Pandemic Response Week In Review


Throughout the week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton M.D., MPH,  provided updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as state initiatives.

On Monday, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted announced the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved assistance for 17 projects set to create 1,943 new jobs and retain 2,247 jobs statewide. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $107 million in new payroll and spur more than $252 million in investments across Ohio.

Projects approved by the TCA can be found online at governor.ohio.gov.

On Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced several efforts to improve community-police relations in Ohio.

First, Governor DeWine directed Ohio's Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to begin developing uniform minimum standards related to mass protests. Ohio's Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board was formed in 2015 to create uniform minimum standards for Ohio’s law enforcement agencies covering use of force, including deadly force, hiring and recruitment.

Members of the collaborative will examine issues surrounding best practices for interaction between law enforcement and crowds that fail to disperse, when tactics involving tear gas, pepper spray, and non-lethal projectiles are necessary and when these tactics should be considered excessive, and how to better protect members of the media from injury.

Second, Governor DeWine directed the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services, which oversees the certification process, to reach out to every agency that is not certified in these standards and assist them in moving toward certification.

As of today, 79-percent of all of Ohio’s law enforcement officers work for an agency that has voluntarily complied with these standards or is in the process of certification. These agencies serve 75-percent of Ohio’s total population. However, the total number of certified agencies only accounts for slightly over half of all of Ohio’s departments.

Collaborative standards also exist for community engagement, body cameras, bias-free policing, employee misconduct, telecommunicators, and law enforcement pursuits.

The 2020 Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board report, which lists the certification status of all law enforcement agencies in the state, is available at publicsafety.ohio.gov. 

Governor DeWine also announced that he will create a new Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment within Ohio's Office of Criminal Justice Services.

PPE Update

As of last week, Ohio has distributed over 30 million pieces of PPE.  Sources of the PPE include donations, FEMA, JobsOhio purchases, and purchases by state agencies such as the departments of Administrative Services, Health, and Public Safety using federal CARES Act funds. Of the 30 million total PPE pieces, 27.8 million pieces have been shipped to county EMAs for local distribution.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation “Protecting Ohio's Workforce- We've Got You Covered” program  also sent more than 1.5 million face coverings to employers to support and enhance any workforce safety and health efforts that businesses already have in place. 

Ohio is also providing PPE to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, through their Office of Pharmacy Services, to support requests for PPE from state agencies, boards, and commissions. 

Ohio is currently looking at long-term solutions to PPE supply chain issues plaguing the country. This includes longer-term contracts for ventilators and N95 masks. Ohio is also currently evaluating the results of an Invitation to Bid for gloves, gowns, and three-ply masks.

GOJO Expansion

GOJO, an Akron-based manufacturer of hand sanitizer, and part of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, has been working with JobsOhio and announced that it is expanding in Navarre and Maple Heights to meet the demand for their products that are helping fight COVID-19.

The project is expected to create 200 new jobs.

Also on Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced several appointments to Columbus State Community College Board of Trustees, State Emergency Response Commission, and others.

On Wednesday, Governor DeWine announced Kari Gunter-Seymour of Albany, Ohio, as the state’s poet laureate. Gunter-Seymour, whose term begins June 10, 2020 succeeds the state’s second poet laureate, Dave Lucas.

Gunter-Seymour plans to use her time as poet laurate to build a greater appreciation for poetry and serve as a mentor to poets and writers across Ohio. She also plans to focus her efforts on providing workshops for those in recovery.

On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio expanded testing for COVID-19. He encouraged those who want a COVID-19 test, including those who are low-risk or asymptomatic, to talk with their health care provider or contact a testing location to arrange a test.

Governor DeWine also announced a series of "pop-up" testing locations will be available all over the state, including in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Portsmouth, Dayton, Xenia, Columbiana, Akron, and other locations.

A list of testing locations in Ohio can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Basic Reproduction Numbers

Governor DeWine discussed the latest basic reproduction number or R0 (pronounced “R naught”) for eight regions of Ohio. The R0 represents the number of people, on average, that a person will spread a disease to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that COVID-19's R0, without interventions, to be 2.5. With Ohio's interventions, the R0 for the state measured slightly lower than 1.0 on June 1. Ohio is beginning to see a slight increase in the R0 measurements, more so in certain parts of Ohio, such as the Dayton region. 

Best Practices for Places of Worship

On Thursday, Governor DeWine sent a letter to the ministerial community in Ohio to update them on the status of COVID-19 and provided suggested best practices for resuming in-person services. 

This guidance can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

New Role for Dr. Amy Acton

Additionally, Governor DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton will step down as director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and begin serving as his chief health advisor effective at the end of business today. Lance Himes, who previously served as ODH's director, was named interim-director.

"Let me say how very grateful I am for Dr. Acton’s selfless and tireless service to the people of Ohio as our Ohio Department of Health director," said Governor DeWine. "It’s true that not all heroes wear capes.  Some of them wear a white coat embossed with the name Dr. Amy Acton."

In her new role, Dr. Acton will take a comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing health and well-being for all Ohioans. In addition to advising on health issues, she will continue to focus on the COVID-19 crisis. 

ODJFS Employment and Training Grant

Also, Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will receive an $8.5 million federal Employment Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant to help reemploy individuals who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help employers rebuild their workforces.

ODJFS will work with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation to facilitate the grant program through local OhioMeansJobs centers and will distribute the funding to Ohio’s local workforce areas. ODJFS will also provide outreach to employers and services to individuals who were laid off, either permanently or temporarily, as a result of the pandemic.

ELITE USA

JobsOhio announced that 13 minority-owned Stark County businesses will participate in ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group’s business support and development program.

This will be the second group of Ohio businesses to benefit from the ELITE program, which supports growth aspirations, promotes global partnerships, and facilitates access to international capital. Last October, ELITE announced that Cleveland, Ohio, will serve as its headquarters in the Americas.