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COVID-19 Resource Center

In an effort to keep our members up to date on the latest news regarding the novel coronavirus, OABA has established this resource page. Links to important news stories and important resources will be added as they are made available. 

Resources:

 

November 4

Governor DeWine Provides Update on COVID Exposure, Pediatric Vaccination Information

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today updated Ohioans about his recent COVID-19 exposure. The Governor cancelled public events through Sunday after he and First Lady Fran DeWine were exposed to COVID-19 by staff members who tested positive.  Governor and Mrs. DeWine have tested negative for COVID-19 and will continue to test while monitoring for any symptoms.

AGES 5 TO 11 PEDIATRIC VACCINATIONS

More than 850 Ohio kids ages 5-11 have recieved the COVID-19 vaccine since the CDC and the FDA gave final authorization of the pediatric dose earlier this week.

Children may be vaccinated at many different types of providers, including local health departments, pediatricians, family physicians, community health centers, adult and children’s hospitals, and pharmacies. Parents should contact their provider to learn about vaccination opportunities or they can visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to find a provider or make an appointment. 

VAX-2-SCHOOL UPDATE

The Ohio Vax-2-School program has expanded to include youger Ohioans with this new authorization. Ohioans aged 5-25, or their parents or guardians, can enter online at ohiovax2school.com once they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The program will award $2 million in scholarships, including 150 $10,000 scholarships and five $100,000 grand prize scholarships that can be used at an Ohio college, university, or career training opportunity.

The initial registration deadline is Sunday, Nov. 21. Full registration dates, rules, and information, as well as the registration portals, are available online at www.ohiovax2school.com.

DEATHS DATA

The Ohio Department of Health reported that 1,264 Ohioans died of COVID-19 in October. The number may continue to increase as reports are received. To put this in perspective the number of individuals who died of COVID-19 was the sixth higest during the month of October than at any other point in the pandemic.

In October, at least 173 of these deaths occurred amongst people in their 50s. At least 78 of these deaths occurred amongst people in their 40s–and at least 28 of these deaths occurred amongst people in their 30s. 

On average there are more than 41 Ohioans dying each day from COVID. 

VACCINATION DATA

The best tool to fight the virus continues to be vaccination. Those who are not vaccinated should talk to their physician if they have questions and visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to find a vaccine provider.    

Today, nearly 65 percent of Ohioans ages 12 and older are vaccinated and 67 percent of those 18 and above vaccinated. In October, 153,163 Ohioans chose to get vaccinated.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

September 24

COVID-19 Update: Hospital Situation, Vaccine Incentives, School Bus Drivers

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided an update on the increased impact that COVID-19 hospitalizations are having on our hospitals and a new vaccine incentive effort to help keep our children in school, in-person, five days a week. 

LETTER FROM OHIO HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION

“I received a letter from the Ohio Hospital Association outlining the dire conditions facing our hospitals who are on the front lines of treating patients with COVID. While they are doing everything they can to help these patients, they are facing a severe nursing and staffing shortage," said Governor DeWine. “What they wrote is consistent with what we’ve been hearing from front-line health care workers.”

The letter reported that increasing cases are putting a strain on hospital resources. The data shows:

  • In mid-July, Ohio hospitals were treating 200 COVID-19 patients, today that number is 3,702. That’s a 16-fold increase in two months.
  • In mid-July, one out of 100 patients in the hospital were being treated for COVID. Today the ratio is one out of six. Today, 40% of patients on ventilators are being treated for COVID.
  • In rural Southeast Ohio half of hospitalized patients are being treated for COVID-19 and two-thirds of the patients in the intensive care unit are being treated for COVID.

The letter described a situation where strained resources impact the ability to care for all patients. Some Ohio hospitals are diverting patients away from emergency departments, cancelling certain procedures, experiencing long wait times in emergency departments, and shutting down certain units to redeploy staff to critical cases. 

OHIO VAX-2-SCHOOL

Governor DeWine emphasized that keeping kids in school, in-person, five days a week, remains a priority.  We know that the best way to do that is to get students vaccinated.  In addition to protecting kids from the severe effects of the virus, students who are vaccinated, do not have to quarantine if exposed, which means they won’t miss out on school.

To encourage eligible kids to get vaccinated, Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Vax-2-School program, which will be open to Ohioans aged 12 to 25 years old, and will be similar to the scholarship portion of the successful Vax-a-Million program. Prizes will include 50 scholarships worth $10,000 each and five $100,000 scholarships to an Ohio college or university for career or technical education.  Prizes will be announced Monday through Friday beginning the week of October 11th.  More details will be announced, including how to register, in the coming days.

BUS DRIVERS

Governor DeWine also made a public plea, after hearing from school districts across the state about the shortage of bus drivers. He asked any Ohioan with a CDL license that also has a bus driver certification, who are not employed, to contact their local school district, to help drive school busses, temporarily.

He also spoke with Attorney General Dave Yost who agreed that, moving forward, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation would prioritize recquired background checks for school bus drivers, educators, nurses, and other health care professionals.  

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

September 21

COVID-19 Update for Ohio

Ohio Governor DeWine today provided an update on the increased impact that COVID-19 is having on Ohio's younger populations and the stress that the surge of cases is having on hospitals statewide. 

"The bottom line is that we’re seeing our highest levels ever of hospitalizations among those under 50 years old," said Governor DeWine. "Those who are getting very sick, being hospitalized, and dying of COVID are getting younger and younger. And it is because they are not vaccinated."

  • Today, there were 459 newly-reported hospitalizations, the highest number of new hospitalizations since January.
  • The number of new hospitalizations for COVID-19 of those under 50, was the highest during of the entire pandemic during the week of Sept. 5th, when Ohio hospitals admitted 398 patients under the age of 50. 
  • During he most recent completed reporting week (Sept. 5 -- Sept. 11), 230 Ohioans 39 and younger were admitted to the hospital, which is the highest number of admissions for COVID in this age group during the entire pandemic, even higher than during the winter surge levels when no one was vaccinated.
  • Around 97 percent of patients of all ages in Ohio hospitals today are unvaccinated. 
  • In July, 48 percent of COVID-19 deaths were among those 69 years old and younger. In August, preliminary data shows that an average of two people younger than 50 died of COVID-19 in Ohio every day.
  • Last month, preliminary numbers showed 18 Ohioans 39 and younger died from COVID-19. This is compared to five people in that age range who died in June and two people in that age range who died in July.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Director, Ohio Department of Health
"If you are young and unvaccinated it's now probably only a question of when, not if, you get COVID-19. When you get COVID-19 without the protection of a vaccine, there is a very real risk you'll end up in the hospital or the obituary pages. The numbers really tell it all, COVID has changed and is now making younger Ohioans who are not vaccinated very sick. Don't become a statistic when there is a simple, safe, and effective alternative. Go out today and get vaccinated."

Suzanne Bennett, M.D., Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program Director, University of Cincinnati Health 
"These rising numbers of sick COVID patients places a significant burden on our hospital beds, our medical teams, and worse yet, it creates scenarios that no one wants to think about where we do not have the space for patients who would otherwise benefit from receiving their care at large academic medical centers. We now need the help of the people in our community more than ever so that no one else needs to die from this disease."

Alan Rivera, M.D., Hospitalist, Fulton County Health Center
"We are in a crisis mode. As compared to last year, our nursing staff is down probably 50 percent. We have nurses leaving the field, retiring early, or finding jobs elsewhere because of the long hours and the emotional strain. On top of that, our COVID numbers are now going up. In June and July I didn't see any COVID patients. Now, the majority of the census in our hospital are COVID patients, and they're younger, anywhere from 30 to 50."

Joe Bates, R.N., B.S.N., Clinical Coordinator, Critical Care Unit, Genesis HealthCare System (Zanesville)
"We're seeing the younger population being hit hardest with this right now. Our average age right now that we're seeing is around 59, with many of them being younger, as compared to last year when the average was about 78 years of age. Of the COVID positives that we currently have in the ICU, none of them are vaccinated who are on the ventilator."

Terri Alexander, R.N., P.C.C.N., Summa Health (Akron)
"It's just a sad, sad situation that we're dealing with, and it's tragic because it's just so preventable. Please, please, please, get vaccinated. We live in a culture that has never experienced coming to the hospital and getting turned away, and I think people can't fathom what that's truly like until its them or their family members who are coming in and getting turned away." 

 

August 6

Vaccinations Increasing, Delta Variant, Local Efforts Encouraged

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATIONS INCREASING

Today Governor DeWine announced that vaccination rates are increasing across the state. There has been an increase of vaccinations in 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties in July compared to the previous month while last week saw an increase in all 88 counties compared to the first week in July.

“We have vaccines that are powerful and do an amazing job. They are so powerful that we now live in a state with two groups of people – those vaccinated and those not,” said Governor DeWine. “Those who are vaccinated are safe, those who are not vaccinated are not safe.”

The latest data shows that 60% of Ohioans 18 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 58% of all eligible Ohioans, those 12 and older, are either fully or partially vaccinated. Demographic breakdowns of these age groups will now be available on the COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

DELTA VARIANT 

The Delta variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Ohio. In May, less than 1% of lab sequenced cases were identified as the Delta variant. The most recent data from July 4th through July 17th, show that 86.4% of lab sequenced cases were the Delta variant.

For those who get infected with the Delta variant, experts say they may have a higher viral load than those who are infected with other strains. It is much more contagious than any version of COVID-19 that we have encountered and remains exceedingly dangerous to those who are not vaccinated.

Of the total hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients since January 1st, 18,367 individuals were not fully vaccinated. Just 295 patients had received the vaccine. Delta variant information will be available beginning today on the coronavirius.ohio.gov website and will be updated every Thursday.

“Delta spreads like wildfire and seeks out anyone who is unvaccinated. But there is good news as two things remain very clear: First, the vaccines are the key to containing this fire and ultimately putting it out,” said Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D. “Secondly, vaccination is without any doubt your best bet, regardless of your age, for avoiding getting really sick with COVID-19 and to avoid lasting complications like Long Covid.”

VACCINAITON EFFORTS

Throughout the pandemic, local health departments, universities, schools, employers, pharmacies, nursing homes, hospitals, community health centers, primary care physicians, and pediatricians have worked tirelessly to vaccinate Ohioans. We have seen that potential incentives have encouraged some to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A study just published in the American Journal of Medicine estimates that nearly 115,000 additional Ohioans received vaccinations as a result of the Vax-a-Million program. The Ohio Department of Health is encouraging local health departments to continue their vaccination efforts and is offering to assist in those efforts.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

June 24

Vax-a-Million Winners, Youth Vaccinations, Death Data

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIO VAX-A-MILLION

For yesterday's fifth and final Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing, 3,469,542 vaccinated adults entered for a chance to win $1 million, and 154,889 vaccinated youth entered for a chance to win a college scholarship. This is an increase of 41,028 adult entries and 4,702 youth entries over last week. 

Ohio Vax-A-Million's newest winners joined Governor DeWine this morning to discuss why they chose to be vaccinated and their excitement of being selected during this week's drawing. 

Experanza Diaz from Cincinnati won this week's $1 million prize, and Sydney Daum from Brecksville in Cuyahoga County won this week's college scholarship prize. 

"I got the Pfizer vaccine, and I didn't have any side effects, I was completely OK," said Diaz. I would recommend it to everyone. I think it can save a lot of lives." 

"We were always planning to get her vaccinated, but we were going to wait later in the summer to have her fully vaccinated by the time school started," said Jennifer Daum, Sydney's mother. "When (Governor DeWine) announced Vax-a-Million we thought this would be a good time to do it now, and we did, and we can't believe it paid off."

DoorDash, Kroger, and Giant Eagle will offer a new vaccine incentive program from Friday, June 25 through Wednesday, June 30. Ohioans vaccinated at the select grocery stores located below will receive a $25 DoorDash gift card.  

  • Giant Eagle, 320 Market Drive, Elyria
  • Giant Eagle, 5744 Transportation Blvd., Garfield Heights
  • Giant Eagle, 41 5th Street SE, Barberton
  • Giant Eagle, 2032 Lincoln Way East, Massillon
  • Giant Eagle, 3050 W 117th Street, Cleveland
  • Giant Eagle, 484 E Waterloo Rd., Akron
  • Giant Eagle, 2173 Stringtown Rd., Grove City
  • Giant Eagle, 2900 Stelzer Rd., Columbus
  • Giant Eagle, 4780 West Broad St., Columbus
  • Giant Eagle, 1380 S 4th St., Columbus
  • Kroger, 7132 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati
  • Kroger, 8421 Winton Rd., Cincinnati
  • Kroger, 1 W Corry St., Cincinnati
  • Kroger, 6165 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati
  • Kroger, 3491 Northbend Rd., Cincinnati
  • Kroger, 2310 Ferguson Rd., Cincinnati
  • Kroger, 2161 Eakin Rd., Columbus
  • Kroger, 4485 Refugee Rd., Columbus
  • Kroger, 1745 Morse Rd., Columbus
  • Kroger, 3637 S High St., Columbus

YOUTH VACCINATIONS

Approximately 231,000 young Ohioans between 12 and 17 years old have started the vaccination process. Ohio is working to make sure other students have the opportunity to get their COVID-19 vaccine before school begins in the fall.

Statewide efforts include: 

  • Outreach to schools. Schools have had multiple opportunities to partner with providers and offer vaccination clinics on-site for students. A survey of school districts across the state showed us that more than 200 districts plan to offer vaccination opportunities on-site.
  • Outreach through community organizations. Ohio has partnered with all Boys and Girls Clubs across the state to serve as vaccination sites. In addition, 67 local providers will be hosting vaccination clinics in partnership with summer food service programs for families.
  • Outreach through local providers. Ohio is working with pediatricians and family doctors to encourage them to become providers so that students can get the COVID-19 vaccine from their own doctors. Nearly 500 pediatric and family medicine offices are currently offering vaccinations. To increase awareness and encourage vaccinations, child-serving state agencies are distributing vaccine information to families and others in their communities.
  • Targeted, focused outreach to underserved areas. To increase access for students in underserved areas, Ohio will assist in expanding school-based healthcare services and increase the number of community-based health workers in high-need areas. Ohio will also offer vaccinations at all Job and Family Services offices that serve customers.

DEATH DATA

Even though Ohio's COVID-19 case numbers have been dropping, approximately 100 Ohioans a week are dying from this virus, and deaths are shifting to a younger age group.

During the winter surge, more than half of the people who died from COVID-19 in Ohio were 80 or older. Today, those ages 40 to 79 make up more than 65 percent of deaths.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

June 17

State of Emergency to be Lifted, Vax-A-Million Winners

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

END OF ORDERS

Today, Governor DeWine announced that the state emergency in Ohio caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted on Friday. He urged those who have not yet received the vaccine to find a clinic near them by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

Governor DeWine also released new information regarding visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Beginning tomorrow, the state regulations which describe how visits should occur will be removed. This will allow residents to have more than two visitors, and there is no longer a scheduling requirement. Ohio nursing homes are expected to continue to follow federal guidance from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and both nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be expected to follow CDC guidance. A testing requirement still remains for staff members who are unvaccinated, and they will need to continue to be tested twice per week.

The Ohio Department of Aging will be hosting a series of webinars starting tomorrow morning to ensure facilities have access to all the information and resources necessary for safe and healthy operations. More information about these webinars can be found on the department’s website at aging.ohio.gov.

WOLSTEIN CENTER MASS VACCINATION CLINIC WRAP-UP

Governor DeWine announced today that the team at Ohio’s Mass Vaccination Clinic in Cleveland administered approximately 258,000 doses of vaccine during the course of the 12-week clinic at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. The FEMA-supported clinic was open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week from mid-March until its final day of operations on June 7, 2021.

Across the entirety of the clinic, nearly 50 percent of individuals vaccinated reported living in high social vulnerability zip codes. Over the final six weeks of the clinic, that percentage was 68 percent. 

The clinic operated in partnership among several local, state, and federal agencies including the Ohio Department of Health, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ohio Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, Ohio National Guard, City of Cleveland, Cleveland Health Department, Cuyahoga County, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals, and Discount Drug Mart.

OHIO VAX-A-MILLION

For yesterday's Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing, 3,428,514 vaccinated adults entered for a chance to win $1 million and 150,187 vaccinated youth entered for a chance to win a college scholarship. This is an increase in 66,311 adult entries and 6,583 youth entries over last week. 

Ohio Vax-A-Million's newest winners joined Governor DeWine this morning to discuss why they chose to be vaccinated and their excitement of being selected during this week's drawing. 

Suzanne Ward from Findlay in Hancock County won this week's $1 million prize, and Sean Horning from Cincinnati won this week's college scholarship prize. 

"I did not have any hesitation when my age group came up to get vaccinated," said Ward. "I would encourage anybody to get vaccinated. I think it's the smart thing to do from a health perspective." 

"I always knew it was the best for everyone," said Lina Horning, who is Sean's mother and experienced having COVID-19. "I encouraged my son to do it for the safety of our community and everyone."

There is one more Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing left and Governor DeWine encouraged all eligible Ohioans to get vaccinated and enter to win. For more information and to enter, visit ohiovaxamillion.com. Ohioans 18 and older who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win a $1 million prize. Ohioans ages 12-17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win a four-year college scholarship to any Ohio state college or university.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

June 9

Vaccine Uptake, Vax-a-Million Winners

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINE UPTAKE

Ohio continues to see increases in vaccine uptake across the state following the announcement of the Ohio Vax-A-Million initiative that was launched last month to increase awareness of the availability and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives to Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Ohio counties that have experienced an increase in vaccinations include Hocking, Seneca, Ross, Jackson, Fayette, Paulding, Wyandot, Crawford, Warren, and Pickaway counties. 

"Ohio continues to move forward into a new phase of the pandemic. Vaccinations are working. That's why cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. However, the threat of COVID-19 remains, and we must remain vigilant," said Governor DeWine. "If you're not vaccinated against COVID-19, please continue to wear a mask in public, and Ohioans who are able to get vaccinated should."

To find a vaccine provider near you, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

OHIO VAX-A-MILLION

For yesterday's Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing, 3,362,203 vaccinated adults entered for a chance to win $1 million and 143,604 vaccinated youth entered for a chance to win a college scholarship. This is an increase in 136,414 adult entries and 10,701 youth entries over last week. 

Ohio Vax-A-Million's newest winners joined Governor DeWine this morning to discuss why they chose to be vaccinated and their excitement of being selected during this week's drawing. 

Mark Cline from Richwood in Union County won this week's $1 million prize, and Sara Afaneh from Sheffield Lake in Lorain County won this week's college scholarship prize. 

"This is really good, but I think, more importantly, it's about getting the vaccine," said Cline. "I hope everyone makes that decision to get it and looks after their friends and neighbors."

"We feel so lucky and so blessed that we won, but we’re so lucky that we were able to access the vaccine," said Summer Afaneh, who is Sara's mother and is also a nurse. "As soon as the kids were old enough to get vaccinated, we signed up, and it was a very easy, seamless event for us with minimal side effects, so that's really what we are grateful and thankful for."

There are two more Ohio Vax-a-Million drawings left. For more information and to enter, visit ohiovaxamillion.com. Ohioans 18 and older who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win a $1 million prize. Ohioans ages 12-17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can enter to win a four-year college scholarship to any Ohio state college or university.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

June 7

Governor DeWine issues urgent appeal to COVID-19 vaccine providers, Ohioans: ‘The time to act is now.’

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—With approximately 200,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Ohio set to expire on June 23, Governor Mike DeWine issued an urgent communication to vaccine providers today asking them to distribute as many doses as possible to eligible Ohioans, as quickly as possible.

Governor DeWine also is appealing to Ohioans who have not been vaccinated yet: “The time to act is now.”

“For Ohioans who have been waiting to get their vaccine, I urge you to take action now. There are many opportunities throughout the state to get a vaccine,” Governor DeWine said. “The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one of those options. It is safe and effective and only requires one shot. In just two weeks, you could be protected from this virus. Getting vaccinated is the quickest way out of the pandemic and the fastest way for us to return to the lives we remember.”

At this time, Ohio does not have legal options for sending the vaccine elsewhere, either to other states or other countries.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has directed all providers to follow a first-in, first-out process for vaccine to ensure doses with the soonest expiration dates are being used first.

ODH also has been aggressively working with COVID-19 vaccine providers across the state to identify tactics to use as many doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine before they expire. Some of these tactics include forming community partnerships to offer special vaccination clinics, offering more mobile vaccination opportunities in partnering with community groups at community events and for homebound individuals, and offering the vaccine as part of ongoing maintenance programs with congregate setting staff and residents, as well as correctional/detention centers.

More than 5.3 million Ohioans have started the COVID-19 vaccination process, and more than 4.7 million are fully vaccinated. On June 5, Ohio hit a benchmark we’ve long awaited: fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 residents in Ohio. While these are positive signs, the threat of COVID-19 still remains.

The risk of going unvaccinated impacts not only those who choose not to be vaccinated, but to those around them. Lower vaccination rates put children under 12, who don’t yet have a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for their age group, at risk, as well as the small percentage of Ohioans who can’t be vaccinated, or those with certain immune disorders. The more Ohioans who are vaccinated, the more we can protect ourselves, and one another.

All of the COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be highly effective at preventing severe disease and against known variants. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine for individuals ages 18 and older. Because the vaccine is available in one dose, you will be fully immunized just two weeks after receiving the vaccine. This means you can safely and quickly resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available at provider locations around the state, including local health departments, pharmacies and mass vaccination sites. Please visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to find a provider near you and schedule an appointment. Most providers list the available vaccine on their websites and/or social media pages. Many providers will also accept walk-in appointments.

More information about the vaccine is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

 

June 5

Ohio Reports Fewer Than 50 COVID-19 Cases Per 100,000 Residents

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that the Ohio Department of Health is reporting the two-week statewide average of cases per 100,000 residents is 49.5. These cases occurred with onset dates in a two-week period from May 22 to June 4, 2021.

“Ohioans have shown our resilience and grit, and by continuing to get vaccinated we are coming through this pandemic stronger than ever,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “When I announced this goal on March 4th, I said that reaching 50 cases per 100,000 would mean we were entering a new phase of this pandemic. Vaccinations are working. That's why cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. But that doesn't mean we can let our foot off the gas. If you're not vaccinated against COVID-19, continue to wear a mask in public and Ohioans that are able to get vaccinated should.”

As of today, more than 5.3 million Ohioans have started the vaccination process, making up 45.9% of all Ohioans. More than 4.7 million people, 40.5% of Ohioans are fully vaccinated.

