above.

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above.

Vaccine providers are not expected to vaccinate everyone in each age group in one week. As new age groups are authorized to receive vaccinations, previous age groups will continue receiving the vaccine.

Senior citizens with questions on the vaccination process are urged to contact the Area Agencies on Aging at aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-866-243-5678.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

As of Tuesday, 85 percent of Ohio's nursing homes have been visited by a vaccine provider as part of Phase 1A. Vaccine providers anecdotally tell the Ohio Department of Health that the number of residents and staff accepting the vaccine is increasing.

In Ohio's two nursing homes operated by the Ohio Department of Veteran Services, 92 percent of veterans have accepted the vaccine. Regarding staff, 60 percent have opted to receive the vaccine in the Sandusky home and 42 percent have chosen to be vaccinated in the Georgetown home.

BROADBAND EXPANSION INVESTMENT

Lt. Governor Husted announced that Southern Ohio Communication Services, Inc., in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) and Pike County Economic & Community Development, plans to invest $3.8 million to provide high-speed Internet service over 64 miles to 1,300 residential and business customers in southern Ohio. Southern Ohio Communications Service received a $50,000 JobsOhio Inclusion Grant toward building and engineering costs. Learn more about the announcement here.

INDUSTRY SECTOR PARTNERSHIP AWARDS

Lt. Governor Husted also announced that 12 partnerships have been awarded for a total of $2.5 million for the Industry Sector Partnership Award Grant Program. The selected partnerships are located in various regions across Ohio and focus on multiple in-demand industry sectors, including healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, construction and transportation.

“These awards will jumpstart and expand workforce partnerships across Ohio that are helping more individuals earn the skills needed to successfully find employment,” Lt. Governor Husted said. “This is real-world skill development where educators and businesses work together to help people gain the skills they need to get hired for jobs that pay well and have a future. Enhancing meaningful partnerships between the business and education community is key to growing Ohio’s workforce and filling in-demand jobs at a time when many people are looking for opportunities, but not sure where to start.”

Learn more about the Industry Sector Partnership Grant by visiting Workforce.Ohio.gov/ISP

On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Husted visited Riverside Local School District in Logan County to announce the launch of several innovative projects at the school that are funded through Ohio’s K-12 Broadband Connectivity Grant, which will help provide affordable high-speed internet access to a student population that is largely underserved by broadband.

The Lt. Governor was joined by Paolo DeMaria, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction; Scott Mann, Superintendent of Riverside Schools; and other state and local partners to highlight the district’s creative use of federal CARES Act funding that was set aside by the state to provide hotspots and internet-enabled devices to Ohio students.

“The great news about this project is it’s not only serving the school and the students, but it’s serving the local community as well,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “They are going to have access to high-speed internet in all of these small rural towns, places that never had access before, because we’ve created new partnerships with the private sector, the not-for-profit sector and the government sector.”

On Thursday, Governor DeWine was joined by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan, Ohio National Guard Maj. Gen. John Harris, Jr., and Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Richard Fambro to discuss the safety measures in place for demonstrations that are expected to occur in Columbus in advance of next week's presidential inauguration.

"We must always, and will always, respect the rights of peaceful protesters, however, the sad truth is that there are people in our country who want to turn peaceful protests into opportunities for violence," said Governor DeWine. "Just as we respect and will protect peaceful protesters, we will also just as vigorously resist violence. Violence will not be tolerated in Ohio."

In addition to authorities with the Columbus Police Department, troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol will have a significant presence in downtown Columbus in coming days. Governor DeWine also signed a proclamation officially mobilizing hundreds of Ohio National Guard members to supplement the work of local and state authorities in Columbus and anywhere else they may be needed.

In the interest of public safety and in agreement with Speaker of the House Robert Cupp and Senate President Matt Huffman, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Statehouse will be closed from Sunday, January 17, 2021, through Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Also on Thursday, Governor DeWine highlighted the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio’s vaccination program, which is set to begin next week for those ages 80 and up.

Week of January 18: Vaccine providers will begin receiving their first allotment of vaccines for those ages 80 and older. Vaccines will be delivered on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up following the same process outlined above. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming.

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above.

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above.

“When a new age range opens, that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine. “Vaccinating Ohioans in Phase 1B will take a number of weeks given the limited doses available.”

Ohioans aged 80 and up can find additional information about providers administering vaccines by calling their local health department or visiting their local health department website.

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health has launched an online resource, vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov, to assist residents looking for a provider that has been allotted vaccines and how to contact them.