Case rates per 100,000 residents have been monitored throughout the pandemic and were as high as more than 900 cases per 100,000 residents in data from December 14, 2020. Specifically, 939.1 cases per 100,000 were reported for the period of November 30 through December 13, 2020. Prior to today, the last time Ohio fell below 50 cases per 100,000 residents was on June 25, 2020, when 49.7 cases per 100,000 were reported for the period of June 11 through 24, 2020.

Case rates per 100,000 residents are calculated as an average over a 14-day period, and exclude cases among incarcerated individuals. The data is calculated based on illness onset date, not report date. Each day, when new cases are added to the COVID-19 dashboards, they are attributed to the date of illness onset.

Although this is a positive indicator in the fight against COVID-19, the threat of the virus remains. Individuals should continue taking proper preventative measures including washing, and sanitizing hands and surfaces frequently. While masking is no longer mandated, unvaccinated Ohioans should continue wearing masks indoors or in crowded settings where social distancing is not possible. Businesses and organizations can continue to require masking regardless of an individual’s vaccination status, including in healthcare settings.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines at coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine, or find an appointment near you at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Walk-in appointments are available at many providers statewide. To speak with a representative to answer questions or book an appointment by phone, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

 

June 1

Governor Announces Health Orders Rescinded

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed an order rescinding the following COVID-19-related health orders:

  • The Director’s Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Jails and Detention Facilities.
  • The Director’s Order to Release Protected Health Information to Ohio’s First Responders.
  • The Director’s Order Requiring the Use of Facial Coverings in Child Education Settings.
  • The Director’s Order for Retail and Business Compliance for Facial Coverings through the State of Ohio.
  • The Second Amended Director’s Order on Adult Day Support Services and Vocational Habilitation Services.
  • The Third Amended Director’s Order on the Opening of Senior Centers.
  • The Third Amended Director’s Order on the Opening of Adult Day Services Centers.

The recissions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2021.

The following orders will remain in effect:

  • The Order to Require Screening for Admission to State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals or to Department of Youth Services Facilities.
  • The Director’s Order Designating The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center a Public Health Laboratory.
  • The Director’s Order to Facilities to Notify Residents, Guardians and Sponsor of Positive or Probable Cases of COVID-19.
  • The Director’s Order Requiring Reporting and Notification Regarding COVID-19 Cases in Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade.

Note: The Director’s Second Amended Order for Social Distancing, Facial Coverings, and Non-Congregating was previously set to expire at 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2021.

 

Governor DeWine Reminds Unvaccinated Ohioans to Continue Wearing Masks

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine reminded Ohioans of the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and for those that are not fully-vaccinated to wear masks indoors, as statewide mask mandates lift on June 2.

“Ohioans have done a great job during the pandemic. And, with more than 5 million Ohioans who have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, we are getting back to living the lives we want. However, it is important that we all still remember that there are a significant number of Ohioans who remain unvaccinated and are at-risk, including everyone under the age of 12. It’s important that those not fully vaccinated continue to wear masks indoors and follow other preventative measures to keep themselves as healthy as possible,” said Governor Mike DeWine.

More than 5.3 million Ohioans have received their first vaccinations and 4.6 million have completed the vaccination series.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

For businesses and organizations looking to update signage in their facilities, appropriate signs are available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Ohioans can find the vaccination site nearest them at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

 

May 24

Vax-a-Million, Medicaid Vaccine Uptake, Isolation/Quarantine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VAX-A-MILLION UPDATE

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio continues to see increased uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine following the announcement of the Ohio Vax-a-Million promotion.

From May 14 through May 19 as compared to May 7 through May 12, vaccinations in Ohio increased 94 percent among those 16 and 17 years old, 46 percent among those 18 and 19 years old, and 55 percent among those between 20 and 49 years old.

In total, 2,758,470 individual Ohioans have registered for the $1 million Vax-a-Million drawing and 104,386 young Ohioans have registered for the scholarship drawings. Ohio's first Vax-a-Million drawing will take place at 7:29 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26. 

Registration for this Wednesday's drawing ended at midnight but vaccinated Ohioans can register for subsequent drawings at ohiovaxamillion.com or by calling 833-4-ASK-ODH. Once you register, your entry will be carried over for future drawings; Ohio Lottery will remove duplicate entries. 

VACCINE UPTAKE AMONG OHIO MEDICAID BENEFICIARIES

Governor DeWine called on managed care companies to continue efforts to increase vaccine uptake among Ohio Medicaid beneficiaries. Right now, the vaccine uptake among Medicaid beneficiaries is 22 percent as compared to a 45 percent uptake among Ohioans overall.

Governor DeWine initially challenged managed care plans to implement new efforts earlier this month, and since then, new efforts include: 

  • Partnering with pharmacies and providing incentives, such as gift cards, to those on Medicaid who are vaccinated at a pharmacy.
  • Incentivizing pharmacists to counsel those picking up prescriptions about vaccinations.
  • Working with local health departments, community providers, and faith-based initiatives to help spread the word about vaccination events to those on Medicaid.
  • Providing staff to help run vaccination events when needed and providing transportation to make sure people can get to and from the vaccination locations.
  • Tailoring strategies to meet people where they are, such as identifying individuals who can’t leave their homes and working with providers to go to these locations to administer vaccinations.
  • Working with providers to help them create vaccine opportunities outside of normal business hours.

ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE

Governor DeWine today clarified information about isolation and quarantine in regard to Ohio's school students. 

Beginning on June 2 and in accordance with CDC guidance, vaccinated children do not have to quarantine or be tested if they are exposed to COVID-19. Unvaccinated children who are exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine if the exposure took place outside of a classroom setting where masks were required to be worn. Unvaccinated children should also isolate if they test positive for the coronavirus. Local health departments should determine if quarantine or isolation should occur.

"While these are not state health orders, isolation and quarantine are standard infection control practices that have been used successfully for hundreds of years," said Governor DeWine. "These practices are the same practices that are used for many other communicable diseases including measles and mumps."

Individual school districts will decide whether or not to continue masking and social distancing in school settings.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

May 17

New Health Order, Youth Vaccination FAQs, Vax-a-Million Update, Resources for Ohio Employers

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NEW HEALTH ORDER

Today, the Ohio Department of Health amended its remaining health order to conform to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, which allows those who have been vaccinated to stop wearing masks. Under the CDC's new guidance, those who have not been vaccinated should still wear a mask and socially distance.

Ohio's order reflects the CDC's recommendation that everyone wear masks when in a healthcare setting, when traveling on public transportation (including airplanes), and when at a business or employer that chooses to require masks. 

The CDC recommendations make clear that businesses will be able to choose for themselves whether they continue to require masks in their premises. If a business chooses to require masking for employees and customers, that is permitted under the CDC guidance and Ohio's order.  If a business chooses not to require masks and leave that choice to customers and employees, that is also permitted in the CDC guidance and Ohio's order.

As advised by the CDC, Ohio's order also continues to require masking in congregate settings, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and in settings with large numbers of unvaccinated individuals, such as schools and daycare centers. 

YOUTH VACCINATION FAQs

The Ohio Department of Health has created a new Frequently Asked Questions document to answer common questions from parents, guardians, and youth about COVID-19 vaccines.  

The document shares information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, parental consent, where children can be vaccinated, and more. 

Just like adults, youth can be vaccinated at many locations across the state that are offering the Pfizer vaccine. This vaccine is available at Children’s Hospitals, as well as a number of regular hospitals, local health departments, retail pharmacies, community health centers, primary care physicians, and some pediatricians.

Parents who would like their child to be vaccinated at their pediatrician's office are encouraged to call the office first and ask if they are administering the Pfizer vaccine. Pediatricians that are not yet registered to be vaccine providers are encouraged to sign up. Pediatricians and other potential vaccine providers can find more information at odh.ohio.gov.

VAX-A-MILLION UPDATE

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing will be an opt-in program. Starting tomorrow, Ohioans will be asked to register for the drawings by visiting OhioVaxaMillion.com or by calling the Ohio Department of Health at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Detailed information about the drawings is available in this press release from the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Lottery.

RESOURCES FOR OHIO EMPLOYERS

As Ohio’s economy recovers, businesses continue to experience difficulty filling open positions. Lt. Governor Husted today outlined the process for employers to report work refusals on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) website. This includes jfs.ohio.gov, unemployment.ohio.gov, and OhioMeansJobs.com.

Because of the wide availability of both jobs and the vaccine in the state, ODJFS now has several buttons featured prominently on their websites for employers to report former employees who are receiving unemployment but have refused offers of suitable work.

Ohio law states that individuals are not entitled to unemployment benefits if they have resigned or have declined an offer of suitable work by filling out the “Eligibility Notice/Refusal to Return to Work Form.”

Employers reporting work refusals should be prepared to provide their name, email address, Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), claimant name, claimant ID or the last four digits of the claimant’s Social Security number, and additional details about the specific situation.

ODJFS will then investigate and send both parties an appealable determination on whether the quit or work refusal was for good cause.

Ohio law states that individuals are not entitled to unemployment benefits if they have resigned or have declined an offer of suitable work without “good cause."

Individuals can visit OhioMeansJobs.com or contact their local OhioMeansJobs center to find and apply for job openings, take skill and career interest assessments, create or improve their resume, or practice interviewing.

OhioMeansJobs.com currently lists more than 180,000 job openings, and nearly 95,000 of them pay more than $50,000 per year.

To find contact information for your nearest OhioMeansJobs center, visit OhioMeansJobs.com and select “FIND A JOB CENTER” at the bottom of the page or call 1-888-296-7541.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

May 14

Governor DeWine Statement on New CDC Mask Guidance

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued the following statement directing the Ohio Department of Health to conform the remaining health orders to CDC guidance through June 2nd:

“Ohio will be amending our remaining health orders to comply with the new CDC guidance, which says that those who have been vaccinated no longer need to wear masks, while those who have not been vaccinated should still wear a mask and socially distance.

"The CDC still recommends everyone wear masks when they are in a healthcare setting, when they are travelling on public transportation, including airplanes, and when they are in a business or employer that chooses to require masks. Our order will be amended to reflect these recommendations, as well.

“The most powerful tool we have to protect against the COVID-19 virus is the vaccine. Because of the vaccine, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are decreasing dramatically. The vaccine allows us to live our lives more normally and without fear.

“As I said in my address to Ohioans on Wednesday, the more individuals who get vaccinated, the more the entire state is protected from the virus.  The vaccine is our path out of the pandemic, and it is our best protection against the virus. We are on the offense, and the science is unequivocal: Vaccines are our best weapon to fight COVID-19 and save lives!

“However, not all Ohioans have been vaccinated yet. The June 2nd date I announced for the removal of health orders provided time for those who had not yet gotten their vaccine to get it. While our order will be amended to reflect the new CDC guidance, it will remain in place until June 2nd.

“Further, we must remember, that we still have Ohioans who are not eligible to be vaccinated, including those younger than 12 years-of-age.  Individuals who have not been vaccinated should continue to wear masks pursuant to CDC recommendations. Businesses also have every right to continue to use masks and to require them for employees and customers.  The experience in other states has been that some individuals may choose to wear masks, and many businesses, schools, hospitals, and other employers may choose to require masks in their buildings. That will remain their choice.

“Regardless of the new CDC guidance, this fact remains clear: The most powerful thing anyone can do to end this pandemic is to get vaccinated.”

 

May 13

Ohio Vax-a-Million, Kids Vaccination, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIO VAX-A-MILLION

In Wednesday's statewide evening address, Governor DeWine detailed a series of statewide drawings to provide incentives for Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Ohioans aged 18 and older will be entered into "Ohio Vax-a-Million," a weekly drawing with a prize of up to $1 million. 

The pool of names for the "Ohio Vax-a-Million" drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State's publicly available voter registration database. Additionally, a webpage will be available to register.  

A total of five weekly drawings for each prize will take place, with the first winners being announced May 26th. Winners must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the date of the respective drawing. 

The drawings will be administered by the Ohio Department of Health, with technical assistance from the Ohio Lottery Commission, and will be funded through existing allocations to the Ohio Department of Health of unexpended coronavirus relief funds.

KIDS VACCINATION

Governor DeWine announced COVID-19 Pfizer vaccinations are now available to Ohio's youth age 12 years and older, following members of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for this age group. 

Additionally, Ohioans 17 and under who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination will be entered into a drawing for a full, four-year scholarship to any of Ohio's state colleges and universities, including full tuition, room and board, and books. A total of five weekly drawings for a full, four-year scholarship will take place, with the first winner being announced on May 26th. A webpage will be available to register those who qualify. 

FEDERAL PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

Governor DeWine today announced that the administration will inform the U.S. Department of Labor that Ohio intends to stop participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program on June 26, 2021. 

"When the program was put in place, it was a lifeline for many Americans at a time when the only weapon we had in fighting the virus was through social distancing, masking, and sanitization," said Governor DeWine. "This is no longer the case as we now have an abundant supply of vaccines."

The FPUC program gave states funding to offer enhanced unemployment benefits, including an additional $600, and now an additional $300. 

“As companies around the globe begin to expand and make new investments coming out of the pandemic, the ability to provide a workforce is emerging as the primary factor in their decisions,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “States that can favorably respond are going to win the jobs that will employ people for years to come.”

Several business associations shared quotes of support regarding this announcement. 

NEW PSA

Governor DeWine introduced a new public service announcement today that encourages Ohioans to get vaccinated, featuring Cleveland Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski. 

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

May 12

Governor DeWine Announces Vaccine Incentives, End Date for Health Orders 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Wednesday announced a series of statewide drawings to provide incentives to Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination. With wide access to the life-saving vaccine to help Ohioans safe, Governor DeWine also announced that most COVID-19 health orders would be removed on June 2nd. DeWine made the announcements during a statewide address to Ohioans Wednesday evening.

“For a year, Ohioans have made sacrifices to save lives and keep our state moving forward.  What you have done has really worked!  And now, we have a powerful weapon that is almost 100 percent effective in beating the virus," Governor DeWine said in his remarks.  "Simply put, the vaccine is stronger and better than medical experts ever imagined.  And now, everyone 12 and over can use it to protect themselves -- to put an invisible shield of protection around themselves.  Everyone can now control their own health—their own destiny.”  

Vaccine Incentives/Statewide Drawings

In an effort to increase the number of Ohioans who currently have not taken a COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated, Governor DeWine announced a series of statewide drawings to help incentivize vaccinations.

Ohioans under the age of 18 who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a drawing for a four-year full scholarship to any of Ohio's state colleges and universities, including full tuition, room, and board.

Ohioans aged 18 and older will be entered into a weekly drawing with a prize of up to $1 million.

A total of five weekly drawings for each prize will take place, with the first winners being announced on May 26th. Winners must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the date of the respective drawing.

The drawings will be administered by the Ohio Department of Health, with technical assistance from the Ohio Lottery Commission, and will be funded through existing allocations to the Ohio Department of Health of unexpended coronavirus relief funds.

Further details and contest rules will be announced by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Lottery Commission next week during a briefing to news media.

Expiration of Health Orders

Governor DeWine also announced that he has asked the Ohio Department of Health to remove most pandemic health orders on June 2nd. The timeline will allow any Ohioan who has not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine to obtain one to protect themselves and others before the lifting of coronavirus mitigation protocols.

“It is time to end the health orders. It’s been a year. You’ve followed the protocols. You’ve done what we’ve asked. You’ve bravely fought this virus," said Governor DeWine. "And now, our cases are down, and we have a tested and proven weapon with the vaccine that all Ohioans 12 and over can utilize.”

Measures being removed will include facial covering protocols, social distancing guidelines, and capacity restrictions for indoor and outdoor events.

Governor DeWine announced that any pandemic health orders that would remain solely relate to either 1.) nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which will also to have federal safety protocols, and 2.) data collection related to the pandemic.

Governor DeWine's Statewide Address Remarks

A copy of Governor DeWine's statewide address remarks (as prepared) is available in PDF format via this link.

 

Governor Announces Vaccinations Available to Youth in Ohio, Wolstein Center Vaccination Update

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced COVID-19 Pfizer vaccinations will now be available to Ohio’s youth, age 12 years and older, following members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommending use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for this age group today. This follows the FDA’s update of the emergency use authorization (EUA) on Monday to include youth ages 12-15.

“This is promising news for Ohioans, making vaccine available to more people will help us return to the life we want to live. The COVID-19 vaccine is incredibly powerful, and by protecting more individuals, we make everyone safer,” said Governor DeWine. “We have worked proactively with the American Academy of Pediatrics – Ohio Chapter, children’s hospitals, and other providers to make sure they would be prepared to begin offering this vaccine to Ohio’s youth. I appreciate all they have done to prepare for this next phase.”

Children under age 18 who are not emancipated must have parental consent for any vaccine. A parent or legal guardian generally should accompany the minor to receive the vaccine, unless the administration of the vaccine occurs in a physician’s office, school-based or school-associated clinic setting or similar setting.

There are hundreds of locations at which youth ages 12-15 can be vaccinated across the state, including pediatrician’s offices, vaccine clinics, local health departments, hospitals, community health centers, and more. However, parents of 12-year-olds should be advised that due to current state law, those age 12 must have a prescription to be vaccinated at a pharmacy. Youth ages 13 and older do not need a prescription and may receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy or any other vaccine provider listed at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. A bill has been introduced that would permit youth ages 7-12 to receive a COVID-19 or influenza vaccination at a pharmacy without a prescription. Prescriptions would still be required for all other vaccinations for this age group. Members of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate have passed the bill. Once the bill is signed by the governor, it will immediately go into effect.

The Ohio Department of Health has also released a Frequently Asked Questions for Parents, Guardians, and Youth Ages 12-17 Eligible for the Pfizer Vaccine

Governor DeWine also announced today that anyone age 12 and older can get their first Pfizer dose at the Wolstein Center Mass Vaccination Clinic in downtown Cleveland from May 18 through May 31. Appointments during this time period had initially been reserved for second doses only, but the site will expand to also offer first doses to anyone who has not yet been vaccinated, including those in the expanded eligibility category.

Youth ages 12-17 who are not emancipated must have consent from and be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to be vaccinated at the Wolstein Center. Second dose appointments will be scheduled at the time of the first dose, but because the mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center will close in early June, those vaccinated at the clinic from May 18 through May 31 will be scheduled to receive their second dose at an area Discount Drug Mart location.

The state-federal mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center, which is located at 2000 Prospect Avenue and open 7 days a week, has administered hundreds of thousands of vaccines since launching in March. Walk-ins are welcome from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. or appointments can be scheduled at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Parking is free and transportation assistance for those living in Cuyahoga County is available by calling 2-1-1.

 

May 10

Ohio Restores Unemployment Benefits Weekly Work-Search Requirement

Beginning the week of May 23, Ohioans will be required to resume weekly work-search activities as part of future applications for unemployment payments, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Interim Director Matt Damschroder announced today.

“Now that Ohioans have had the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and can safely return to work, it only makes sense that we restore work-search requirements for everyone,” said Governor Mike DeWine.

“Ohio business owners are creating jobs faster than people are returning to the workforce,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Now that all Ohio adults have access to the vaccine, it’s time to return to the traditional work requirements.”

At the height of the pandemic from mid-March through Dec. 1, 2020, the federal government authorized states to waive work-search requirements. On Dec. 6, ODJFS resumed the work-search requirement for new unemployment claims, while exempting existing claims.

Allowable work-search activities include applying for a job, attending a resume-writing course, or creating and maintaining a reemployment plan on OhioMeansJobs.com. Under Ohio law, some individuals will be exempt from conducting work-search activities, including employees on a temporary layoff of 45 days or less, and individuals in approved training. Additionally, individuals will meet their weekly work-search requirement if they are members in good standing with a union hiring hall that refers its members to jobs. For those in approved school or training, their work-search requirement may be considered met if they are attending all classes and making satisfactory progress.

ODJFS will notify unemployed Ohioans impacted by this change directly, to allow plenty of time to understand the requirements and begin their process of weekly work-search activities.

 

Governor DeWine Issues Statement on FDA Vaccine Authorization

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued this statement following the approval by the Food and Drug Administration's to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to those ages 12-15:

"I am encouraged that the FDA has already updated Pfizer’s Emergency Use Authorization to include youth ages 12-15. Following a recommendation, as soon as Wednesday, from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the CDC, Ohio will immediately expand vaccine eligibility to youth ages 12-15 and provide appropriate guidance for parents, guardians, and vaccine providers across the state. Vaccinations are our way back to a more normal life."

 

May 6

Ohio's Mass Vaccination Clinic in Cleveland to Offer Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Next Week

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio's state-federal mass vaccination clinic in downtown Cleveland will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week. Anyone age 18 or older may receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine from Tuesday, May 11, through Monday, May 17. 

The clinic, located at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center at 2000 Prospect Avenue, accepts walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Appointments can also be booked online at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 833-4-ASK-ODH.

The mass vaccination clinic, which is operating in partnership between the state of Ohio, Federal Emergency Management Agency, City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and Cleveland State University, launched in mid-March. In its first six weeks of operations, more than 237,000 first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered.

The clinic will continue offering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to anyone age 16 or older through Monday, May 10. Second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered beginning on Tuesday, May 18, for those who received their first doses of vaccine at the Wolstein Center in late April and early May.

Current Wolstein Center Mass Vaccination Clinic Timeline: 

  • Tuesday, March 16 - Monday, April 5: Pfizer first doses
  • Tuesday, April 6 - Monday, April 26: Pfizer second doses
  • Tuesday, April 27 - Monday, May 10: Pfizer first doses
  • Tuesday, May 11 - Monday, May 17: Johnson & Johnson single doses
  • Tuesday, May 18 - Monday, May 31: Pfizer second doses

The clinic may extend beyond May 31 if demand for vaccine in a mass vaccination setting warrants that the clinic continue. There are currently more than 1,100 other local area providers offering vaccines across the state

Administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused in Ohio last month as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization conducted a thorough review of extremely rare blood-clotting events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to resume on April 23 after comprehensive analysis found that the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the risks. Providers in Ohio were permitted to immediately resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine provided they continue to follow all guidance by the CDC and FDA.

 

May 4

Health Orders Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the following orders regarding COVID-19 testing frequency of residents and staff at assisted living facilities and nursing homes and opening of Senior Centers and Older Adult Day Services Centers:

 

May 3

Nursing Home & Assisted Living Employee Testing Exemption, Homebound Vaccination Plan

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

LONG-TERM CARE/NURSING FACILITY TESTING ORDER

Governor DeWine announced today that a new Ohio Department of Health order will exempt fully vaccinated staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities from routine testing. Staff members who are not fully vaccinated will be required to be tested twice a week. 

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

HOMEBOUND VACCINATION PLAN

The Ohio Department of Aging and Ohio Department of Health have developed a homebound vaccination playbook for organizations working to ensure homebound individuals have access to the vaccine. By utilizing existing Rapid Response Teams, Ohio can deliver the vaccine where it is needed. 

That playbook is available on the coronavirus website at coronavirus.ohio.gov. If you are a homebound individual or know a homebound individual who would like a vaccine, please contact your Area Agency on Aging at 1-866-243-5678.

WOLSTEIN WALK-INS

Ohio's mass vaccination center at the Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland continues to accept walk-ins to the clinic. Last week, 2,000 walk-ins were vaccinated. 

Of the total vaccinated at the Wolstein Center last week, approximately 44 percent of those vaccinated were minorities and approximately 68 percent live in targeted high social-vulnerability zip codes.  

The clinic is open 7 days a week, and walk-ins are accepted from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Appointments are also available in advance by visiting GetTheShot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 833-4-ASK-ODH.

The Cleveland Indians are offering discounts on tickets for anyone who has been vaccinated at the Wolstein Center or any other vaccination location. Fans can get $5 off regular priced Upper Box and Upper Reserved tickets if they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This offer is only available online for series against the Cincinnati Reds May 7 – 9, Chicago Cubs May 11 – 12, and Minnesota Twins May 21 – 23.

The Reds are also offering discounted View Level tickets for $10 for fans who show their COVID-19 vaccination card with at least one shot complete. The offer is valid at Great American Ball Park ticket windows for Monday-Thursday games through June. 

IN-DEMAND JOBS WEEK

Lt. Governor Husted provided remarks from the Southern Hills Career and Technical Center in Georgetown where he was visiting for a signing day as part of In-Demand Jobs Week.

The Lt. Governor, who also serves as Director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation, made various stops in and around the Cincinnati region today in recognition of In-Demand Jobs Week. The visits worked to promote the state's efforts to champion career, technical, and vocational education while highlighting both in-demand and critical jobs.

Follow along throughout In-Demand Jobs Week on social media at #InDemandOhio.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

April 27

Quarantine Health Order, Mass Vaccination Clinic, Economic Update

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

QUARANTINE HEALTH ORDER

Governor DeWine today announced that any Ohioan who has been fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19. This health order applies to all adults, except those who are in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or other congregate care settings.  Nursing homes and long-term care facilities, including staff and residents, should continue to quarantine following CDC guidance. 

"The power of the vaccine allows us to do this," said Governor DeWine. "Fully vaccinated Ohioans, including high school students, will be able to participate in sports and other activities, even if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19."

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As of today, 4.6 million Ohioans have received their first vaccine, and 3.6 million are fully vaccinated. 

The health order is forthcoming.  

MASS VACCINATION CLINIC 

Ohio's Mass Vaccination Clinic at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center will now accept walk-ins and will offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week and next week. Walk-ins are welcome from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

"More than 237,000 first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered in the six weeks the Mass Vaccination Clinic has been open," said Governor DeWine. "The time to get vaccinated is now, and there are many open appointments at the Wolstein Center, as well as other vaccination locations in Ohio." 

Ohioans are still encouraged to visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to look for open appointments or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to book an appointment over the phone. 

ECONOMIC UPDATE

Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided an update on Ohio’s economic landscape related to the recently announced 2020 Census count, the state’s current unemployment rate and workforce development efforts.

Presently, on OhioMeansJobs.com, there are 180,773 total jobs available and 92,866 of those jobs have a salary of over $50,000.

Additionally, workforce development programs, such as TechCred and IMAP, aim to upskill Ohioans, making businesses and the state more competitive.

“We have training programs available that can give you the skills you need to be ready to go to work at an in-demand, higher paying job in one month or less,” said Lt. Governor Husted.

INTERMEDIATE CARE HEALTH ORDER

Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Department of Health is rescinding the September 24, 2020 order that gave guidelines for indoor and outdoor visitation at intermediate care facilities. Intermediate care facilities should now follow current guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine appropriate access to the facility and resident visitation. 

EQUITY UPDATE

The Ohio Department of Health, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and Community Centers for the Deaf have translated important COVID-19 vaccination guidance and information into American Sign Language. These video segments are now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

Governor Announces Health Orders Removing Restrictions Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the following public health orders:

 

April 23

Vaccine Providers Permitted to Resume Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations in Ohio

Following the recommendation from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization (ACIP) today that the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine resume in the U.S., Governor Mike DeWine has released the following statement:

“Our country’s vaccine safety system has worked as designed – these extremely rare, serious blood-clotting events were reported into the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and the vaccine distribution was paused to allow a thorough review of the facts and time to educate healthcare providers on the rare events. Now, a comprehensive analysis by the independent medical professionals on the ACIP has resulted in the recommendation that the benefits of Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the risks, and that vaccine administration resume. The CDC and FDA have accepted those recommendations, lifting the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Providers in Ohio are permitted to immediately resume administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines in Ohio, provided they continue to follow all guidance by the CDC and FDA.

The Ohio Department of Health is issuing guidance to providers to ensure they have access to the latest information on the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and that healthcare providers are aware of treatment methods for these extremely rare but potentially life-threatening cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

According to the FDA, people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and develop shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, neurological symptoms (including severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision), or petechiae beyond the site of vaccination should seek immediate medical care.

Additional information on mass vaccination clinics, mobile vaccine strategies, and specific sites resuming Johnson & Johnson are not available at this time. Officials with the Ohio Department of Health will continue to follow this situation closely.

Additional resources from the CDC and FDA:

 

April 21

Vaccinations & Virus Spread, Unemployment System Enhancements

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATIONS AND VIRUS SPREAD

As of today, 38 percent of Ohioans have received at least one coronavirus vaccination shot. Although cases have plateaued, virus variants are more contagious among those who have not been vaccinated.

"Just because the numbers are getting better and more people are getting vaccinated, the virus is now more dangerous than it was a few months ago for those who haven't been vaccinated," said Governor DeWine. 

"Unvaccinated Ohioans lack the same protection against this virus as those who are vaccinated," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health. "The virus is now in more contagious forms that put younger people at much greater risk, including the risk of ending up in the hospital. Essentially, the new variants have evolved to stick much more easily to our cells, so it takes less of the virus and less exposure to make one sick.  Add to that the fact that more older Ohioans have been vaccinated, and it adds up to mean that if you’re young and unvaccinated, what may not have been much of a concern to you this fall should be a concern now." 

Dr. Vanderhoff also warned that Ohioans should not count on herd immunity until more people are vaccinated. 

The vaccine is now more widely available and there is no shortage. Ohioans can visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to look for open appointments or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to book an appointment over the phone. Ohio's mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland is also now booking appointments for next week. First doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered. Appointments for the mass vaccination clinic can be booked via the aforementioned methods.

NEW PSAs

Governor DeWine introduced three new public service announcements today that encourage Ohioans to get vaccinated. 

UNEMPLOYEMENT SYSTEM UPDATES

In an effort to continually improve Ohioans’ experiences with the Ohio Unemployment Office, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Interim Director Matt Damschroder shared several action updates.

The ODJFS team has been working with the Public-Private Partnership (P3 Team) to make improvements to the call center, which now has an average call handle time of less than 10 minutes (the lowest since the pandemic started). There is also real progress on the claims backlog.  In addition, new tools have been implemented to enhance fraud detection including additional identity verification requirements and new IT measures, such as Experian and LexisNexis technology, to verify the identity of unemployment applications.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

April 15

Variant Spread, Vaccination Opportunities, Inclusive Employer Toolkit

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VARIANT SPREAD

Governor DeWine announced today that more than 36 percent of Ohioans have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, however, Ohio's statewide case incidence number has reached 200 cases per 100,000 people as compared to 144 cases per 100,000 people four weeks ago. There are currently more than 1,300 COVID-positive patients in Ohio's hospitals.

"What we're seeing in Ohio is a strong variant that is multiplying very quickly and is more contagious than the virus we've seen in the past, but we have hope, and hope is the vaccine," said Governor DeWine. "Vaccination is how we get out of this."  

The majority of the counties with the highest incidence of cases in Ohio are in the northern region of the state which is seeing a high level of variant cases. Lucas County is currently seeing the highest occurrence of cases with 341.1 cases per 100,000 county residents. 

Franklin County increased to Alert Level 4 (purple) on Ohio Public Health Advisory System due to a sustained increase in COVID-related emergency room visits, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions.

VACCINATION OPPORTUNITIES 

There are a significant number of vaccine providers across the state with open vaccination appointments for this week and next week. Several sites are also accepting walk-up appointments including the mass vaccination clinic at Summit County's fairgrounds, Franklin County's regional mass vaccination clinic, and the Youngstown clinics at the Covelli Centre and Congregation Rodef Sholom Temple.

Ohio's mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland is also opening a satellite vaccination clinic on Friday and Saturday in Maple Heights which has many open appointments for the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to look for open appointments or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to book an appointment over the phone. 

INCLUSIVE EMPLOYER TOOLKIT

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) today announced the launch of the Inclusive Employer Toolkit designed to help employers recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities and foster an inclusive workplace.

Recruitment and retention are challenges for many businesses. Individuals with disabilities represent a talent pool that is often hidden and underutilized. The Inclusive Employer Toolkit, which can be used in its entirety or by section, is a guide to creating an inclusive workplace and accessing this hidden pool of talent.

“Ohioans with disabilities make excellent employees because of their loyalty and drive to be successful,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Creating an inclusive work environment and leveraging this untapped talent pool gives companies a competitive edge, and the new OOD Employer Toolkit can help give businesses the tools they need to get started.”

The Toolkit includes four main topics:

  1. Building the Business Case – benefitting from hiring people with disabilities
  2. Inclusive Workplace – making the workplace inclusive of everyone
  3. Recruiting, Hiring, and Supporting Employees – getting access to a greater pool of talent
  4. Workplace Accommodations – making small changes can make a big difference

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

April 13

Ohio Advises Temporary Pause for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Today Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud, and Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D., are advising all Ohio vaccine providers to temporarily pause using the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. 

This is in response to a statement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine following extremely rare blood-clotting events of six people in the U.S. after receiving the vaccine. 

Later today the FDA and the CDC will hold a media briefing. 

In addition, the CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices tomorrow to further review these cases.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Health are following this situation closely.

 

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided an update on Ohio's vaccination plans following this morning's decision to pause the administration of the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. 

The majority of the Ohio's Johnson and Johnson doses were directed to mass vaccination clinics and to 63 public and private 4-year colleges and universities, most of which have already completed their student vaccinations. 

Of the mass vaccination clinics and college/university clinics that did plan to offer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine this week, most will proceed with their clinics by offering either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.  A total of eight sites will not offer any vaccines this week as the health community works to recognize, report, and manage any adverse events related to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

There are many other local providers with open appointments for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to look for open appointments. 

Governor DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud, and Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D., directed all Ohio vaccine providers this morning to temporarily pause using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine following a recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The recommendation was made after six people who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine experienced an extremely rare blood-clotting condition in the United States. The cases have occurred in women between 18 and 48 and the reactions have taken place within 6-13 days after receiving the vaccine.

Approximately 6.8 million people have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the U.S. 264,311 of those vaccinations were administered in Ohio.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

April 9

Amended Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Amended Order for Social Distancing, Facial Coverings and Non-Congregating to clarify that:

  • Six feet of separation between tables at restaurants, drinking establishments and banquet facilities must be maintained unless there is a physical barrier between them.
  • Other than the facial covering requirements, the social distancing, congregating, and capacity requirements of the order do not apply to religious observances and First Amendment activity, including activity by the media, as has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • The K-12 mask requirement mandate remains in effect and unchanged.

Executive Orders Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed the following Executive Orders:

 

April 8

Economic Recovery, Unemployment Insurance, Case Increases, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Governor DeWine today outlined the progression of Ohio's economic recovery.

  • Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP) outpaced the nation in the final quarter of calendar year 2020. The U.S. GDP is estimated to have grown 4.3 percent in the quarter, and Ohio’s GDP is estimated to have increased 5 percent during the same timeframe.
  • Ohio’s unemployment rate in February 2021 was 5 percent and the national rate was 6.2 percent.
  • This month, Ohio’s tax revenues exceeded the monthly estimate by $41 million, or 2.6 percent, and remain 4.3 percent above the estimate for the fiscal year-to-date. This is a dramatic improvement from one year ago.

These positive developments follow several steps taken by Governor DeWine at the onset of the pandemic to ensure that the state budget remained balanced and stable, including a freeze on state government spending, cuts in state staffing costs, and refinanced state bonds.

"I made these hard choices early on, tightening our belt because we did not know what the future held," said Governor DeWine. "A strong post-pandemic economy directly depends on defeating the virus, and as we are working hard to vaccinate Ohioans, we are seeing good signs in our economy as well."  

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Using federal dollars strategically to shore up Ohio's unemployment system will also contribute to Ohio's year of recovery. Today, Governor DeWine recommended to the General Assembly that Ohio use a portion of its federal COVID relief and recovery dollars to pay off the Unemployment Insurance loan owed to the federal government.  

"This loan was caused by the global pandemic, and paying it off now will free Ohio employers from this burden so they can instead focus on getting employees across our state back to work.," said Governor DeWine "This will help small businesses owners and employees, and I look forward to working with our partners in the General Assembly on legislation to pay off the loan."

“The Ohio Chamber of Commerce applauds Gov. DeWine’s announcement today recommending a portion of the state’s federal pandemic relief funds be used to pay off the state’s unemployment compensation loan. Eliminating Ohio’s outstanding federal unemployment loan balance and shoring up the state’s trust fund will prevent employers from facing an estimated tax increase in 2022 of over $100 million and could save employers as much as $658 million in tax increases over a three-year period," said Ohio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew E. Doehrel. "The DeWine administration’s investment will also prevent a repeat of the tax hikes employers were saddled with stemming from the 2008 recession when it took the state 8 years to pay back Ohio’s federal unemployment loan of more than $3.3 billion.”

“During the last unemployment crisis, Ohio borrowed about $3.4 billion to pay unemployment benefits to workers. During that time, Ohio employers were hit with federal interest and penalties that cost them over $3 billion. Due to the COVID pandemic, Ohio is already over $1.4 billion in unemployment compensation debt. To pay that back would be a huge cost to Ohio businesses who are trying desperately to recover and hire people,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

CASE INCREASES & OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM UPDATE

This week is the second week where the cases over two weeks per 100,000 people have gone up by more than 10. Two weeks ago, Ohio's cases per 100,000 people were 146.9. Today, case per 100,000 people is at 183.7. 

"We are moving in the wrong direction from our statewide goal of 50 cases per 100,000 people," said Governor DeWine. "We are not seeing the runaway case growth we saw during the fall yet, so we can still turn this around if more people continue to get vaccinated and we continue to mask and social distance."

The increases in case rates are reflected in this week’s Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows case increases in 53 counties over the past week.

Level changes include:

  • Franklin County moved to the watch list following sustained increases in cases and in COVID-related healthcare use including emergency department and outpatient visits and hospitalizations for COVID.
  • Putnam County moved from orange to red.
  • Carroll, Mercer, and Morgan counties moved from yellow to orange.
  • Brown and Noble counties dropped from orange to yellow.

According to Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio and the nation are enduring another wave of COVID-19 due to variants of the original virus that are more contagious and more deadly. Variant counts in Ohio jumped from 92 on March 12 to 797 today, a doubling time of about every 9-10 days.

MULTISYSTEM INFLAMMATORY SYNDROME IN CHILDREN

Although COVID-19 has historically affected older Ohioans, children are not immune to getting sick with coronavirus, and in some rare cases, kids can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Since the start of the pandemic, 166 children have been treated for this syndrome since the start of the pandemic. 

According to Dr. Dustin Fleck, chief of rheumatology at Dayton Children’s Hospital, this syndrome is unique because it is not associated with an active COVID infection. Rather, symptoms usually develop 2-4 weeks after a child has a symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID infection.

The syndrome is characterized by fever and inflammation throughout the body, specifically targeting the heart. The syndrome can also target the gastrointestinal system, liver, lungs, kidneys, and brain. Parents should look for symptoms of abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swelling of hands and feet, and redness of eyes.

Dr. Fleck's full explanation of multisystem inflammatory syndrome is available on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page.

CHOOSE OHIO FIRST SCHOLARSHIP

Lt. Governor Jon Husted highlighted a scholarship that boosts Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The scholarship, part of the Choose Ohio First (COF) program, will support an estimated 3,400 Ohio students who are new to the program, along with an additional 3,000 existing COF scholars. The scholarship awards a total of $69,826,882 over the next five years.

“The Choose Ohio First scholarship is helping Ohio students get a head start on their future careers, preparing them for in-demand jobs including coding and cybersecurity,” said Lt. Governor Husted, who led efforts to create the program as then-Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. “This new investment shows how valuable a STEM education – and keeping those students in Ohio – is to the state. I encourage high school students to consider the Choose Ohio First program as they are looking at their future college education.”

This new COF scholarship will support students completing programs in the STEM disciplines at 57 colleges and universities across the state, including several schools that are new to the program.

BMV UPDATES

Lt. Governor Husted also announced enhancements to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle's (BMV) “Get In Line, Online” system.

The update allows customers to check in at the deputy registrar agency by using a QR code, located on the BMV deputy registrar storefront.

Instead of checking in at the self-service kiosk and waiting inside the agency, customers may now wait in their vehicle and will receive a text message with instructions when it is their turn to return to the agency to complete their transaction.

On March 16, QR codes were rolled out to approximately 10-20 agencies per week.  By May, most agencies will have this “Get in Line, Online” enhancement available to customers.

The BMV is also reminding customers that the COVID-19 automatic extension that was applied to Ohio driver licenses, identification cards, and vehicle registrations is ending soon.

Visit bmv.ohio.gov for more information.   

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

April 5

Condensed Health Order, High School Vaccinations, OhioRISE

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CONDENSED HEALTH ORDER

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will issue a simplified health order that streamlines previous orders into a single order that underscores the most important tenants of infection prevention. 

"Our understanding of this virus and how it spreads is much more advanced than it was when we first learned about coronavirus in early 2020," said Governor DeWine. "As we move to begin a new chapter in our fight against the pandemic, where more and more Ohioans are being vaccinated, this new order will focus on our best defense measures against COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, limiting large gatherings, being outside, and practicing good hand hygiene." 

HIGH SCHOOL VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine announced that he has asked Ohio's local health departments and vaccine providers that are offering the Pfizer vaccine to coordinate with local high schools to offer vaccinations to high school students who are 16 or older. Pfizer is the only vaccine that is currently approved for children as young as 16. 

Today's announcement follows last week's announcement that vaccination clinics will be offered at all higher education campuses in the coming weeks. 

"As with our colleges, by taking vaccines to schools, we’ll increase the percentage of people in this age group who choose to get vaccinated," said Governor DeWine.

OhioRISE

As part of the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s managed care overhaul, Governor DeWine announced the “Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence (OhioRISE) program. The program will feature new, intensive, community-based services that will serve youth in their homes and communities, rather than in congregate settings that can be far away from a child’s home and support system. 

Over the next ten months, Aetna Better Health of Ohio will work with the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Family and Children First Cabinet Council to launch OhioRISE to serve all of Ohio’s eligible children. To enroll in OhioRISE, children must be Medicaid eligible, have significant behavioral health needs, and require enhanced services.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

April 1

Higher Education and Workplace Vaccinations, Increase in Variant Spread

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

HIGHER EDUCATION VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine announced today that the state will begin working with local colleges and universities to offer vaccination clinics on campuses across the state. These higher-education vaccination clinics will start on various campuses next week and will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

"Although young people are less likely to get sick from the coronavirus, they are significant carriers of the virus," said Governor DeWine. "By offering one-dose clinics on campus, students who wish to be vaccinated will have a nearby, convenient location to get the vaccine with their peers."

The goal is to offer on-campus clinics to all of Ohio's college students before the school year ends in May. 

WORKPLACE VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio will begin working with employers and other organizations to offer workplace vaccination clinics throughout Ohio. Beginning the week of April 12, vaccine providers can allot up to 25 percent of their vaccine allocation to be used to vaccinate their own employees or to partner with local employers, labor unions, and other organizations to vaccinate their employees at their work locations. 

INCREASE IN CASES, VARIANT SPREAD

For the past two Thursdays, Ohio's statewide average was just under 150 cases per 100,000 population. The two-week case rate has now risen to 167.1 cases per 100,000. New cases had been relatively flat through the month of March, but cases are beginning to increase once again, which demonstrates the necessity that Ohioans choose to be vaccinated. To date, nearly 30 percent of Ohioans have received at least one dose of vaccine. 

According to Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health, variant activity continues to rise, closely mirroring what is occurring in the rest of the nation. Michigan is currently experiencing an increase in cases that is more than 3.5 times what Ohio is seeing, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this increase appears to be driven substantially by variants. Most of Ohio's rising cases numbers and variant cases are happening in the area of the state bordering Michigan. 

"Ohio remains in a race against a virus that is now more contagious and right back on our heels," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "We can win this race as long as we don’t falter; as long as we press on with consistent masking and vaccination, especially in light of this week’s important and encouraging research out of the CDC confirming that the vaccines are powerful protection against COVID-19 and its variants."

Governor DeWine announced today that as Ohio continues to receive increases in its vaccine allotment, the state will allot more doses to areas that are seeing case spikes or increases in vaccine demand. 

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows case increases in 56 counties over the past week, however, because there are not yet significant increases in healthcare utilization at the county level, most counties stayed at the same level this week.

Level changes include:

  • Van Wert County moved from yellow to orange.
  • Auglaize, Paulding and Scioto moved from red to orange. 
  • Carroll, Mercer, and Morgan counties moved from orange to yellow. 
  • Clinton County dropped from red to yellow.

IN-DEMAND JOBS WEEK (MAY 3 – 7)

Lt. Governor Husted, in his capacity as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, also announced that In-Demand Jobs Week will officially take place May 3 through 7.

In-Demand Jobs Week is designed to promote Ohio’s most in-demand and fastest growing industries through statewide hiring, education, and training events. This year, In-Demand Jobs Week will feature all of Ohio’s top jobs, including critical jobs, which focus on the health and well-being of Ohioans such as child care workers, home health aides, and firefighters.