“Providers throughout the state are developing systems that work best for them in terms of scheduling and administering vaccinations,” said Governor DeWine. “As we continue to rollout additional vaccination groups, we will work with our local partners, and modify the process as needed.”

The Ohio Department of Health is in the process of developing a state vaccination scheduling system. Additional information is forthcoming.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is imminently close to completing the administration of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines in skilled nursing facilities.

"When we started distributing the vaccine in Ohio, one of our first goals was to vaccinate our most vulnerable in our nursing facilities," said Governor DeWine.

Ohio partnered with four pharmacies through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership in distribution of the vaccine to skilled nursing facilities. These facilities are a part of Phase 1A.

Absolute Pharmacy has administered 100% of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines as assigned.

As of Wednesday, CVS has administered 97% of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines at the 478 assigned facilities. It is anticipated CVS will finish the administration of doses this week.

Pharm Script has completed 61 of 63 assigned facilities, and will complete the administration of doses this week.
Walgreens has completed 95% of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines at the 398 assigned facilities.

Within the Federal Pharmacy Partnership, Ohio, with 3.6% of the U.S population, has administered more than 8% of the vaccines in this program nationwide. This is above the anticipated pace of administering the vaccine.

OHIO COUNTY COVID DATA

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.

All 88 counties have a level of spread that is at least three times more than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers high incidence.

Governor DeWine also discussed key measurements regarding incidence cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks, as well as regional COVID-19 ICU utilization.

"We saw new cases per capita at the statewide level increase since last week, which indicates that COVID-19 continues to spread in both urban and rural communities throughout Ohio," said Governor DeWine.

GENERAL MOTORS COMMUNITY INVESTMENT

Lt. Governor Husted announced the community investment from General Motors as part of the Ohio Tax Credit Authority recommendation.

The agreed investment of $12 million includes:

$5 million to Youngstown State University for workforce development in partnership with Gateway Community College, and funding for the YSU Energy Storage Innovation and Training Center.

$3 million to the Village of Lordstown for the design and construction of a new water tower.

$2.5 million to the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments for local infrastructure improvements.

$1.5 million to the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition to support community workforce development.In September, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a recommendation by the Ohio Development Services Agency to terminate the Job Creation Retention Tax Credit agreements with General Motors following the company’s decision to close its Lordstown assembly facility.

Friday morning, Governor DeWine authorized the activation of additional Ohio National Guard members for deployment to Washington, D.C., in advance of the presidential inauguration. This brings the approximate number of Ohio National Guard members activated to provide assistance to federal authorities to 1,000 Soldiers and Airmen.

The activation of the additional Guard members follows a request from the U.S. National Guard Bureau Thursday evening for extra support.

"Our Ohio National Guard is part of the overall defense forces in our country and has specific skills and equipment to aid the federal government in situations such as this," said Governor DeWine. “In addition to the Citizen Soldiers and Citizen Airmen headed to our nation's capital, we have an ample number of troops who’ve been placed on state active duty to support local and state law enforcement as needed here in Ohio. Violence will not be tolerated.”

Governor DeWine signed a proclamation Thursday that officially activated several hundred Ohio National Guard members to state active duty to protect Ohio, its citizens, and public buildings and property during any potential civil unrest in greater Columbus or other communities across the state after the unprecedented riots and assault at the U.S. Capitol and in anticipation of planned protests in Ohio leading up to the presidential inauguration next week.

"Ohio National Guard personnel assigned to this mission are trained, equipped, and prepared to assist law enforcement authorities with protecting lives and property of citizens in Ohio while ensuring people's rights to demonstrate peacefully," said Ohio Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John Harris, Jr.

Guard members activated on federal active duty, including the Ohio National Guard's Homeland Response Force, are being deployed to Washington, D.C., on federal Title 32 duty to support civil authorities with security-related missions throughout the presidential inauguration. The Ohio National Guard is also providing personnel and equipment for communications and food service during the inauguration.

This week, Governor DeWine signed several bills into law, including:
House Bill 67, House Bill 136, House Bill 150, House Bill 263, House Bill 264, House Bill 308, House Bill 431, House Bill 436, House Bill 444, House Bill 473, Senate Bill 256, Senate Bill 259, Senate Bill 260, Senate Bill 312, Senate Bill 33, Senate Bill 140, House Bill 665, House Bill 295, and House Bill 352.

Additionally, Governor DeWine vetoed Senate Bill 375. Senate Bill 375, sponsored by Senators Frank Hoagland and Tim Schaffer, voids a Director of Health order regarding county fairs (veto message).

As of Friday, there have been 814,442 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 10,057 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 42,807 people have been hospitalized, including 6,328 admissions to intensive care units.