Throughout the week, businesses, education providers, community organizations, and more are encouraged to plan unique, virtual opportunities that will inspire students and job seekers to pursue a job in Ohio. From virtual tours and roundtables to virtual career-tech signing days and online job fairs, In-Demand Jobs Week is an opportunity to highlight what Ohio has to offer.

Organizations can visit TopJobs.Ohio.gov to add their event to the official In-Demand Jobs Week map. Individuals interested in attending an event can use this map to find events near them.

LAUNCH OF APRIL ROUND OF TECHCRED

The next round of TechCred launches today and closes on April 30 at 3:00 p.m.

Ohio businesses can visit TechCred.Ohio.gov to apply and help their employees earn a new tech-focused credential, at no cost.

More than 1,100 Ohio businesses have used TechCred, creating the opportunity for 19,841 technology-focused credentials to be earned by Ohio employees.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

 

March 25

Regional Mass Vaccination Sites, Vaccine Maintenance Program, BMV Website Redesign

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CLEVELAND MASS VACCINATION SITE

As of yesterday, more than 46,000 people have been vaccinated at the state-federal mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center. Next week will be the final segment of first doses vaccines.

Starting April 6, second doses will begin to be administered. Appointments can be scheduled by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. or by calling 1-833-427-5634 (1-833-4-ASK-ODH).

REGIONAL MASS VACCINATION SITES

Next week, Ohio will open 11 stationary mass vaccination sites and four mobile clinics that will travel throughout specific regions of the state. The stationary mass vaccination sites will be held at:

  • The Knights of Columbus, Lima, Ohio
  • The Lucas County Rec Center, Maumee, Ohio
  • Dayton-Montgomery County Convention Center, Dayton, Ohio
  • The Celeste Center, Columbus, Ohio
  • The Summit County Fairgrounds, Akron, Ohio
  • The site of the former Dillard's at Southern Park Mall, Youngstown, Ohio
  • The Cintas Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • The Wilmington Airpark, Wilmington, Ohio
  • Adena Medical Education Center, Chillicothe, Ohio
  • Wayne Street Medical Campus, Marietta, Ohio
  • Colony Square Mall, Zanesville, Ohio

Additionally, an Ohio Northern University mobile clinic will start next week and travel between Wyandot, Marion, Union, Logan, Crawford and Hardin counties.

The Ohio University Mobile Clinic will travel between Lawrence, Meigs, Vinton, Washington, Morgan and Perry counties. 

Additional details about the stationary and mobile clinics will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Appointments can be scheduled by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. or by calling 1-833-427-5634 (1-833-4-ASK-ODH). Appointments will be available for Ohioans ages 16 years and older. 

VACCINE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM

The Ohio Department of Aging has created the Vaccine Maintenance Program to ensure new residents and employees, and established residents and employees who previously decided not to receive a vaccine, can still choose to receive one. 

"We are eager to partner with facilities across the state to ensure our long-term care residents and their caregivers are protected from COVID-19," said Governor DeWine.  

The list of facilities includes nursing homes and assisted living facilities who have not indicated their willingness to participate in the Vaccine Maintenance Program or how they would make vaccinations available to their residents and staff.  

BMV WEBSITE REDESIGN

Lt. Governor Husted and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) today announced the launch of a vastly improved, more user-friendly BMV website. The redesign allows Ohio customers to have a faster, easier and more streamlined experience when they are using this resource.  

"We've already heard from many Ohioans who have found the newly redesigned site to be cleaner, more efficient and much easier to use," said Lt. Governor Husted, who also serves as Director of InnovateOhio. "The teams at InnovateOhio and the BMV built this site with the customer in mind so that when someone visits BMV.Ohio.Gov, they can quickly find what they're looking for, get their question answered, and go on with their day."

The newly redesigned website features a number of enhanced tools including a simplified authentication process for logging in, a dynamic search function to help customers explore by keyword, and a new “My BMV” profile allowing the user to see the status of their driver’s license, organ donation options, driving record, and more, all on one page as compared to the more than ten pages it was previously. Additionally, Ohioans will have an easier time utilizing the site on their mobile device.

TEAM OHIO RECOGNITION

Lt. Governor Husted also announced that this week, Government Technology Magazine named its annual Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers. This program annually recognizes the work of innovators around the country to improve state and local government through technology.  

Along with 21 individuals, the magazine recognized four teams. Among those teams was “Team Ohio,” including Lt. Governor Husted and Ervan Rodgers, the State Chief Information Officer and Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

The magazine focused on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with Ohio’s ongoing focus on making use of technology assets to improve the well-being of Ohioans and their health, property, security, livelihood, and prosperity.

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows declining rates of COVID-19 exposure and spread in ten counties. 

Dropping from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2: Brown, Columbiana, Coshocton, Fulton, Lawrence, and Logan. 

Dropping from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1: Holmes and Van Wert. 

JOB AND FAMILY SERVICES UPDATE

Governor DeWine today announced a new agreement between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Google to conduct data analytics on all outstanding claims. Google will review claims for markers and patterns of fraud. This will allow the department to prioritize and quickly process legitimate, outstanding claims. 

Additionally, Governor DeWine announced that David DeVillers, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, will join the Public-Private Partnership Team (P3) as the law enforcement subject matter expert.  He will serve as a liaison between the department and local, state and federal law enforcement. 

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

In-depth COVID-19 data for Ohio: coronavirus.ohio.gov

Ohio's central scheduling system: gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

All vaccine providers: vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov

More vaccine information: coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine

 

March 23

Health Director Signs Amended Orders on Visitation with Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facility Residents

Ohio Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud has signed the following orders:

General visitation requirements for nursing homes and assisted living facilities remain the same, including the requirement that visitors schedule appointments in advance, are screened at the door, and wear masks. Changes to the orders include: 

  • Ohio is requiring that visitation be permitted whenever safety protocols can be met. Previously, visitation was permitted, not required.
  • Vaccinated residents may have physical touch with their visitor while wearing a mask. Previously, touch was discouraged.
  • Visits may occur in a resident’s private room, as opposed to the previous requirement of a separate visitation area.
  • 30 minutes should serve as the minimum amount of time for a visit. Previously, 30 minutes was the maximum time to visit.

The order also expands the circumstances in which compassionate care visits should be granted.

In addition, the order updates nursing home and assisted living testing requirements to require the facilities to test vaccinated staff once per week and unvaccinated staff twice per week. The previous order made no distinction between vaccinated or unvaccinated staff.

 

March 22

Nursing Home and Assisted Living Visitation, Vaccination Appointment Booking

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATION APPOINTMENT BOOKING

While most of Ohio's current vaccine providers are quickly filling all vaccination appointments, some locations are seeing less demand for the vaccine. In response, Governor DeWine announced that local health departments and hospitals that are having a hard time filling appointments with individuals who are currently eligible for the vaccine may book appointments with anyone 16 years old and older.

Currently, anyone age 40 or older is eligible to receive the vaccine. Eligibility will drop to any Ohioan age 16 and up beginning on March 29. 

CLEVELAND MASS VACCINATION UPDATE

As of today, more than 30,000 people have been vaccinated at the state-federal mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center. Appointments can be scheduled by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. or by calling 1-833-427-5634 (1-833-4-ASK-ODH).

NURSING HOME/ASSISTED LIVING VISITATION

The Ohio Department of Health will issue an updated order related to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The general visitation requirements will remain the same, including the requirement that visitors schedule appointments in advance, are screened at the door, and wear masks. Changes to the order include: 

  • Ohio is requiring that visitation be permitted whenever safety protocols can be met. Previously, visitation was permitted, not required;
  • Vaccinated residents may have physical touch with their visitor while wearing a mask. Previously, touch was discouraged;
  • Visits may occur in a resident’s private room, as opposed to the previous requirement of a separate visitation area;
  • 30 minutes should serve as the minimum amount of time for a visit. Previously, 30 minutes was the maximum time to visit.

The order will also expand the circumstances in which compassionate care visits should be granted.

In addition, the order will update nursing home and assisted living testing requirements to require the facilities to test vaccinated staff once per week and unvaccinated staff twice per week. The previous order made no distinction between vaccinated or unvaccinated staff.

"We must continue regularly testing for the virus," said Governor DeWine. "It’s just good science, and it will help us identify cases early and prevent the spread. Further, if COVID is controlled, that means less disruption to visitation."

Certain circumstances, such as a facility outbreak, may necessitate that visitation be restricted on a case-by-case basis. Nursing homes must also continue following federal regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

In-depth COVID-19 data for Ohio: coronavirus.ohio.gov

Ohio's central scheduling system: gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

All vaccine providers: vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov

More vaccine information: coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine

 

March 18

Declining Statewide Case Rate, Indoor Air Quality Assistance Program

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATEWIDE CASE RATE

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's statewide case rate stands at 143.8 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. When Ohio reaches 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be lifted. 

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows declining rates of COVID-19 exposure and spread in ten counties. 

Dropping from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2: Ashtabula, Carroll, Fayette, Jackson, Morrow, and Tuscarawas.

Dropping from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1: Auglaize, Mercer, Shelby, and Vinton.

NURSING HOME UPDATE

This week, Ohio’s long-term care facilities reported just 70 new COVID-19 cases, compared to 157 new cases reported the previous week and 2,832 new cases reported at the peak of the pandemic in December.

"In addition to wearing masks, social distancing, and cleaning, there is no doubt of the significant impact vaccination is having on protecting nursing home residents and preventing severe illness and death among those most targeted by the virus," said Governor DeWine. 

A total of 93 percent of Ohio’s nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living facilities have signed up to get additional vaccine for new staff and new residents through Ohio’s COVID-19 Vaccine Maintenance Program. Governor DeWine urged the 243 facilities in Ohio that have not requested additional vaccine for new staff and residents to alert the state to its process to offer the vaccine by filling out the survey at aging.ohio.gov/COVIDvaccine.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has expanded the eligibility of the COVID-19 Indoor Air Quality Assistance Program, which provides reimbursements to eligible applicants to help cover the costs of inspections, assessments, maintenance, and improvements to indoor heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to control the spread of COVID-19. The program also provides reimbursement for secondary devices designed to destroy bacteria, mold, and viruses.

Launched in December, this $28 million federally-funded program targeted nursing homes, assisted living centers, and adult day centers that invested in HVAC improvements that weaken COVID-19’s spread. The expanded eligibility extends to:

  • Intermediate care facilities;
  • Hospices;
  • Senior centers;
  • Adult care facilities;
  • Waiver settings (group homes); and
  • Substance use treatment centers.

More information, including the application, can be found at BWC.ohio.gov.

CASE DATA/VACCINE INFORMATION

In-depth COVID-19 data for Ohio: coronavirus.ohio.gov

Ohio's central scheduling system: gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

All vaccine providers: vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov

More vaccine information: coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine

 

March 16

Governor DeWine Announces Expanded Vaccine Eligibility, Cleveland Mass Vaccination Clinic Opens to Public

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and Cleveland State University (CSU) today welcomed the first members of the general public to be vaccinated at Ohio's mass vaccination clinic at CSU's Wolstein Center in Cleveland. 

The eight-week mass vaccination clinic is vaccinating approximately 1,500 Ohioans today and will ultimately bring vaccine doses to 210,000 people in Ohio. Similar to mass vaccination sites in other states, the site will incrementally increase the number of vaccines administered, and up to 6,000 doses per day are expected to be available by next week.

Video and interviews from inside the clinic today can be found at this link.

The Wolstein Center location was recommended by Ohio and selected by FEMA based on its proximity to a large number of Ohio’s high-risk citizens and medically underserved populations. To ensure equitable access to the vaccine for underserved and socially vulnerable populations, more than 300 local community groups are partnering with the state to help schedule appointments for those who face vaccination barriers. Translators will be on-site to assist those who speak other languages, and free transportation is available for those who need help getting to and from the clinic.

"This is an example of Ohio at its finest – citizens coming together to help ensure that all Ohioans, no matter where they live, have access to the vaccine," said Governor DeWine. "Today is a monumental day. With every shot, Ohio is moving closer to recovery."

While in Cleveland today, Governor DeWine also announced expanded vaccine eligibility in Ohio beginning on March 19, 2021, for phases 1E and 2C. Phase 1E includes those with cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and obesity. Phase 2C extends eligibility to Ohioans who are 40 and older. Between these two eligible groups, 1.6 million more Ohioans will have access to the vaccine. 

Beginning on March 29, eligibility will be expanded to all Ohioans ages 16 and older. FDA emergency use authorization only allows those ages 16 and 17 to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

To book an appointment at the Wolstein Center Mass Vaccination Clinic or to find appointment information on the more than 1,300 local providers offering the vaccine statewide, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Ohioans can also schedule mass vaccination clinic appointments by calling 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). 

The Ohio Department of Health, Ohio National Guard, and Ohio Emergency Management Agency are managing the Wolstein Center clinic with support from FEMA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Health Department, Cuyahoga County, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, and University Hospitals.

“This is a big day for Cuyahoga County—we’re launching a major attack on the virus, with more than 210,000 vaccine doses to be administered,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “This is a tremendous opportunity that can help our residents return to work, school, church, and to see family and friends again. Just in time for spring we have a chance to make sure everyone in our community can be part of this lifesaving COVID-19 recovery effort. I encourage everyone who is eligible to get the shot—not just for yourself, but for our entire community.”

"We're so proud that after weeks of hard work and planning by our team and our key partners, Ohio's Mass Vaccination Clinic at CSU's Wolstein Center is ready to open,'' said Cleveland State University President Harlan M. Sands. "It is critical to our mission as a university to serve our community on important issues like this one." 

The Wolstein Center Mass Vaccination Clinic will operate seven days a week from 8:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. and will offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine during the first three weeks of operations. Those vaccinated during that timeframe will be guaranteed their second Pfizer dose during the fourth, fifth, and sixth weeks of the clinic. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered at the site during the seventh and eighth weeks. There are multiple free parking options near the Wolstein Center.

The state of Ohio is also offering two pop-up mass vaccination clinics in Columbus and Cincinnati beginning on March 18, and 15 long-term mass vaccination clinics will open regionally across Ohio in coming weeks. 

For more information about Ohio’s vaccination plan, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine

 

March 15

Health Order Signed Regarding Spring Sports and Extracurricular Activities

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud has issued an addendum that updates quarantine guidance for student athletes and participants in extracurricular activities who may have been incidentally exposed to COVID-19 in a classroom setting.

The Addendum to Director’s Second Amended Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club and Professional Sports and Extracurricular Activities is in effect now. For spring sports and extracurricular activities, students will not be required to quarantine because they have an incidental exposure to COVID-19 in a classroom under the school-based exposure guidance unless symptoms develop. Students will now be permitted to participate in organized sporting and extracurricular activities as long as they remain symptom-free and follow applicable safety precautions.

However, students who are exposed in other settings outside of the classroom will be required to continue following existing CDC quarantine guidance.

 

March 11

Nursing Home Visitation, Statewide Case Rate, Rapid Testing, County Fairs

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CLEVELAND MASS VACCINATION SITE

The Cleveland mass vaccination site, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will launch on Wednesday, March 17, at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland. As of today, more than 17,000 Ohioans have registered to receive their vaccine at the site.

Additional appointments will become available throughout the coming days. To schedule an appointment at the Cleveland mass vaccination site, or with a vaccination provider, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

NURSING HOME VISITATION

Governor DeWine today discussed the new federal regulations for nursing home visitation, as well as Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program. The visitation guidelines, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate visitation should be happening in nursing homes. There are a few specific exceptions that would limit visitation, such as outbreaks in the facility or an extreme number of cases in the community.  Full information on the federal nursing home visitation guidance is available at cms.gov

Additionally, Governor DeWine highlighted the progress being made by Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program ensures new nursing home residents and employees, and established residents and employees who previously decided not to receive a vaccine, can still choose to receive one. Governor DeWine emphasized the importance of every nursing home resident receiving a vaccine. 

Long-term care facility visitation status is available on the dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

STATEWIDE CASE RATE

Governor DeWine announced that, statewide, Ohio is currently at a rate of 155 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people during the past two weeks. Last week, statewide data put Ohio at 180 cases per 100,000 people. 

"In Ohio, we are still at a very elevated level of cases, but today's health data is certainly trending in the right direction," said Governor DeWine. 

In an evening address last week, Governor DeWine announced that when Ohio reached 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be lifted. 

The Ohio Department of Health will update this data each Thursday.

RAPID TESTING 

Governor DeWine today detailed four initiatives that are making rapid COVID-19 tests more accessible to Ohioans:

  • Federal Qualified Health Centers
    • The state's ongoing partnership with federally qualified health centers has led to the availability of over 150,000 rapid tests at community health centers. These centers have professionals on-hand to administer the tests free of charge.
  • Local Health Departments
    • Local health departments have partnered with their communities to make at-home testing available to schools, nonprofit organizations, and first responders.
  • Public Libraries
    • The state has recently partnered with public libraries to make at-home tests available to more Ohio communities. During the first two weeks, Ohio has partnering with 120 libraries.
  • K-12 Schools
    • A new partnership launched today will bring 200,000 at-home tests to Educational Service Centers. To increase confidence and safety in schools, Governor DeWine encourages school districts to take advantage of this resource and develop aggressive testing plans.

Between libraries and local health departments, at-home testing is accessible in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties. Some of these areas had disproportionate access to testing earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.

GUIDANCE ON FAIRS

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health issued a revised order that allows for the reopening of all fair activities if certain health conditions are met. The updated order includes compliance with the statewide mask order and social distancing. Additionally, there will be a 25 percent maximum for indoor grandstand capacity and a 30 percent maximum for outdoor grandstand capacity. 

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health will issue updated order and guidance regarding festivals, parades, proms, and spring sports. For spring sports, students will not be required to quarantine because they have an incidental exposure to COVID-19 in a classroom unless symptoms develop. 

These orders and guidance will be forthcoming from the Ohio Department of Health.

HUSTED RECEIVES COVID-19 VACCINE 

Lt. Governor Husted today traveled to his hometown of Montpelier, Ohio to visit a vaccination site at the Montpelier Superior School, where 840 people were scheduled to receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

During the press conference, Lt. Governor Husted joined Montpelier Mayor Steve Yagelski and local resident Shirley Fry in receiving the vaccine, which was administered by Public Health Nurse Tammy Riegsecker. The Lt. Governor became eligible for the vaccine today, as part of Phase 2B in the state’s vaccination plan in which Ohioans age 50 and above are eligible for vaccination.   

LETTER ADDRESSING PUA FRAUD

Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor today sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging the development of a national, coordinated response to ongoing, widespread fraud attempts being committed through the unemployment system, specifically the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program.

See below for an excerpt from the letter:

“We urge you to immediately develop a national, coordinated response to this ongoing attempt to defraud the American people and our national and state governments. While states are doing everything they can to administer the federal programs while maintaining system integrity, a state-by-stare response is proving inadequate. This is not an Ohio problem — it’s a national problem that requires a national solution.”

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 984,934 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 17,825 COVID-19 deaths. A total of 51,323 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,255 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

March 9

Governor DeWine Declares March 9 a Day of Remembrance in Honor of Lives Lost to COVID-19

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has declared today a day of remembrance in Ohio in honor of the more than 17,500 Ohioans who have died from COVID-19. 

March 9, 2021, marks the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio. Since then, more than 979,000 people have tested positive in the state.

 

March 8

Vaccination Phase 1D and Phase 2B, Centralized Vaccination Scheduling Tool

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PHASE 1D AND PHASE 2B VACCINATION ELIGIBILITY 

In response to significant increase in the amount of vaccine coming into Ohio, Governor DeWine today outlined the individuals who are included in Phase 1D and Phase 2B of Ohio's vaccination plan, which will go into effect on Thursday, March 11. 

Phase 1D includes approximately 197,000 eligible Ohioans with certain medical conditions not addressed in previous phases, including type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease.

Phase 2B will open vaccinations based on age for Ohioans ages 50 and older. This group includes approximately 1.2 million eligible Ohioans.  

VACCINATION SCHEDULING TOOL

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio's centralized scheduling website is now available at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. The website will serve as a singular location for Ohioans to confirm that they are eligible to be vaccinated, identify nearby providers, and schedule their vaccine appointments. 

"As we continue to receive more vaccines, having a centralized scheduling website will streamline the process, reduce data lags, and provide real-time information on vaccination progress across the state," said Governor DeWine. 

The Ohio Department of Health will continue to work directly with vaccine providers to integrate their current systems into the statewide system. Providers will be expected to use this system or another electronic scheduling system that interfaces with this portal.

The centralized scheduling website will also be used for scheduling appointments at the mass vaccination clinics, including the FEMA site in Cleveland, that were announced last week. 

Outside partners, including the Area Agencies on Aging, will be available to help Ohioans who do not have access to the internet with appointment scheduling.  

UMEPLOYMENT UPDATE

Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has signed a contract with IBM to improve the unemployment call center. ODJFS has additionally signed a contract with LexisNexis to assist the department with on-going efforts to keep fraud out of the system. 

Jeff Ficke, leader of the ODJFS Public-Private Partnership Team (P-3 Team), joined Governor DeWine to provide an update on improvements being made to Ohio's unemployment system. Members of the ODJFS Public-Private Partnership Team include highly-skilled experts, most of whom are on loan from some of Ohio's top banking and insurance companies.  

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 979,725 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 17,656 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 50,965 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,223 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

March 5

Governor DeWine Announces 15 Regional Mass Vaccination Sites to Open Across Ohio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that 15 long-term mass vaccination clinics will open throughout Ohio to significantly expand regional access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The state-sponsored mass vaccination clinics will be located in Lima, Maumee, Dayton, Columbus, Akron, Youngstown, Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Marietta, Wilmington, and Zanesville. Four mobile mass vaccination clinics will also make rounds in the areas of northwestern and west-central Ohio (Ada), southeastern Ohio (Athens), north-central Ohio (Mansfield), and east-central Ohio (Steubenville). 

The state-sponsored, regional sites will be offered in addition to the eight-week mass vaccination clinic, which was announced earlier today, to open March 17 at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center.

“Mass vaccination clinics have always been part of our plan, but adequate supply is necessary for larger sites, so it was crucial that we first established local provider sites in all 88 counties to ensure that every citizen in every community has a provider nearby,” said Governor DeWine. “Now that we have more than 1,250 local vaccine providers and a significant increase in vaccine supply expected at the end of March, this is the right time to finalize and prepare to launch these large-scale regional clinics."

The regional mass vaccination clinics, which will begin opening in the coming weeks as supply becomes available, will operate until they are no longer necessary.

The regional mass vaccination sites will be locally operated with support from the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Emergency Management Agency. Clinics will be equipped to administer between 300 and 3,000 vaccines a day depending on location, supply, and demand. Ohio’s established vaccine providers can also expect to see an increase in their vaccine allotment as supply increases, and vaccine doses may also be allotted to new providers.

Any Ohioan who is eligible to receive the vaccine under the Ohio Department of Health’s vaccination plan may be vaccinated at any of Ohio's mass vaccination clinics. Ohio will also work closely with the clinics to ensure equitable access for high-risk residents and medically underserved communities that could be disproportionately impacted by the virus.

Several appointment-scheduling options will be available, including the use of Ohio’s forthcoming central scheduling system for some sites. The sites are not yet taking reservations, but specific instructions on how to book an appointment will be announced later this month. Dates of operation and hours will vary, but sites will offer both weekday and weekend appointments.

Governor DeWine also announced today that 50,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine will be dedicated to two pop-up mass vaccination sites in Columbus and Cincinnati.  The pop-up clinics will open shortly after the March 17 start date of Cleveland’s mass vaccination site and will offer 12,500 first doses at each location. Those vaccinated during the Columbus and Cincinnati pop-up mass vaccination sites will be guaranteed a second dose. Exact site locations are pending.

The 50,000 vaccine doses for these pop-up mass vaccination clinics were initially required by the federal government to be set aside for use in Ohio's more than 2,400 long-term care facilities as part of the federal long-term care program. Ohio was one of the first states to begin drawing from the unused long-term care vaccine supply to provide vaccines for the general population. Ohio has already administered nearly 160,000 reallocated doses from the program to the public.

A complete list of the selected regional mass vaccination clinic sites and associated local partners can be found at governor.ohio.gov. 

For more information on Ohio’s vaccination plan, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.

 

March 4

Governor DeWine Urges Ohioans to Remain Committed to Safety Practices, Announces Measurement for Lifting Health Orders

In a statewide address to Ohioans Thursday evening, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine urged Ohioans to remain committed to following COVID-19 safety practices as Ohio cases trend downward, and detailed the measurement needed to lift all Ohio Department of Health orders. 

"This has been a very tough year for Ohioans, yet we did what Ohioans always do-- we rallied together to protect the most vulnerable," said Governor DeWine. "The end of our fight is now in view, but we must continue pressing forward. We can set realistic goals that we are within reach for lifting health orders."  

Governor DeWine announced that when Ohio reaches 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be lifted. Cases per 100,000 people for a two-week period is a measurement that Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health have utilized since early in the pandemic. 

Governor DeWine also detailed the success that Ohio has seen recently in the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio's stay-at-home order and curfew have been lifted, and restaurants, bars and gyms are open. In February, Ohio vaccinated over 200,000 educators for students to return to in-person learning. As of today, nearly 95 percent of Ohio's K-12 students have returned to school for in-person learning. 

For Governor DeWine's entire address, visit ohiochannel.org or read his prepared remarks at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

 

March 2

Health Orders Regarding Mass Gatherings, Sports, Entertainment Venues Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the following public health orders:

First Amended Revised Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio, with Exceptions. Changes include:

  • Wedding receptions, funeral repasts, proms, and other events, whether or not food is served, at banquet facilities shall comply with previously signed health orders, including those regarding restaurants and facial coverings.
  • Events at banquet centers no longer have a 300-person limitation, so long as they comply with other health orders.

Addenda to Director’s Second Amended Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club, and Professional Sports and Provides Mandatory Requirements for Entertainment Venues. Changes include:

  • The maximum number of spectators in any indoor sports venue shall be 25% of fixed, seated capacity.
  • The maximum number of spectators permitted in any outdoor sports venue shall be 30% of fixed, seated capacity.
  • The maximum number of patrons permitted in any indoor entertainment venue shall be 25% of fixed, seated capacity.
  • The maximum number of patrons gathered in any outdoor entertainment venue shall be 30% fixed, seated capacity.

Both orders are effective beginning 12:01 p.m. on March 2, 2021.

 

March 1

Vaccination Phase 1C & Phase 2

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINE AVAILABILITY

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio is expected to receive more than 448,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week. Of that total, more than 96,000 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be delivered to around 200 new independent pharmacy providers as well as chain pharmacies, hospitals, and health departments.

Ohio now offers more than 1,200 provider locations. Ohioans can find vaccine provider locations at vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet or are having trouble managing the online scheduling systems should call their local health department, the 211 helpline center, or the Area Agencies on Aging at 1-866-243-5678. 

PHASE 1C AND PHASE 2 VACCINATION ELIGIBILITY

In response to this significant increase in the amount of vaccine coming into Ohio, Governor DeWine today outlined the individuals who are included in Phase 1C and Phase 2 of Ohio's vaccination plan which will go into effect on March 4.

Phase 1C includes approximately 246,000 eligible Ohioans with certain occupations and with certain medical conditions not addressed in previous phases.

Phase 1C: Medical Groups

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Pregnant women
  • Bone marrow transplant recipients
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

Phase 1C: Occupations

Childcare Services - Approximately 40,400 Ohioans: 

  • Administrators, lead and assistant teachers, and substitutes who are enrolled in Ohio’s Professional Registry who are currently working in open childcare and pre-kindergarten programs.
  • Licensing specialists employed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services or county job and family services agencies.

This phase does not include parent volunteers, board members, or owners/administrators that do not provide in-classroom supports. 

Funeral Services - Approximately 3,600 Ohioans: 

  • Embalmers/morticians, funeral home directors, crematory operators, and apprentices.

Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers - Approximately 76,000 Ohioans:

Examples of law enforcement occupations included in Phase 1C are police officers; sheriff’s deputies; Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers; other state or federal enforcement officers such as Ohio Department of Natural Resource enforcement staff, pharmacy board investigators, BCI agents, state fire marshal investigators, federal transportation security officers, and other federal law enforcement officers who do not have access to vaccination from federal sources.

Phase 2

Because the risk of more severe reactions and outcomes of COVID-19 increase with age, Phase 2 will open vaccinations based on age, beginning with Ohioans ages 60 and older. This group includes approximately 695,000 eligible Ohioans.

FEDERAL STIMULUS PACKAGE & BIASED FUND ALLOCATION

Lt. Governor Jon Husted outlined provisions in the federal stimulus package recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that if signed into law would disproportionally and negatively impact Ohio and its recovery.

This $1.9 trillion COVID Relief Bill provides significant additional relief funding for state and local governments, however, the as-passed version adopted by Congress distributes the $350 billion in coronavirus relief funding to state and local governments using a formula that incorporates state unemployment rates as of the fourth quarter of 2020, instead of using a solely population-based formula.

As a result, this benefits states with higher unemployment rates during that period.

Under the current proposal, because Ohio’s December 2020 unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, the state will miss out on over $800 million compared to if a more equitable population-based formula was used, as was used for the CARES Act.

Over the weekend, governors across the country, including Governor DeWine, released a joint statement opposing the new standard in the federal stimulus bill for how federal funds would be allocated to states:

The statement reiterates that “the new stimulus proposal allocates aid based on a state’s unemployed population rather than its actual population, which punishes states that took a measured approach to the pandemic and entered the crisis with healthy state budgets and strong economies.”

There are 33 states expected to lose funding under this proposal.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF JOB AND FAMILY SERVICES

Kim Henderson, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, will be relocating to North Carolina in the spring. She will remain in the director role until Monday, March 8. Matt Damschroder, current director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), will move into an interim director role at that time. Henderson will become a senior advisor to him until her last day on April 30th.     

A nationwide search will be launched for Director Henderson’s permanent replacement. Until that search concludes, Assistant DAS Director Matt Whatley will work as interim director at DAS.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 968,874 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 17,346 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 50,382 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,148 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

February 25

Spring Events, Provider Expansion, New Health Equity Website

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SPRING EVENTS

Governor DeWine today announced a loosening of restrictions for sporting and entertainment venues when safety protocols are followed.

"The vaccines have given us great hope, but until we have enough Ohioans vaccinated, we must continue masking and social distancing," said Governor DeWine. "Easing up on some prevention measures is intended to serve as a starting point. If the trajectory of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continues downward, we hope to be able to relax more of these measures. If it gets worse, we may have to tighten up."

Sporting and entertainment events will be able to reopen with 25 percent maximum indoor capacity and 30 percent maximum outdoor capacity provided they follow established precautions such as mandatory mask wearing for employees and customers, spectator pathways that allow for social distancing, and seating in groups in six-foot intervals of no more than six people from the same household.

General admission (lawns, standing room, infields) will be permitted if masks are worn and if six-foot distancing can be marked and maintained. 

New guidance for proms, banquets, wedding receptions, fairs, festivals, and parades is forthcoming. 

PROVIDER EXPANSION

Next week, Ohio will receive 310,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. With this increase in doses, Ohio will add additional new vaccine provider sites including some Meijer and Walmart locations and more independent pharmacies.

Providers that are currently receiving vaccines - including RiteAid, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, local health departments, and hospitals - can anticipate larger shipments. 

Based on information provided by the federal government, once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available, Ohio will receive an additional 91,000 doses during the first week.

SCHOOL UPDATE

As of this week, all doses requested by schools through the state’s vaccination program have been allocated to local providers. Some school staff already received their second dose, and other second dose clinics are underway.

Ohio began making vaccines available to K-12 teachers this month with the goal of having all of Ohio’s K-12 students back to full or partial in-person learning by March 1. Right now, most students in Ohio districts have access to at least some in-person instruction. 

Governor DeWine expressed gratitude to school leaders who have prioritized a return to in-person instruction. Ohio will continue to work with the handful of schools across the state that are struggling to meet the March 1 goal.

NURSING HOME CASES/HOSPITALIZATIONS

Ohio continues to see downward COVID-19 hospitalization trends, particularly in the 80+ age group which was among the first groups to become eligible for the vaccine. In December, those 80+ made up more than 25 percent of Ohio's COVID hospitalizations. This month, that number has dropped to about 18 percent.

Ohio is also seeing a decline in COVID cases among nursing home residents. In the past week, Ohio had 369 new nursing home cases, compared to 2,832 new cases in one week in December. 

As part of the new COVID-19 Vaccine Maintenance Program, Ohio will continue vaccinating new nursing home residents, new staff hires, and those who have recently decided to take the vaccine.

Due to the decrease in cases reported in long-term care facilities, Ohio's Veterans Homes in Sandusky and Georgetown have resumed accepting new residents, and certain restrictions on visitors at state behavioral health hospitals will be lifted beginning on March 1.

HEALTH EQUITY WEBSITE

Governor DeWine announced the launch of a new health equity website on coronavirus.ohio.gov that highlights Ohio's efforts to achieve equity in its pandemic response and provides resources to help communities, agencies, and organizations across the state join in those efforts. 

The new Communications Resources Hub will offer various print, digital, audio, and video resources to help Ohioans provide education about the vaccine to any number of communities. In addition to general resources, the website offers materials created for specific groups, including minorities and Ohioans who speak English as a second language.

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

For the first time in several weeks, Ohio's Public Health Advisory System has shown change in the amount of spread in some Ohio counties. Holmes, Mercer, Shelby, and Williams counties decreased to a Level 2 (Orange) Public Health Emergency

TECHCRED

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today reminded Ohioans about the benefits of TechCred, which helps Ohioans learn new in-demand skills while also helping employers build a stronger workforce with the skills needed in a technology-infused economy.

There are more than 1,000 pre-approved credentials offered through the program. These technology-focused credentials take only a year or less to complete and prepare current and future employees for the technology jobs Ohio employers need.

Businesses can be reimbursed up to $2,000 for each credential earned by an employee and up to $30,000 total each application period.

To learn more, visit: TechCred.Ohio.Gov.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 962,404 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 17,125 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 49,951 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,104 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

February 22

Nursing Home Visitation, Progression of Vaccine Eligibility

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WEATHER DELAY UPDATE

Due to last week's winter weather, the delivery of some Pfizer vaccines and all Moderna vaccines were delayed. Some providers used second doses that they had already received to avoid clinic cancelations. Those second doses will be backfilled with the shipments they receive this week.

Additional delayed shipments of Pfizer and Moderna will arrive between today and Wednesday.

For providers who canceled appointments last week, Governor DeWine is urging them to expand their appointment schedules to include evening and weekend hours to catch up.

NURSING HOME VISITATION

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ohio's nursing homes has dropped significantly to 343 new cases last week compared to the peak of 2,832 new cases in December.

As the number of nursing-home cases continues to drop due to vaccinations in long-term facilities, Governor DeWine today reminded nursing home staff and families of nursing home residents about the status of visitation in Ohio's nursing homes. Visitation is permitted at nursing homes in Ohio if the facilities meet the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria to allow visits:

  • No new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days;
  • The facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing; and
  • CMS reports the COVID-19 county positivity rate at less than 10 percent.

Compassionate care visits, which are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, are always permitted regardless of the criteria above.

Governor DeWine sent a letter today to all nursing homes in Ohio reminding them to check their county positivity rate every week to determine their visitation status and to remind them to allow for compassionate care visits. 

Ohio’s nursing home facilities are required to report their visitation status to Ohio's Long-Term Care Visitation Dashboard.

If you have a loved one in need of a compassionate care visit but are having trouble scheduling a visit, contact Ohio's Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at OhioOmbudsman@age.ohio.gov or 1-800-282-1206.

PROGRESSION OF VACCINE ELIGIBILITY

Governor DeWine provided information on the progression of vaccine eligibility in Ohio. Because those ages 65 and older make up approximately 87 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Ohio, no additional age groups are eligible for the vaccine at this time. Once the demand for the vaccine has been met for those 65 and older, those ages 60 and older will become eligible. After a period of vaccination for this age group, those ages 55 and older will become eligible, followed by those ages 50 and up.

Individuals in specific small groups that could have an increased risk of exposure to the virus may also potentially be included in the 60 and older vaccination phase.

PHASE 1B MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Last week, vaccine eligibility opened up to those Ohioans born with or who have early childhood conditions that are carried into adulthood, which put them at higher risk for adverse outcomes due to COVID-19.  Today, Governor DeWine asked Ohio hospitals and doctors with access to the vaccine to begin to proactively reach out to these patients with the specific medical conditions outlined in Phase 1B to schedule vaccination. 

OTHER PRIORITY POPULATIONS

In Ohio’s eight state-operated developmental centers, more than 91 percent of residents have accepted their first vaccine. 

More than 14,000 Ohioans living with developmental and intellectual disabilities who also have a certain health condition they were born with or developed in childhood and carried into adulthood have also received their first dose of vaccine.

Ohio is working to complete the vaccination of residents and staff in congregate settings for residential treatment facilities, mental health residential care facilities, and recovery housing.

ROCKET MORTGAGE EXPANSION IN CLEVELAND

Lt. Governor Jon Husted relayed the news that Rocket Mortgage has moved another step forward in its downtown Cleveland expansion plans, as the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved the project for tax credit assistance at its meeting this morning. The company plans to bring 630 new jobs to the Northeast Ohio region, adding to its current workforce of 721.

Rocket Mortgage considered several cities for its expansion and ultimately chose Cleveland. 

Partners on the project include the Ohio Development Services Agency, JobsOhio, the city of Cleveland, Team NEO, and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 955,378 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 16,874 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 49,492 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,044 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

February 18

Vaccine Maintenance Program, Nursing Home Visitation, Phase 1B Medical Conditions

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WEATHER DELAYS

As a result of continued bad weather, vaccine shipments in Ohio and across the country continue to be delayed. Ohioans with vaccine appointments this week should confirm that their appointment has not been canceled before leaving home.

Because of these weather delays, it is expected that providers will give vaccinations over the weekend as shipments arrive.

VACCINE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM

This morning, Ohio launched its COVID-19 Vaccine Maintenance Program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Each month, facilities can host a vaccine clinic for residents and staff if there is the need for vaccinations. The program ensures that vaccinations in long-term care facilities continue for new residents and staff or current residents and staff who have now decided to be vaccinated. 

NURSING HOME VISITATION

Governor DeWine announced that he has assembled a team of doctors and nurses to develop a plan for safe nursing home visitation. Members of the team are experts in infectious disease control, skilled nursing, and other types of long-term care settings.

Ohio's existing visitation order does allow compassionate care visits. Examples of compassionate care situations could include:

  • A resident who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a home, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support.
  • A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
  • A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently.

The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is available to assist citizens with questions about compassionate care visits. The office can be reached at OhioOmbudsman@age.ohio.gov or 1-800-282-1206. 

PHASE 1B MEDICAL CONDITIONS

This week, vaccine eligibility opened up to Ohioans born with the medical conditions outlined below, or those who were diagnosed in early childhood whose conditions continued into adulthood. Following anecdotal reports of individuals with these conditions being denied vaccination appointments, particularly those with cystic fibrosis, Governor DeWine stressed that vaccine providers should vaccinate those of any age with any of the following conditions.

VACCINE DATA COLLECTION

Governor DeWine again asked vaccine providers to collect and report accurate and complete data on vaccine administrations including race, ethnicity, age, and category of eligibility. This information is critical to understanding uptake rates among specific communities or occupations and also helps inform future policy and allocation decisions. The Ohio Department of Health will continue to reach out to all providers to make sure this critical information is being entered into the system.

RICHLAND COUNTY CLINIC

Today Lt. Governor Jon Husted traveled to Richland Public Health (RPH) in Mansfield to tour their vaccine clinic and thank the staff and healthcare providers for their efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. Most of the 100 Ohioans being vaccinated during the visit today were receiving their second dose.

To date, RPH has vaccinated 2,705 individuals (948 fully vaccinated) at their clinic that runs typically Monday-Friday.

During the press conference, Lt. Governor Husted had the opportunity to look on as two Richland County residents received their shot: Ms. Doris Rheinbolt received her second dose and Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker received his first dose, respectively.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 947,389 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 16,611 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 49,061 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,002 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

February 16

Weather Delays, Central Scheduling, Virtual Townhalls

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WEATHER DELAYS

Due to severe weather across Ohio and the country, both Pfizer and Moderna have advised that direct vaccine shipments to providers may be delayed one to two days. The Ohio Department of Health has contacted all providers that are expecting direct shipments to notify them of these potential delays.

Vaccine providers scheduled to receive a vaccine parcel today from Ohio's Receipt, Store, and Stage (RSS) Warehouse are receiving their deliveries on a two-hour delay.

Many providers are continuing with their scheduled vaccination appointments, but some have  canceled appointments due to snow emergencies. These providers are contacting patients by phone call, email, or by posting on social media. Ohioans who haven’t heard from their provider and are concerned about whether or not their appointment is still scheduled should contact their provider or visit their website. Ohioans who need to cancel their vaccination for any reason should contact their provider to reschedule.

CENTRAL SCHEDULING SYSTEM UPDATE

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio's centralized scheduling website has been created, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is now working with vaccine providers to enroll them in the system. The website will serve as a singular location for Ohioans to confirm that they are eligible to be vaccinated, identify nearby providers, and schedule their vaccine appointment.

Ohio and approximately 40 other states chose not to use the centralized system that the federal government intended to develop. Instead, Ohio chose to build its own centralized scheduling system. Despite the significant build time and configuration, the system was built within Ohio's intended timeframe. 

ODH will work directly with vaccine providers to integrate their current systems into the statewide system and assist them in working through current waitlists to potentially integrate these commitments into the centralized system. Providers will be expected to use this system as Ohio looks to the future, and guidance will be provided in the near future regarding deadlines. 

"Once most participating providers have signed up, the next phase will be to make the site live to those seeking to be vaccinated," said Governor DeWine. "Our goal is for Ohioans to have a positive customer experience when we launch the site to make appointments."  

Outside partners, including the Area Agencies on Aging, will be available to help Ohioans who do not have access to the internet with appointment scheduling. 

VIRTUAL TOWNHALLS

As part of Ohio's continuing efforts to ensure equity in Ohio's vaccination program, ODH is holding virtual town hall meetings focused on specific minority communities. These virtual meetings will involve local medical professionals and community leaders who will guide these conversations to discuss the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The meetings are intended to jumpstart conversations and give local leaders and attendees the tools they need to better inform members of their communities about vaccine facts, enhance access to trusted resources, and drive conversations in their own communities about why vaccinations are important.  

The town halls will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube. More details are available at coronavirus.ohio.gov/townhall. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 943,291 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 16,453 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 48,739 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,949 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

February 12

Vaccine Distribution, Nursing Home Cases Drop, ApprenticeOhio Milestone

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION UPDATE

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio received a total of 214,525 first doses of vaccine this week. A total of 223,025 first doses are scheduled to arrive in Ohio during the week of February 15.

The federal retail pharmacy program will soon begin allotting doses to Ohio's more than 160 Rite Aid pharmacies. Vaccine distribution will also expand into all 194 Kroger pharmacies.

Those with specific medical conditions that put them at a very high risk of dying from COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccinations next week.

Ohioans born with certain medical conditions, or those who were diagnosed in early childhood whose conditions continued into adulthood, will qualify to be vaccinated beginning on February 15.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at Ohio Department of Health, explained these conditions in more detail. His remarks are available on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page.

Approximately 12,000 individuals with these severe medical conditions and developmental disabilities have already been vaccinated, and vaccinations of those in this group will continue.

NURSING HOME CASES

Governor DeWine announced today that the number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio's nursing homes has dropped more than 77 percent since late November. This dramatic drop in cases follows Ohio's aggressive efforts to vaccinate residents and staff in Ohio's long-term care facilities. 

As outlined in the chart below, there were 2,697 COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities in Ohio during the week of November 29, 2021. During the week of January 17, there were 612 positive cases.

SCHOOL MODEL UPDATE

Governor DeWine shared the latest information on the number of school districts that are physically in school versus those that are fully or partially remote. As a condition to receive priority access to the vaccine, schools were required to commit to full or partial in-person learning by March 1. All but one school district in Ohio have committed to this plan.

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

There was no change in this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. 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.

APPRENTICEOHO MILESTONE

Lt. Governor Husted shared that the ApprenticeOhio program has reached an important milestone. More than 5,000 Ohioans have officially graduated from the ApprenticeOhio program since the start of the DeWine-Husted Administration.

Ohio is currently ranked number one among states who run registered apprenticeships at the state level, and number four among states who run registered apprenticeships at the federal level. Many ApprenticeOhio programs are completed within two to four years. ApprenticeOhio programs provide full-time work during the training period as well as competitive wages – allowing Ohioans to earn while they learn.

On average, apprentices in Ohio earn $60,000 a year without racking up student loan debt. Ohio offers apprenticeship opportunities in traditional fields like construction and manufacturing, and non-traditional apprenticeship fields like IT and healthcare. Through this program, ApprenticeOhio program sponsors can grow their workforce, improve productivity, reduce turnover costs and increase employee retention.

More information can be found at Apprentice.Ohio.gov.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 931,437 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 12,577 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 48,269 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,908 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

February 9

K-12 Progress, Rent Assistance, Ongoing Nursing Home Vaccination Plan

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

K-12 PROGRESS

Governor DeWine announced progress toward the goal of getting K-12 students back into the classroom by March 1. In December, 45 percent of Ohio students were attending school remotely full-time, but today, less than 15 percent of Ohio students are still attending classes completely online.  Despite this progress, the pandemic has taken a toll on academic progress, as demonstrated in the Ohio Department of Education’s fall 2020 enrollment report.

“This once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has impacted all of us, so it should be no surprise that it has impacted our children. But we should not panic, nor should we be surprised by the results of assessments,” said Governor DeWine.  “Instead, we should do what Ohioans have always done when facing a challenge – stay calm, roll up our sleeves, and work to solve the problem."

Governor DeWine asked school districts to work with their communities to help students advance and make up for any learning that may have been lost or delayed because of the pandemic.

Governor DeWine also requested that school districts design plans to meet the needs of the students in their districts that include ending the school year later than scheduled,  beginning the new year early, or even extending the school day. Summer programs, tutoring, or remote options could also be considered. School districts should provide their plans to the public and General Assembly no later than April 1.

Lt. Governor Husted today also highlighted a provision in the proposed Executive Budget that guarantees student access to a computer science education.  

The “right to access” computer science classes would be defined as the statutory right of a student to be able to take a class either offered directly by their school district or through another provider of the student’s choice. However, the program must be approved through the Ohio Department of Education. 

“Every budget cycle presents an opportunity to distinguish ourselves as a state,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Coming out of the pandemic, the stakes are higher and the impacts more consequential. We must rise to the challenge and commit to the work that will lead to an educational recovery that will echo economically for a generation.”

RENT ASSISTANCE

The Ohio Development Services Agency is now distributing $100 million in federal funding to help low-income Ohioans who do not own their own home pay their rent, water, sewer, wastewater, electric, gas, oil and/or trash removal bills.

Ohioans can apply for assistance with outstanding balances dating back to March 13, 2020, assistance for future rent/utility payments once back bills have been made current, and assistance for future rent and utility assistance for three months at a time.

Eligible Ohio households must:

  • Be at or below 80% of their county’s Area Median Income (varies by county and size of household);
  • Have experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; and
  • Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

The funding, which was approved by the Ohio Controlling Board for distribution, will be divided among Ohio’s 47 Community Action Agencies. Ohioans can apply for assistance by contacting their local Community Action Agency. A list of agencies can be found at businesshelp.ohio.gov under Home Relief Grants.

MAINTENANCE COVID-19 VACCINE PROGRAM

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's maintenance COVID-19 vaccine program plan to ensure residents and staff within nursing homes and assisted living facilities have continuing access to the life-saving vaccine is nearly complete. The plan will outline how nursing homes and assisted living facilities will move forward to vaccinate new residents, new workers, and workers who initially declined the vaccine but are now willing to be vaccinated. The plan will leverage existing relationships between nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and the pharmacies that regularly provide them with prescription drugs.   

In preparation for the release of this plan, Governor DeWine urged administrators for long-term and assisted-living facilities to find out if their facility already has a pharmacy provider that can administer the vaccine. If the provider is not a COVID vaccine provider, they should determine if they intend to become one. 

Since the pandemic began, individuals in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, have been at the greatest risk of death from COVID-19. Over 50 percent of Ohio’s deaths have been individuals from long-term care settings.

To protect family members and loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Ohio immediately activated the federal long-term care vaccination program in mid-December. First and second doses of the vaccine have been administered in nearly all of Ohio's nursing homes and most of Ohio's assisted living centers.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 925,350 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 11,793 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 47,853 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,869 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

February 2

Vaccine Equity

EQUITY UPDATE

Governor DeWine today outlined steps that Ohio has taken and will take to address inequities in healthcare as they relate to vaccine accessibility. 

"There are Ohioans who simply do not have equal access to healthcare," said Governor DeWine. "We have worked hard to address these gaps, especially in our efforts to roll out the vaccine, but there is still more to do." 

Geography: Instead of offering the "mega vaccination sites" being seen in other states, Ohio's vaccination plan focuses on ensuring that there are multiple vaccine providers in every county in the state. This week, more than 700 providers across Ohio are receiving the vaccine to help ensure that Ohioans have access to vaccine close to home.  

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs): These health centers serve highly vulnerable neighborhoods. Ohio's vaccination plan offers vaccines at these facilities for equitable distribution. More than 60 of these centers are receiving vaccine this week.   

Pop-up Vaccine Sites: Ohio is working with FQHCs, faith-based communities, and local health departments to pilot pop-up vaccination sites in at-risk communities.  Two sites were hosted at an FQHC in Columbus last week and another pop-up vaccination site is scheduled this week in Cleveland.

Transportation: The Ohio Department of Health is working with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to provide transportation options for those who want to receive the vaccine but face transportation barriers.

Local Health Departments: Many local health departments are prioritizing underserved populations by partnering with organizations that work to serve African American, Hispanic and Latino, and other underserved populations to provide education and offer opportunities for vaccination when vaccine becomes available.

Education and Communication Strategies: In addition to newspaper, television, and radio advertisements focused on reaching underserved populations, Ohio will also launch a series of virtual town hall meetings to gain a better understanding of the barriers to vaccination and develop solutions. The events will be coordinated in partnership with Ohio's Minority Health Vaccine Advisory Group, whose mission is to help advise the Ohio Department of Health on how to best deliver the vaccine to underserved populations and better ensure equity. The townhalls will be live-streamed during the week of February 22. To learn how to participate in these events, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

Affordable Housing Vaccination Clinics: Next week, the Ohio Department of Aging, in partnership with key state and local organizations, will off­er on-site vaccination clinics at affordable senior housing communities as part of its Regional Rapid Response Program. On-site clinics will be coordinated with support from the Ohio National Guard. 

VACCINATION STATUS UPDATE

Governor DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine both received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine this morning from Dr. Kevin Sharrett at Kettering Health Network’s Jamestown office in Greene County. The DeWines became eligible for the vaccine this week as part of the 70 and older age group.

Those currently eligible to receive vaccine in Ohio are: 

  • Those 70 years of age and older 
  • Teachers and school personnel who are necessary for in-person learning in specified counties
  • Individuals with severe congenital, early-onset, or inherited conditions and with developmental or intellectual disabilities

Individuals with severe congenital, early-onset, or inherited conditions and developmental or intellectual disabilities should have been contacted by their local county board of developmental disabilities to schedule their vaccination. If you believe that you or a loved one falls into this category and hasn't been contacted, please contact your county board of developmental disabilities.

NURSING/ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES

Of Ohio's 920 skilled nursing facilities, Ohio has administered first doses of vaccine in 100 percent of these facilities. The second dose has been given in 89 percent of facilities.  

Of Ohio's 645 assisted living facilities, Ohio has administered first doses in 86 percent of these facilities, and second doses have been administered in 48 percent of facilities.

Plans are in place to continue vaccinating in these facilities as new residents move in.

LONG-TERM CARE REVACCINATIONS

Today, Walgreens Pharmacy alerted the Ohio Department of Health that vaccines that had not been stored under the proper cold storage conditions were administered yesterday to some residents in five long-term care facilities. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, residents who received these vaccines will be revaccinated. 

The impacted facilities are: 

  • Ashtabula County Residential Services Corp "The Maples" in Kingsville
  • Ashtabula Towers in Ashtabula
  • Heather Hill Care Communities in Chardon
  • Six Chimneys in Cleveland
  • Willow Park Convalescent Home in Cleveland

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION - DATAOHIO

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced that the Ohio Department of Education is the latest agency to join the DataOhio portal, with seven key datasets and visualizations added on January 29, 2021

The DataOhio Portal launched in December of 2020 to the public and features more than 200 datasets and over 100 visualizations from four State of Ohio agencies. Nearly half of the datasets added to the portal are available to the public for the first time.

Users can view these newest datasets and visualizations under “Recent Datasets” at Data.Ohio.Gov. The DataOhio Portal team continues to add additional agency datasets, visualizations, and portal features, with a new Agency being announced in the coming weeks, including additional Ohio Department of Education datasets and visualizations. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 902,736 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 11,336 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 46,659 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,730 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 29

Vaccination Schedule For Ohio Schools Announced

Ohio K-12 schools, including public, private, and career-tech entities, today learned when their teachers and staff necessary for in-person learning are able to begin receiving vaccines.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has made clear his goal of Ohio returning to in-person learning either full-time or in a hybrid model by March 1st. In order to do this, the governor identified teachers and school personnel necessary for in-person learning as Phase 1B recipients as part of the Ohio COVID-19 Vaccination program.

“Vaccine is incredibly scarce, and we simply don’t have enough to vaccinate everyone at the same time. Therefore, this will be a rolling process, just like it has been during other vaccination phases, with a goal of administering all first doses by March 1st,” said Governor DeWine. “This rollout schedule is a heavy logistical lift that aims to ensure the maximum number of people can be vaccinated in the shortest amount of time.”

The plan also makes the process as simple as possible for staff to be vaccinated and is organized to allow most K-12 staff in a county to be vaccinated within seven days of their assigned vaccination start date. For the limited number of counties where vaccinations will take place over multiple weeks, local leaders will make the logistical and scheduling decisions.

Eligible recipients may learn more about the locations and times of the vaccination sites from their administrators. The following documents list the entities by county in the week when teachers and personnel are able to begin vaccinations.

 

January 28

K-12 Staff Vaccinations, Pandemic Impacts on K-12 Kids

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

K-12 STAFF VACCINATIONS

Every public school district in the state - except for one - has agreed to resume in-person schooling by March 1 which was a requirement for staff to have early access to the vaccine.

K-12 schools whose staff can be vaccinated next week have been notified. All other schools will be contacted tomorrow with information on when their K-12 staff will be permitted to receive a vaccine. 

More details on Ohio's K-12 vaccination process will also be released on Friday. The plan ensures that the maximum number of people can be vaccinated in the shortest amount of time. The plan also makes the process as simple as possible for staff to be vaccinated and is organized to allow most K-12 staff in a county to be vaccinated within seven days of their assigned vaccination start date. 

PANDEMIC IMPACTS ON K-12 STUDENTS

Ohio has prioritized getting K-12 students back in schools by March 1 because many adolescents’ social-emotional and mental well-being has been impacted by the pandemic.

"We know some of our students have not been in the classroom in months - it’s taking its toll," said Governor DeWine. "For some, remote learning works, for others, it doesn’t. We are in danger of too many kids struggling for too long if they don’t get back to school in person."

"School is community for our youth," said Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss. "It benefits kids so much more than academic content. It’s the social and emotional connections that kids feel with friends, classmates, extra-curriculars, teachers, and more."

According to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the change of routine and the constant uncertainty of the pandemic produces anxiety, and the disconnection from learning, emotional, and social supports can lead to depression. In addition, missed significant life events like graduations, proms, art performances, science competitions, sports, and more can result in grief.

Families and friends should reach out for help if a young person is:

  • talking about feeling hopeless;
  • worrying about being a burden;
  • feeling like there’s no reason to live;
  • using drugs, alcohol or engaging in other risky behaviors;
  • struggling with school;
  • disconnecting from family and friends.

Trained counselors with Ohio's CareLine are available 24/7 at 1-800-720-9616.  They can help with a crisis, provide guidance, and connect callers to help in the community.

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM:

This week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map shows little change. Hamilton County is no longer listed as a Level 4 (Purple) Public Emergency, but the rest of the state remains the same as last week. 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.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 883,716 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 11,006 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 45,786 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,644 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 27 

Health Order Signed Reducing Curfew by One Hour

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed a health order pushing back the statewide curfew one hour, changing the start time of the curfew to 11 p.m. The new hours begin January 28, 2021 at 12:01 p.m. and lasts through February 11, 2021, at 12:01 p.m. The change is being made because Ohio hospitalizations for COVID-19 have remained below 3500 for seven consecutive days.

Specifications in this order include:

  • Individuals within the state must stay at a place of residence during the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. except for obtaining necessary food, medical care, or social services or providing care for others.
    • This order doesn’t apply to those that are homeless. Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are encouraged to leave their homes and stay at a safe, alternative location.
    • The order does not apply to religious observances and First Amendment protected speech including activity by the media.
  • The order permits travel into or out of the state and permits travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children according to a custody agreement, or to obtain fuel.

Individuals are permitted to leave a place of residence during the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for the following essential activities:

  • Engaging in activities essential to their health and safety or the health and safety of those in their households or people who are unable to or should not leave their homes, including pets. Activities can include but are not limited to seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional including hospitals, emergency departments, urgent care clinics, and pharmacies.
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or members of their household who are unable or should not leave their home, to deliver those services or supplies to others. Examples of those include but are not limited to, obtaining groceries and food. Food and beverages may be obtained only for consumption off-premises, through such means as delivery, drive-through, curbside pickup and carryout.
  • To obtain necessary social services.
  • To go to work, including volunteer work.
  • To take care of or transport a family member, friend, or pet in their household or another household.
  • To perform or obtain government services.

 

January 26

Curfew & Vaccine Updates, Senior Housing Clinics

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CURFEW UPDATE

Governor DeWine today announced a new plan for Ohio's 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that is contingent on the hospital utilization statewide. 

The Ohio Department of Health has recommended that Ohio's curfew be amended to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. when COVID-related hospital utilization drops below 3,500 for seven consecutive days. As of today, hospitalizations have been below 3,500 for the past six days. If hospitalizations remain at this level for a seventh consecutive day, Ohio's curfew will be amended on Thursday and will be in effect from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for at least two weeks.

If hospital utilization subsequently drops below 3,000 for seven consecutive days, Ohio's curfew would be amended to 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. for at least two weeks. If hospitalizations drops below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the Ohio Department of Health would recommend lifting the curfew. 

If, at any point, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations begins to rise, health officials could reinstitute the appropriate curfew measures.

"When our COVID hospitalizations are above 2,500, which is more than three times Ohio's peak in a typical flu season, our hospitals strain in their ability to deliver other care, especially routine diagnostic and procedural care," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health. "When cases are above 3,500, our hospitals are highly stressed as evidenced by local and regional diversions and the greater need for transfers."

VACCINE UPDATE

Ohio has been averaging about 146,000 first doses coming into Ohio every week. As Ohio's Phase 1A begins to wind down, more doses will be available for those in Phase 1B.

Ohio is second in the nation for the number of people vaccinated in nursing homes, however, because not all residents and staff are choosing to receive the vaccine, Ohio will begin directing approximately 77,000 vaccines set aside to use in nursing homes to others in Phase 1A and 1B. 

Ohio has put focus on vaccinating members of the public living in congregate settings because these individuals are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. In Ohio's state-run developmental centers, 89 percent of residents have accepted the vaccine; 73 percent of long-term patients in state-run psychiatric hospitals have accepted the vaccine; a total of 92 percent of veterans in state-run veterans homes have accepted the vaccine. Of those with developmental disabilities not living in state-run facilities, 5,500 people have been vaccinated so far.

SCHOOL STAFF VACCINES

Next week, Ohio will make vaccine available to 91,000 K-12 teachers and school personnel who are necessary to provide in-person education to students. Like other groups eligible in Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program, this will be a rolling process beginning with Cincinnati Public Schools which will begin offering vaccinations to their staff later this week. 

Due to the scarcity of vaccine, the process will take weeks, but Ohio’s goal is to have all first doses administered by the end of February.  To be eligible to receive vaccine, districts had to commit to remaining or returning to in-person learning full-time or in a hybrid model by March 1. 

Districts that are eligible to begin receiving vaccines next week should have already received notification, and the rest should be notified of their scheduled dates by the end of the week.

Teachers and staff with questions should contact their administrator.

Additional Resources:

SENIOR HOUSING CLINICS

Governor DeWine announced today that, in pursuit of fairness and equity in the distribution of the scarce vaccines, Ohio will be delivering vaccines directly into affordable senior housing locations starting the week of February 8.  These senior housing facilities are home to several thousand older Ohioans throughout the state and are often residential clusters with apartment buildings ranging in units from 30 to over 200. 

The Ohio Department of Health will be working with local partners to offer assistance through onsite clinics. These clinics will help ease the burden for many seniors having trouble navigating the registration process and arranging transportation.

PFIZER VACCINE DOSES

In many instances, a vial of the Pfizer vaccine can provide six vaccine doses. Some vaccine providers have been able to extract this sixth dose as much as 90 percent of the time based on technique and supplies. These supplies, however, have had limited availability nationally. The key to getting the sixth dose is having access to syringes with low or zero dead volume and, when clinically appropriate, using a one-inch vaccine needle. 

The Ohio Department of Health surveyed best practices across the state and have determined that it is possible to reliably extract a sixth dose using a hybrid model of traditional syringes for four doses and the less-available low dead volume syringes for doses five and six.  

This approach conserves limited special syringe supply. The Ohio Department of Health will be working with vaccine providers to share this information and provide further guidance to assist them with implementation.

OHIO-BASED COMPANY ON FRONT LINES OF VACCINE DISTRIBUTION

Lt. Governor Jon Husted highlighted a company out of Athens, Ohio that has become a critical component of the nation’s vaccine distribution infrastructure. Stirling Ultracold manufactures one-of-kind, portable Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezers, which are used to transfer the vaccines from the manufacturer to local hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare providers to safely store until being administered.

During today’s press conference, the Lt. Governor presented the portable freezer, which is capable of storing both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for extended periods of time. The freezer is currently set at -71° C (-95.8° F).

The company is headquartered in Athens, Ohio, where its technology was developed and where the products are manufactured today. Stirling Ultracold has expanded its employee base by 30 percent over the last three months and now employs 200 Ohioans.  

JobsOhio and the Ohio Development Service Agency provided critical early support for Stirling Ultracold to be able to grow and accelerate its manufacturing capability to help in the vaccination effort.

TECHCRED APPLICATION CLOSING

The Lt. Governor also reminded businesses, both big and small, that the January TechCred application closes on January 29 at 3:00 p.m. TechCred helps Ohioans obtain new skills and improves Ohio’s workforce by reimbursing employers up to $2,000 for each technology-focused credential earned by a current or prospective employee.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 872,918 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 10,856 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 45,276 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,600 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 21

Phase 1B Vaccinations, Rapid Test, Curfew Extension

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PHASE 1B VACCINATIONS 

Governor DeWine discussed the vaccine distribution for Phase 1B, which began this week for those ages 80 and up. Governor DeWine was joined today by several Ohioans who received a vaccination.

Beginning next week, vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, and who have a developmental or intellectual disability. 

A representative from the local county developmental disabilities board will reach out to help coordinate receipt of the vaccination for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, as well as a developmental or intellectual disability.

RAPID TEST

Governor DeWine announced that the state is purchasing 2 million at-home, rapid COVID-19 test using telehealth services where the results are delivered in minutes without the need to send the test to a lab for processing. Developed by Abbott, BinaxNOW is an easy-to-use antigen test that detects the virus when people are most infectious.

To facilitate the delivery of the BinaxNOW test to the home and the guided collection and testing process, Abbott has partnered with digital health solutions provider eMed™, who will deliver people their results through Abbott’s complementary NAVICA™app in a matter of minutes. eMed™ will report the rapid test results in the electronic lab reporting system. 

“Abbott has been a valued partner throughout this pandemic and this new partnership will help us continue aggressive testing at colleges and universities, and pursue access to rapid testing in every county in Ohio,” said Governor DeWine. “These tests combined with the telehealth solutions provided by eMed™ will provide equitable access to testing for those who may not be able to access traditional testing because of their working hours, have mobility or transportation issues, or have caregiving responsibilities.”

“The partnership with the State of Ohio is proof of our ability to get millions of tests in the hands of people who need them,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, eMed CEO. “We are proud of this joint accomplishment which fortifies our belief that serial testing, when deployed in accordance with public health best practices, CDC and FDA guidance, plays a critical role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and getting our society and economy on the right track.”

This partnership will provide at least 2 million of the BinaxNow tests for Ohioans as, Abbot, eMed™, and the Ohio Department of Health pursue innovative efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

CURFEW EXTENSION

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend Ohio's 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.  Additional details will be forthcoming. 

The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy.  Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery is permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10:00 p.m.

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.

"As we have seen recently, our number of new cases seem to be flattening," said Governor DeWine. "We are still much higher than where we want to be, and still much higher than where we've been most of this pandemic." 

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

"Out of any 200 Ohioans, at least 1 has tested positive for COVID during the past 2 weeks," said Governor DeWine. "Additionally, we still have more than 1 out of 4 patients who are COVID positive in our ICUs, which means our hospitals are still spending a lot of time and effort to treat these patients who are critically ill with COVID-19." 

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD

Unfortunately, identity theft is a nationwide problem and no state is immune. Many who did not apply for unemployment benefits, may receive a 1099 form from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, indicating that they are likely a victim of identity theft and their personal information was used to file a fraudulent claim.

Here is what they can do: 

  1. Report identity theft at unemployment.ohio.gov, and click on the red button that says “ID Theft: What to do” to report suspected identity theft. ODJFS will send a confirmation email with resources available to victims of identity theft.
  2. File your taxes following guidance regarding identity theft from the IRS and the Ohio Department of Taxation
  3. Protect your identity from future fraud by consulting resources from the Ohio Attorney General, the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the Federal Trade Commission

PPE DONATION

Lt. Governor Husted thanked the many businesses and organizations that have donated supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE) since the start of the pandemic.

The latest donation, 250,000 disposable masks from the Home Depot, adds to the millions of masks, gowns, gloves, face shields and sanitizer donated by organizations ranging from large national companies and foundations to small Ohio businesses. The donated supplies are added to the State’s stockpile and distributed around the state as needed.

INNOVATEOHIO, OBM DUPLICATE PAYMENT TOOL

The Lt. Governor also provided an update on InnovateOhio’s Duplicate Payment tool, which is a project developed with the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) that identifies duplicate payments in the state government accounting system. Today, an additional 72 duplicate payments were identified, totaling $168,277 in savings, using the InnovateOhio Duplicate Payment Tool.

Since the project’s launch, it has identified $1.37 million in savings. Today’s update brings the total number of confirmed duplicate payments to 258 since January 2019, across 33 different agencies, boards and commissions.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 849,704 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 10,518 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 44,315 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,465 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 19

Phase 1B Timeline, K-12 Schools, Cybersecurity, Ohio Department of Insurance

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PHASE 1B TIMELINE

Governor DeWine today highlighted the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program, which began today for those ages 80 and up.  Governor DeWine was joined by several Ohioans, who received a vaccination as part of Phase 1B.  

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, and who have a developmental or intellectual disability. 

A representative from the local county developmental disabilities board will reach out to help coordinate receipt of the vaccination for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, as well as a developmental or intellectual disability.

During the week of February 15, Ohioans with any of these conditions, and do not have a developmental or intellectual disability, will be eligible to receive the vaccination. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming. 

"This group has been identified by medical professionals as having a high risk of death if they caught COVID-19," said Governor DeWine. "It's critical that we continue to prioritize Ohioans who are most vulnerable."

Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days. 

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. 

The Ohio Department of Health has launched a tool on vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov to assist residents looking for a provider that has been allocated vaccines. 

The tool is searchable by zip code and county, but it will not be uploaded in real-time.  It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local resources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability.

K-12 SCHOOLS

Vaccinations will also be available for personnel in Ohio schools in Phase 1B.  As of today,  96% of public school districts have committed to returning to school at least partially in-person by March 1. 

Schools committed to at least partially returning to in-person by March 1 have been designated a local Educational Service Center as a working partner.  Additional details will be confirmed this week between the working partners and school districts. 

School districts are also choosing a retail pharmacy partner, secured by the state, or an existing local partnership, to administer the vaccinations to school personnel.  Beginning the week of February 1, vaccination administration will be coordinated with school-provider partnerships, and a majority will be closed clinics for school personnel only.

CYBERSECURITY

Lt. Governor Husted today outlined various resources available to Ohioans who are interested in earning a credential, or pursuing a career, in cybersecurity. Strengthening the state’s talent and workforce in this industry is a key component to improving cybersecurity efforts and protecting citizens and businesses from cyberattacks.

Resources include:

  • Industry-recognized credentials are offered at high schools across Ohio. Learn more at education.ohio.gov.
  • Cybersecurity programs offered at institutions of higher education: Ohioc3.org
  • The Ohio Cyber Range supports curriculum development, cyber contests for k-12 to college students, internship programs, and more. Learn more at OhioCyberRangeInstitute.org
  • TechCred: Offers tech-focused credentials, including many on cybersecurity. Visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov to learn more.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE

Governor DeWine announced today his nomination of former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. French brings more than 30 years of experience, and will lead the department in providing consumer protection through education and fair, but vigilant, regulation while promoting a stable and competitive environment for insurers. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 836,055 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 10,336 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 43,605 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,391admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 14

Phase 1B Vaccinations, Nursing Home Vaccinations, County Data

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PHASE 1B VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine today 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.”

Beginning tomorrow, 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 will launch a tool tomorrow morning on coronavirus.ohio.gov to assist residents looking for a provider that has been allotted vaccines.

The tool will be searchable by zip code or county, but it will not be updated in real-time. It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local resources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability.

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

As of yesterday, 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 today.  

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 today 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.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 807,293 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,990 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 42,491 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,289 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 12

Phase 1B Timeline

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PHASE 1B TIMELINE

Governor DeWine today 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: Today, the Ohio Department of Health will receive 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, will be communicated to local health departments this evening. 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.

On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health will launch a tool on coronavirus.ohio.gov to assist citizens looking for a provider that has been allotted vaccines. The tool will be searchable by zip code or county, but it will not be updated in real-time. It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local sources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability. 

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 www.aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-866-243-5678.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

To date, 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 today 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

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 792,938 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,802 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 41,863 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,237 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 7

U.S. Capitol Breach, County Data, Phase 1B Vaccinations

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

U.S. CAPITOL BREACH

Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted shared additional comments regarding yesterday’s events at the United States Capitol.

“Yesterday was a sad day. It was a dark day for this great republic. This was a direct attack on the U.S. Constitution, and everything we hold dear,” said Governor DeWine. “Yesterday’s actions were shameful, and all Americans need to denounce these acts. It is time we all accept the election results, and the will of the People. We need to come together as a People, and we need to work together.”

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 encouraged Ohioans to look more closely at the chart below, which shows the number of positive cases per 1,000 residents. 

PHASE 1B VACCINATIONS

Governor DeWine announced those in Phase 1B will be able to receive vaccinations beginning on Tuesday, January 19. Those 80 years of age and older will be prioritized first in this next phase, roughly totaling 420,000 Ohioans. Ohio is expected to receive 100,000 doses during the first week of distribution to Phase 1B.

“With up to 420,000 people 80 years and above, and only 100,000 doses available the first week, it will take several weeks to vaccinate those 80 years of age and older," said Governor DeWine. "Phase 1B will take a few weeks, and a lot of coordination in distribution.”

Vaccines for Ohioans 80 years of age and older will be administered by physicians, local health departments, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, in-home health service providers, and some retail pharmacies.  As of today, the Ohio Department of Health has approximately 1,700 providers registered to distribute vaccines. 

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health will be hosting a webinar for registered providers to discuss expectations, and instructions for distribution. Additional details will be shared with registered providers in the coming days.

Governor DeWine anticipates vaccinations will be available to Ohioans 75 years of age and older beginning Monday, January 25. The following week, vaccinations will be available to those 70 years of age and older. Beginning the week of Monday, February 8 vaccinations will be available to those 65 years of age and older.

“As we include other age ranges, please know that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine.  

The week of January 25 will also include vaccinations for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early onset medical disorders.  Additional details about distribution for this group will be forthcoming.

During the week of February 1, Governor DeWine announced that vaccinations will be available for personnel in Ohio schools.  The Ohio Department of Heath will send forms to Ohio superintendents to indicate their school plans to go back to in full in-person and hybrid learning by March 1, as well as indicate the number of staff they believe will choose to take the vaccination.  Superintendents will also be asked if a community partner has been identified to help with the administering of the COVID-19 vaccines to school personnel.

Additional information about vaccinations can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov

BROADBANDOHIO CONNECTIVITY GRANT

Lt. Governor Husted today announced that the deadline for the BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant, which provided $50 million to schools to help them purchase equipment for students to access the internet, has been extended. This program helps schools to fund everything from hotspots, to Wi-Fi, to access points on school busses. The grant was funded using Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) from the CARES Act.

The deadline to spend these funds was originally December 30, 2020, however, a second federal stimulus bill was signed at the of December, which extended the CRF expenditure deadline an additional year, until December 31, 2021. As a result, this administration extended the deadline for the BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant to the same date, December 31, 2021.

School districts now have more time to spend these funds for services they provide to students to keep them online.

More information about the grant program can be found at ohio-k12.help.

AMENDED HEALTH ORDER

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Sixth Amended Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities, with Exceptions.

This revised order clarifies that in-person compassionate care visits are permitted in nursing homes and similar facilities. The new order does not change required precautions all visitors must take, including but not limited to, wearing of a facial covering and social distancing.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 753,068 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,462 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 40,469 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,092 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

January 5

Vaccination Phases, Nursing Home Vaccinations, Virus Variant, Vaccine Redistribution

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATION PHASES

Governor DeWine today recapped Phases 1A and 1B of Ohio's vaccine distribution plan. Because the availability of the vaccine remains limited in Ohio and across the country, Ohio is taking a phased approach that prioritizes the most vulnerable citizens, those in the healthcare field, and school staff members.

Phase 1A, which is currently underway, includes approximately 1 million Ohioans. 

It is anticipated that vaccine distribution in Phase 1B will begin as Phase 1A begins to wind down. 

Phase 1B focuses largely on those who are 65 and older. Those in this age group are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and make up more than 87 percent of Ohioans who have died from the virus. Phase 1B also includes school teachers and other school staff who will be offered the vaccine in an effort to get Ohio's children back to school as soon as possible. In total, Phase 1B includes an estimated 2.2 million people.

Details of future phases of the vaccination plan will be announced as Phases 1A and 1B progress and as Ohio receives vaccines for the future phases. Ohio is currently receiving roughly 100,000 vaccines each week, although that number could increase if more vaccines are approved for administration.

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

As of Sunday, approximately 61 percent of nursing homes in Ohio have been visited by a pharmacy vaccine provider. Of those locations, only approximately 40 percent of staff members have chosen to receive the vaccination. Of nursing home residents, approximately 75 to 80 percent of residents have decided to receive the vaccine.

Nursing home staff and residents who have received their first dose of vaccine will begin receiving second doses on Friday. Governor DeWine encouraged those in nursing homes who initially declined to receive the vaccine to get their first dose as part of this second round. Following this opportunity, it may be some time before a first dose is available again.

VACCINE DISCUSSIONS FOR LONG-TERM CARE PROVIDERS

The Ohio Department of Aging will be hosting live discussions to help educate long-term care providers about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine. State and community vaccine experts will be available to answer questions about the vaccine, and participants will have the opportunity to offer input to help state leaders make decisions to guide Ohio out of the pandemic.

VIRUS VARIANT

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health, provided information related to the coronavirus variation that was first seen in the United Kingdom.

"Although virus variations are normal, and most do not impact the behavior of a virus, this variation is notable because it appears to be more contagious than other variants of the coronavirus," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "Fortunately, this variant doesn't appear to be more severe or to impact those who are already immune, but it worries us because a more contagious variant could lead to more people getting sick, more people being hospitalized, and more people dying."

Ohio currently has three times the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations that it had on November 1 and nearly seven times the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations that it had on October 1. 

Dr. Vanderhoff stressed the importance of continuing Ohio's coronavirus protocols of social distancing, avoiding crowds, washing hands, wearing masks, and accepting the vaccine when available to prevent the spread of all variants of the coronavirus and to prevent further increases in hospitalizations. 

VACCINE REDISTRIBUTION PLANS

The Ohio Department of Health will be issuing a directive requiring vaccine providers to develop a surplus vaccine redistribution plan. The directive follows a recent incident in which a long-term care facility in Ohio overestimated the number of vaccine doses needed for residents and staff. Seven vials of vaccine (35 doses) were not administered and expired.

"Every vaccine dose that Ohio receives must be administered," said Governor DeWine. "Each vaccine represents a potential life saved, and it is our obligation to ensure that not a single dose is wasted."

Vaccine redistribution plans will prioritize recipients based on Phase 1A and 1B vaccine distribution criteria. If a significant number of doses remain, vaccine providers must contact the Ohio Department of Health for immediate redistribution assistance.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION RATE CUT

The Lt. Governor also announced that Ohio’s public employers will pay $14.8 million less in premiums this year thanks to a rate reduction from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation that went into effect January 1.

The rate cut means approximately 3,700 counties, cities, public schools, and other public taxing districts will pay an average of 10 percent less on their annual premiums than in calendar year 2020. The reduction, made possible by declining injury trends and relatively low medical inflation costs, is the twelfth cut for public employers since 2009 and follows a 10 percent cut in 2020.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 735,003 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 9,247 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 39,650 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,022 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 31

Health Order Signed Encouraging Ohioans to Stay Home

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed a health order encouraging people to stay at home during specified hours unless they are working or engaged in an essential activity. This extends provisions in previous orders and applies until January 23, 2021, at 12:01 p.m. 

Specifications in this order include:

  • Individuals within the state must stay at a place of residence during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. except for obtaining necessary food, medical care, or social services or providing care for others.
    • This order doesn’t apply to those that are homeless. Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are encouraged to leave their homes and stay at a safe, alternative location.
    • The order does not apply to religious observances and First Amendment protected speech including activity by the media.
  • The order permits travel into or out of the state and permits travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children according to a custody agreement, or to obtain fuel.

Individuals are permitted to leave a place of residence during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for the following essential activities:

  • Engaging in activities essential to their health and safety or the health and safety of those in their households or people who are unable to or should not leave their homes, including pets. Activities can include but are not limited to seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional including hospitals, emergency departments, urgent care clinics, and pharmacies.
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or members of their household who are unable or should not leave their home, to deliver those services or supplies to others. Examples of those include but are not limited to, obtaining groceries and food. Food and beverages may be obtained only for consumption off-premises, through such means as delivery, drive-through, curbside pickup and carryout.
  • To obtain necessary social services.
  • To go to work, including volunteer work.
  • To take care of or transport a family member, friend, or pet in their household or another household.
  • To perform or obtain government services.

December 30

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIO VACCINES

Ohio is expected to receive more than 238,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines next week. Governor DeWine encouraged those administering the vaccine to do so with urgency. 

"Although we'll never know whose lives have been saved, we do know that these vaccines are saving lives," said Governor DeWine. "We all have a moral responsibility to get the vaccine out to those who choose to receive it as quickly as we possibly can."

Governor DeWine also encouraged citizens who wish to be vaccinated to act with urgency when offered the vaccine. Because the vaccine is currently scarce, Governor DeWine warned that those who decline to receive a vaccine at the first opportunity may not immediately receive another chance. 

SCHOOL QUARANTINE GUIDANCE CHANGE

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is changing its guidance regarding quarantines following an in-classroom exposure in K-12 schools. Moving forward, students and teachers exposed to a COVID-positive person in school are no longer required to quarantine as long as the exposure occurred in a classroom setting and all students/teachers were wearing masks and following other appropriate protocols.

The change follows an evaluation of virus spread in Ohio schools conducted by researchers with the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team. Preliminary results of the evaluation found no discernable difference in the risk of contracting the coronavirus between those in close contact with a COVID-positive person in the classroom and those who were farther away.  

"This evaluation confirms for us that Ohio's classrooms are a safe place for our students and that the commitment our schools have made to keeping kids safe in the classroom is working," said Governor DeWine.

Schools should continue to require quarantines for exposed students in situations where masking and distancing protocols were not followed. The updated quarantine guidance does not apply to after-school activities, including sports. 

CURFEW EXTENSION

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend Ohio's 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until January 23, 2021. The extension is necessary until Ohio can determine if it will see a post-holiday case surge that impacts hospitals.

The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy.  Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery is permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10:00 p.m.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 690,748 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 8,855 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 38,002 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,837 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 23

Next Vaccination Phase, Local Health Departments and Hospitals

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NEXT VACCINATION PHASE

Governor DeWine announced the goals of Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution are to save lives and for schools to be fully open by March 1st.

“Ohioans in the 65 and older category make up just under 87% of COVID deaths. This is a stunning number, and it’s critical that we protect our older Ohioans,” said Governor DeWine.

In the next phase, vaccines will be available to those who choose to receive them who are 65 years or older or those living with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additionally, adults working in Ohio's schools will have the option to receive the vaccine. This is intended to assist schools in returning to in-person learning. 

Additional details about the next phase are forthcoming.

The following Phase 1A members are currently receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  This phase includes health care workers and personnel, nursing homes residents and staff, assisted living facilities residents and staff, psychiatric hospital patients and staff, people with developmental disabilities and those with mental illness who live in group homes or centers and staff at those locations, Ohio veterans homes residents and staff, and EMS responders.

LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND HOSPITALS

The local health departments and hospitals will assist with managing mass vaccination clinics as more vaccines are shipped to Ohio.

"Ohio's public health departments and hospitals are experts at managing mass vaccination clinics, and I am thankful we can turn to them to begin vaccinating Ohioans against COVID-19," said Governor DeWine. 

Christina Conover, director of nursing for the Clark County Combined Health District, joined today's public briefing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and encouraged other first responders and health care workers to do the same. 

Dr. Kevin Miller, emergency department physician, chief of Sugarcreek Fire Department and Tuscarawas County EMS director, and Dr. Jeffrey Cameron, Tuscarawas County coroner and emergency room doctor, both received their COVID-19 vaccine at the public briefing. Both doctors discussed their experiences in the emergency room throughout the pandemic and why they chose to receive the vaccine.

Additionally, advanced EMTs and paramedics will assist in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Carol Cunningham, an emergency room physician and Ohio’s State Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services, received a COVID-19 vaccine administered by Dan Samf, a paramedic with the Kirtland Fire Department.

Also Charles Shepherd, a therapeutic program worker at Twin Valley Psychiatric Hospital, joined today’s public briefing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and discussed the impact the vaccine will have at state psychiatric hospitals.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 644,822 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 8,361 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 36,025 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,640 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 17

Vaccines, New Advisory System Map, New Nurse PSAs

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Richland County. Medina, Portage, Stark, and Summit counties all moved from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3 this week. Governor DeWine cautioned that a decrease from Level 4 to Level 3 does not indicate that the situation in these counties is improving, but rather that healthcare indicators, such as hospitalizations, are plateauing at a very critical level. 

"Red and purple are not all that different," said Governor DeWine. "They both mean that a county has a very high level of cases and a very high level of COVID activity in the healthcare system. Purple simply indicates counties where things are worsening noticeably, but red counties are also at very worrisome and unsustainable levels."

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.

When seeking to determine the level of risk in each county, Governor DeWine encouraged Ohioans to look more closely at the chart below which shows the number of positive cases per 1,000 residents. 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. The top 20 counties show rates of nine to 13 times the high-incidence level. 

VACCINE UPDATE

Tomorrow, as part of the federal program to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff, facilities in Ohio will be among the first in the nation to receive vaccines through Walgreen’s, CVS, PharmScript, and Absolute Pharmacy. Ohio was invited by the CDC to participate in the scaling up of the federal program.

NEW PSA FEATURING OHIO NURSES

Governor DeWine unveiled a new public service announcement featuring four of Ohio's frontline nurses. The nurses describe what it’s like taking care of COVID patients in Ohio's hospitals.

The featured nurses are Erin Russo of Memorial Hospital in Marysville, Dara Pence of OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Jasmine Shavers of Miami Valley Hospital, and Lisa Burich of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 596,178 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,894 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 33,745 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,382 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 15

Vaccinations Continue in Ohio, Local Health Department Vaccination Guidance

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATIONS CONTINUE IN OHIO

Seven hospitals in Ohio received their first vaccine shipments today, bringing the total number of vaccine doses delivered to Ohio over the past two days to 98,475.

Governor and First Lady DeWine were present this morning for the delivery of the vaccine shipment to Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center and Lt. Governor Jon Husted visited OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus as they received their first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

In addition to the two aforementioned hospitals, COVID-19 vaccine shipments of 975 doses apiece were also delivered to:

  • Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
  • Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
  • Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
  • Aultman Hospital, Stark County
  • Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

An additional 975-dose shipment was delivered today to OhioHealth Riverside Hospital for use at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens. 

Although vaccine supplies are currently limited, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has advised that Ohio will continue to receive vaccinations throughout the month of December. Next week, Ohio is expected to receive 123,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as 201,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. During the week of New Year’s, Ohio is expected to receive an additional 148,000 Pfizer vaccines and an additional 89,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. 

A number of healthcare workers who received vaccinations today joined today's public briefing to discuss their experiences, including Kasi Gardner, RN, of Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center who received her vaccine during the news conference.

Dr. Jennifer Wall Forrester, associate chief medical officer at UC Health, also discussed when citizens should call their doctors or go to the hospital if they develop COVID-19 symptoms

HOSPITALIZATIONS

Ohioans continue to be hospitalized at record numbers. As of today, 5,296 patients are hospitalized throughout the state and 1,311 of those patients are in intensive care units. Ohio currently has more patients in the ICU than it had total for all COVID-19 hospitalized patients during the previous peak last summer.  There are currently 863 patients who need a ventilator, as compared to 360 patients on ventilators a month ago.

"While there is good reason to be optimistic about Ohioans receiving the vaccine, we have our work cut out for us to slow the spread of the virus until enough Ohioans can be vaccinated," said Governor DeWine. "We must continue rallying together to prevent overwhelming our hospitals."

LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT VACCINATION GUIDANCE

Next week, local health departments in Ohio that registered as providers are expected to begin receiving vaccines.  Today, Governor DeWine outlined guidance on individuals who should be prioritized by health departments during Phase 1A.

Local health departments should coordinate the vaccinations of congregate care residents and staff, such as those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who are not enrolled in the federal long-term care pharmacy programs or are not registered as providers themselves. This includes people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers, as well as staff.

In addition, local health departments should prioritize vaccinating other healthcare providers who are not being vaccinated by hospitals and health systems and are not enrolled as providers themselves.  These providers could include:

  • Home health workers
  • Hospice workers
  • Emergency medical services responders
  • Primary care practitioners
  • Free-standing emergency department, urgent care, pharmacy, and dialysis center providers not vaccinated by hospitals or healthcare systems
  • Dental providers
  • Public health employees who are at risk of exposure or transmission, such as vaccinators
  • Mobile unit practitioners
  • Federally-qualified health center providers
  • High-risk ancillary health care staff members

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 579,357 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,654 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 32,878 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,283 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 14

Vaccinations Begin in Ohio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

VACCINATIONS BEGIN IN OHIO

Governor DeWine announced today that the first COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Ohio. Shipments of 975 doses were delivered this morning to both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and UC Health in Cincinnati. Several healthcare workers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients immediately received vaccinations. 

"It was such a moment of hope to watch the healthcare workers begin to get vaccinated today," said Governor DeWine. "Today is the first day of a process that will continue over the months ahead as Ohioans who choose to be vaccinated have their opportunity to receive the vaccine. However, until the vaccine is widely available for all Ohioans who choose to receive it, we must continue to use all available tools to prevent the spread of the virus, like wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and washing your hands."

Vaccine shipments will be delivered to eight additional hospitals in Ohio tomorrow:

  • Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
  • Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
  • Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
  • Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center, Clark County
  • OhioHealth Riverside Hospital, Franklin County
  • Aultman Hospital, Stark County
  • OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Athens County
  • Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

All 10 hospitals were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity. 

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to come to Ohio, Cardinal Health’s OptiFreight Logistics business will help provide same-day delivery services. Once the vaccine is widely available, this partnership will allow Ohio to ship the vaccine to approximately 350 locations across the state.  

NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has invited Ohio to participate in an early scaled launch of vaccinations in nursing homes. Ohio will begin providing vaccinations in five to ten nursing homes starting this Friday, December 18. 

Ohio had previously been scheduled to start its nursing home vaccination program in partnership with pharmacy providers on Monday, December 21.

VACCINATION DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard in the coming days at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The dashboard will list the number of people vaccinated in Ohio and will be sortable by demographic and by county.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 570,602 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,551 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 32,264 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,209 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 10

Stay Safe Ohio Protocol, Curfew Extension, Sports Variance 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STAY SAFE OHIO PROTOCOL

Governor DeWine today unveiled the new Stay Safe Ohio Protocol. The protocol was developed in partnership with medical professionals across the state to inform Ohioans how to safely live with the virus.

Governor DeWine was joined by medical professionals throughout the state to explain the importance of the protocols.  

CURFEW EXTENSION

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will be extending the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew until January 2, 2021.

The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy.  Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery will be permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10 p.m.

“COVID-19 is the single greatest threat to the physical well-being of all Ohioans, the mental health of our citizens, and our economic security,” said Governor DeWine. “We must do everything we can to slow down the spread of this virus.”

The decision to extend the curfew was made with input from the medical and business communities with consideration to the economic impact and health care system.

The extended order can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark and Summit counties. Ashland and Guernsey counties were moved to the Watch List.

Noble, Harrison and Washington counties moved to Red Level 3 for the first time since implementation of the Advisory System in April.

Ohio also had 11,738 new cases reported between yesterday and today, which is the fourth highest case court to date. A total of 452 new hospitalizations were reported, as well as 111 deaths.

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.

SPORTS VARIANCE

The Ohio Department of Health will issue a variance to the curfew for specific sporting events in Ohio. The start times of these games are dictated by national television contracts, and as a result, the games would not be finished until after the 10 p.m. curfew.

More information will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov in the coming days.

DINE SAFE

Lt. Governor Husted encouraged Ohioans to do what they can to support local restaurants during this time, whether it’s by carrying out a meal at least once a week or by ordering delivery. He also recommended giving out restaurant gift cards as gifts for family and friends this holiday season.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 

As another update in Ohio’s economic recovery, the Lt. Governor discussed two new projects that are putting Ohio on the map as far as innovation in transportation technology.

Agility Prime: Earlier today, the Lt. Governor joined officials from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Dayton Development Coalition, JobsOhio, City of Springfield, BETA Technologies, and Joby Aviation to participate in a virtual groundbreaking event for a new advanced urban air mobility technology simulator facility at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.

The Air Force recently launched the program, which seeks to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft and create a robust domestic industry and supply chain to support their development and production.

Waymo: Last week, Waymo – one of the world leaders in autonomous driving technology – announced their plan to develop new proprietary features at TRC’s SMARTCenter to help them advance their Waymo Driver self-driving system and driverless Class 8 truck. This is a big win for Ohio as it’s the first time Waymo has established a permanent presence at a third-party test site.

The Lt. Governor underscored what these announcements mean to Ohio’s recovery and how they attract investment, new technologies and workforce development.

“This can really be an important part of the foundation for our economic recovery in 2021,” Lt. Gov. Husted said. “We really welcome these new investments from companies who are outside of Ohio – who are bringing their investments to Ohio – to start brand new innovations, brand new companies and brand new technologies that we hope will benefit Ohioans for generations to come.”

FOODBANKS

First Lady Fran DeWine encouraged Ohioans to consider donating to The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which serves all 88 counties. The Ohio National Guard has assisted foodbanks throughout the state this year in distributing more than 79 million pounds of food. 

More information about how to donate can be found at OhioFoodbanks.org/Coronavirus

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 531,850 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,298 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 31,142 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,090 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 7

Antigen Testing, K-12 Education Update, DataOhio Portal

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIO CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS

In the past 24 hours, Ohio reported 9,273 new coronavirus cases, the sixth highest count reported in one day since the pandemic. 336 new hospitalizations were reported and 40 new patients are in intensive care. An additional 63 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio, surpassing 7,000 total deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.   

ANTIGEN TESTING UPDATE

Governor DeWine discussed the Ohio Department of Health aligning with the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current case definition. In August, the CDC changed the case definition of antigen testing to include case counts without additional verification.  Ohio has continued to manually verify an epidemiological link, such as a known positive contact, with an antigen positive test result.

Tomorrow, December 8, the department will begin including antigen tests without an epidemiological link in the total case count. This will result in a one-day spike in reported cases from pending positive antigen cases. 

“After understanding more about the antigen testing, the CDC changed their definition. Our epidemiologists have alerted us that they are no longer able to keep up with the manual verification process of antigen testing because there is so much COVID-19 spread in Ohio,” said Governor DeWine. “Antigen tests have become a bigger part of our overall picture of understanding COVID-19, and it’s important to capture that information.”

Not all pending cases will be translated into new cases.  Cases will be checked and duplicate records will be removed. Cases will also be assigned to their appropriate onset date.

K-12 EDUCATION UPDATE

The Ohio Department of Education continues to report limited spread of COVID-19 in a classroom setting, but an increase of community spread from informal gatherings outside of school.

The department also tracks how many districts are hosting in-person, hybrid, or remote learning. 

“This week, you can see that a lot of districts, especially in northeast Ohio, are fully remote.  Once we get community spread under control, schools will feel safe going back to in-person learning," said Governor DeWine. 

DATAOHIO PORTAL

Lt. Governor Husted announced the launch of the DataOhio Portal, which delivers datasets and interactive visualizations to Ohioans.  This portal delivers unprecedented access through an innovative, data-sharing platform for state agencies and their partners. 

“We’ve all learned over the past year how critical data is to tackling our biggest challenges,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “The IOP team has built a one-stop-shop for the state’s data, providing a secure approach to data access and displaying datasets that, in some cases, are available now for the first time. This collaboration will help Ohio make better public policy decisions so we can better serve the people of our state."

ADDITIONAL GUESTS

During today’s briefing, Governor DeWine was joined by two nurses who discussed their experiences treating patients with coronavirus.

Lisa Burich, a registered nurse and emergency room team lead at Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, discussed the conditions seen for admitted coronavirus patients and the concern of spreading COVID-19 from the hospital setting.

CJ Adams, nurse manager at TriHealth Bethesda North Hospital, discussed the challenges associated with bed and staffing capacities. Adams was a Captain in the Air Force Reserves and shared how her military experience has helped build her leadership and resiliency skills.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 484,297 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,022 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 29,569 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,943 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

Governor DeWine Urges Congress to Pass Additional COVID-19 Relief

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today issued the following statement to Congress urging passage of another COVID 19 relief package:

"I strongly urge Congress to pass a much-needed bipartisan COVID 19 relief package before leaving Washington for the holiday recess.

"We are grateful in Ohio for the significant federal assistance provided to date, but more relief is desperately needed to support the ongoing state and local government response to this pandemic and to help our citizens, businesses, health care providers, essential workers, and schools as we face the public health and economic challenges that remain.

"The COVID-19 vaccine trials have demonstrated promising results. However, until we reach community immunity, the virus remains a great health and economic threat. In Ohio, we are seeing record-high cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

"Many vital CARES Act programs have already run out, and more are set to expire before the end of the year. Ohio’s workers, families, small businesses and industries, health care professionals, schools and children are struggling. Additional substantial aid is essential. Continued investment will not only allow us to dampen the economic fallout in Ohio and slow a potential recession in the coming years, but ultimately, it will also help our citizens to return to normal when the pandemic ends.

"I remain grateful for the ongoing state, local, and federal partnership in the face of the pandemic. Continued support from Congress is essential to keep the Ohio economy open and protect the lives and livelihoods of all Ohioans."

 

December 4

Phase 1 Vaccination Distribution Plan, Quarantine Guidance

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIO CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS 

In the past 24 hours, Ohio reported 8,921 new coronavirus cases, the fifth-highest case count reported in one day since the start of the pandemic. Nearly 400 more hospitalizations were reported, and an additional 82 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio.

COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high with 5,142 patients currently hospitalized. Of those, 1,204 patients are in intensive care. 

Dr. Andy Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, warned that Ohio is not yet seeing the impact of gatherings that took place over Thanksgiving because hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. Symptoms generally develop within 10 days of transmission, and hospitalizations typically occur a week after diagnosis.

"This is not the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning," said Dr. Thomas. "Hospitals are in a very difficult spot here, and we're just now heading into the most challenging three months of the pandemic. ICU beds are an area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state, especially in rural areas."

"We are in crisis. Hospitals across Ohio are running out of beds, healthcare workers are burned out and stretched thin, and our hospitals are stressed to the extreme," said Dr. Nora Colburn, associate medical director for clinical epidemiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Hospitals around the state are delaying non-emergency procedures which will impact routine healthcare. The bottom line is that non-COVID patients are being crowded out of the system and won't be able to get the care they need to stay healthy. We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus."

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Lake, Lorain, Medina, Montgomery, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit counties. Cuyahoga, Fairfield, and Madison counties were moved to the Watch List.

Franklin County dropped from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3, however, Dr. Thomas urged county residents to remain vigilant. 

"This does not mean that Franklin County is out of the woods," said Dr. Thomas. "We still have a rate of cases that is six-times higher than the definition of high incidence. That is not good. We are not on our way down yet." 

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.

OHIO POSITIVITY

According to this week's ODH travel advisory, this is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15 percent.

The travel advisory encourages all Ohioans to help to limit the spread and impact of this virus by staying home except for necessary trips for supplies. The advisory also urges Ohioans to consistently wear masks when around others and frequently wash their hands.

ODH requests that anyone who must travel to any other state with a positivity rate of 15 percent or more self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. ODH also asks any non-Ohioans entering the state from one of these areas to do the same.

RETAIL COMPLIANCE UNIT DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard is now available online at coronavirus.ohio.gov

The new dashboard includes information on the number of retailers visited by agents, how many customers and employees were properly wearing masks, how many establishments had proper signage, and the number of warnings issued. The dashboard will be updated each Thursday.

The Retail Compliance Unit was created within the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to help keep businesses open and safe for customers and employees. 

MASKS AND THOSE WITH DISABILITIES

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that some individuals with disabilities may not be able to wear a mask.

"While it’s crucial that those of us who can wear face masks do wear face masks, we should all remember that when we see someone in public without a mask it may be someone with a disability who may not be able to wear one," said Governor DeWine. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 446,849 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,753 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 28,281 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,814 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

December 3

Increasing Positivity Rate, New Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIO CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS 

In the past 24 hours, Ohio reported 8,921 new coronavirus cases, the fifth-highest case count reported in one day since the start of the pandemic. Nearly 400 more hospitalizations were reported, and an additional 82 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio.

COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high with 5,142 patients currently hospitalized. Of those, 1,204 patients are in intensive care. 

Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, warned that Ohio is not yet seeing the impact of gatherings that took place over Thanksgiving because hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. Symptoms generally develop within 10 days of transmission, and hospitalizations typically occur a week after diagnosis.

"This is not the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning," said Dr. Thomas. "Hospitals are in a very difficult spot here, and we're just now heading into the most challenging three months of the pandemic. ICU beds are an area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state, especially in rural areas."

"We are in crisis. Hospitals across Ohio are running out of beds, healthcare workers are burned out and stretched thin, and our hospitals are stressed to the extreme," said Dr. Nora Colburn, associate medical director for clinical epidemiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Hospitals around the state are delaying non-emergency procedures which will impact routine healthcare. The bottom line is that non-COVID patients are being crowded out of the system and won't be able to get the care they need to stay healthy. We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus."

OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Lake, Lorain, Medina, Montgomery, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit counties. Cuyahoga, Fairfield, and Madison counties were moved to the Watch List.

Franklin County dropped from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3, however, Dr. Thomas urged county residents to remain vigilant. 

"This does not mean that Franklin County is out of the woods," said Dr. Thomas. "We still have a rate of cases that is six-times higher than the definition of high incidence. That is not good. We are not on our way down yet." 

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.

OHIO POSITIVITY

According to this week's ODH travel advisory, this is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15 percent.

The travel advisory encourages all Ohioans to help to limit the spread and impact of this virus by staying home except for necessary trips for supplies. The advisory also urges Ohioans to consistently wear masks when around others and frequently wash their hands.

ODH requests that anyone who must travel to any other state with a positivity rate of 15 percent or more self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. ODH also asks any non-Ohioans entering the state from one of these areas to do the same.

RETAIL COMPLIANCE UNIT DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard is now available online at coronavirus.ohio.gov

The new dashboard includes information on the number of retailers visited by agents, how many customers and employees were properly wearing masks, how many establishments had proper signage, and the number of warnings issued. The dashboard will be updated each Thursday.

The Retail Compliance Unit was created within the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to help keep businesses open and safe for customers and employees. 

MASKS AND THOSE WITH DISABILITIES

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that some individuals with disabilities may not be able to wear a mask.

"While it’s crucial that those of us who can wear face masks do wear face masks, we should all remember that when we see someone in public without a mask it may be someone with a disability who may not be able to wear one," said Governor DeWine. 

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 446,849 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,753 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 28,281 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,814 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

Citing Objections from Health Care Professionals and Business Leaders, Governor DeWine Vetoes SB 311

Citing objections from health care professionals and business leaders as being detrimental to pandemic response and public health, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today vetoed Substitute Senate Bill 311, stating in his veto message that "it is not in the best interest of protecting the health and safety of all Ohioans."

The veto message included several comments from health experts opposing the measure:

  • "One of the most concerning aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability of an individual to infect another person unknowingly during the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic phase of the infection.  If the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to only issue executive orders related to those already diagnosed with the infection or exposed to someone who is diagnosed, we fear that there will be millions of Ohioans put at risk given the risk of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread," said Dr. Andrew M. Thomas, Ohio State Medical Association Council member, during his testimony before the Ohio House of Representatives State and Local Government Committee.
  • "The legislation takes away public health’s ability to be nimble in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will limit the ability of public health officials to respond to future infectious disease outbreaks and potential acts of bioterrorism," Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer of the Ohio Department of Health, stated during his House testimony.
  • "It’s possible that our number of COVID-19 patients could eventually exceed our hospital’s current capacity," Dr. Jerry A. Mansfield, Chief Nursing Officer of Mount Carmel Health System stated during his House testimony. "Our staffing levels are stretched thin, and our team of physicians, nurses, and other staff are exhausted."
  • "The notion that action cannot be taken to prevent the spread of any of these serious illnesses to those who have not been directly exposed is contradictory to public health best practices that have been scientifically tested and verified over the past 100 years,"  the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners during Ohio House testimony.

Below are links to Governor DeWine's veto message and the messages received in opposition to SB 311.

November 30

5,060 Hospitalizations, New Indoor Air Quality Program

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

HOSPITALIZATIONS & ICU ADMISSIONS

Ohio's COVID-19 hospitalizations have hit an all-time high at 5,060 people hospitalized with the coronavirus across Ohio as compared to just under 1,700 COVID-19 patients on November 1. Of Ohio's currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, there are 1,180 individuals in intensive care units and 682 people are on ventilators. 

According to Dr. Andy Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, one-third of ICU patients across Ohio have COVID and one-third of individuals on ventilators have COVID.

"COVID patients are going to start crowding out other people who need that level of care as these numbers continue to rise," said Dr. Thomas. "The reality is that hospitals are making difficult decisions about delaying care. It may be non-urgent care, but it's care that may cause someone to go to the ICU after surgery. A lot of hospitals are delaying those surgeries because they can't afford their ICUs to be overtaxed."

Dr. Thomas reported that rural areas are being hit particularly hard right now, and several hospitals are beginning to voice concerns about their ability to manage such a high number of intensive care patients. As the total number of COVID patients grows, smaller community hospitals will be unable to expand their intensive care capacity. 

For individuals who traveled over Thanksgiving, Dr. Thomas urged them to quarantine upon return to Ohio to break any possible chain of transmission. 

COVID-19 INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

Governor DeWine today announced a new program to help improve indoor air quality and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 at senior living facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living centers, and adult day centers. 

The $28 million program was created using federal CARES Act funding to address indoor air quality through HVAC inspections, portable air filtration systems, new filtration systems, maintenance on current systems, and other interventions. Eligible recipients can receive up to $15,000.

“As we move into colder months and spend more time inside, proper ventilation and filtration are even more important to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor DeWine.

The program was approved by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors at a special meeting Wednesday. BWC will administer the program and applications are available at bwc.ohio.gov. Additional questions about the program should be emailed to grants@bwc.state.oh.us.

STATE OF OHIO EMPLOYEES

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ohio, Governor DeWine has delayed Ohio's plan to resume in-person work at state-owned facilities. A gradual, phased approach was expected to begin in January. Governor DeWine also encouraged other employers to allow employees to work at home to the extent possible.

ADDITIONAL GUESTS

During today's briefing, Governor DeWine was joined by four nurses who discussed their experiences treating patients with coronavirus. 

Stacey Morris, a COVID unit nurse manager at Cleveland Clinic Akron General, discussed the role nurses play when patients are admitted, as they fight for their lives, and, in the worst circumstances, when they must say goodbye to their loved ones. 

Carrie Watkins, assistant director for nursing at Genacross Lutheran Services in Holland, Ohio, discussed the surge in COVID cases that are experienced in nursing homes each time there is a surge in community spread. 

Dara Pence, ICU nurse manager at Ohio Health's Riverside Hospital in Columbus, discussed the unpredictability of the virus and the tragedies that she has witnessed due to COVID-19. 

Jamie Giere, a nurse and team leader for the COVID unit at Premier Health's Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy, Ohio, discussed the surge in patients over the past three weeks and her concerns that the public does not fully understand what is happening in Ohio's hospitals.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 421,063 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,429 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 26,864 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,682 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

November 23

Record Number of Hospital Admissions 

This afternoon, Governor DeWine was joined by leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association to discuss the status of hospital capacity and healthcare personnel needs in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the state.

Today, Ohio reported 282 new hospitalizations in the last 24 hours. Additionally, Ohio reported 11,885 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Due to an electronic lab reporting technology issue, information from multiple labs was not processed for two proceeding days and was consequently included in today's report. 

“On Thursday, Ohio hospitals had more than 3,800 COVID-19 patients, which was the highest patient count we had seen so far.  Today, we are reporting 4,358 COVID-19 hospitalized patients,” said Governor DeWine. “The virus is quickly spreading throughout our entire state and is dramatically impacting all of our healthcare zones and their ability to care for patients.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio Hospital Association to develop a comprehensive statewide public health system to ensure that all Ohioans have access to quality care during the pandemic. As part of this process, the state was divided into three healthcare zones. Leaders of each zone provided an update on hospital capacity in their regions. 

ZONE 1

Zone 1 has seen a consistent climb in COVID-19 hospitalizations in recent weeks. Additionally, Zone 1 is experiencing a sharp increase in caregivers becoming ill with COVID-19. 

“My biggest concern today is that within the Cleveland Clinic system, alone, we had 970 caregivers out due to coronavirus,” said Robert Wyllie, MD of the Cleveland Clinic. “These caregivers are not catching this in the hospital, but rather in the community.  As the community spread increases, so does the number of caregivers who are in quarantine from exposure or who are sick with coronavirus.”

ZONE 2

Two weeks ago, Zone 2 hit a milestone of 560 COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the region.

“On November 2, Zone 2 had 400 patients in our hospitals.  And not even three weeks later, on November 21, we surpassed over 900 patients,” said Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Until we see cases peak and start to come down in a sustained way, Ohio will continue to see hospitalizations rise.”

ZONE 3

Additionally, Zone 3 has seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations throughout the region. 

“In late September, Zone 3 had 90 hospitalizations. This was at a time when we were opening businesses, and kids were going back to school,” said Richard Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP, and president and CEO of UC Health. “This really speaks to us because we know how to keep this virus at bay. But, unfortunately this virus is now everywhere.”

The increase in hospitalizations throughout the region has taken a toll on caregivers, as well. Several hospitals in Zone 3 have reported a nursing shortage. 

RURAL HOSPITALS

Ronda Lehman, PharmD, MBA, FACHE and president of Mercy Health, also discussed the hospital capacity among many rural communities.

“The number of coronavirus patients who require hospitalizations are happening at a faster rate than we are discharging them," said  Lehman. "The ability to discharge patients safely with adequate care, such as providing oxygen or skilled nursing home placement, is also burdened like our hospital systems.”

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 363,304 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,020 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 24,705 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,454 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

November 19

Critical Hospitalization Levels, New Childcare Dashboards

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CRITICAL HOSPITALIZATION LEVELS

As of today, there are 3,829 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Ohio, with 943 of those individuals in the ICU. These are the highest patient counts Ohio has had during the pandemic and more than double the hospitalizations recorded during previous peaks.

While statewide testing has increased by 43 percent, positive cases have increased by nearly 300 percent in the past month. 

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health revealed today that Franklin County has reached a Level 4 Purple Public Emergency with severe exposure and spread. All 88 counties remain at "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the first time, no counties are rated below Level 2. 

"Other counties may not yet be seeing continuous, uninterrupted increases in the same way as Franklin County, but make no mistake - almost all counties are seeing more cases and more healthcare use that could threaten the medical system if they continue," 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.

SENATE BILL 311

Governor DeWine today announced his intention to veto Senate Bill 311 if passed by the Ohio General Assembly.  The bill, which is currently under consideration in the Ohio House of Representatives, would severely limit the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to issue orders necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases now and in the future.  

"Imagine if a country hostile to the United States smuggles a biological agent into our state and unleashes it in Ohio - our state would need to respond quickly to quarantine the area to stop its spread. This bill would make Ohio slow to respond in a crisis and would put our citizens in severe danger," said Governor DeWine. "I've always listened to the advice of experts, and the experts are telling me this is a dangerous idea. Doctors, nurses, and scientists have all advised me that this bill would do great harm if it became law."

CHILDCARE DASHBOARDS

Two new COVID-19 dashboards tracking the number of cases at Ohio child care centers are now available. 

The first dashboard tracks the number of children and staff cases in individual centers. Because of the small size of home-based providers, many of which serve six or fewer children, positive COVID cases from children and adults in those facilities will be tracked by county on a separate dashboard.

RETAIL COMPLIANCE UPDATE

Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit has visited more than 50 percent of Ohio counties in its first three days. Agents have observed over 90 percent compliance in social distancing and mask-wearing in retail establishments, a noticeable improvement.  

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 326,615 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,890 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 23 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,22 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

Health Order Signed Encouraging Ohioans to Stay Home

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed a health order encouraging people to stay at home during specified hours unless they are working or engaged in an essential activity.

“As COVID-19 continues to spread in Ohio, we need a stronger response to minimize the impact on Ohio’s healthcare and hospital capacity and ensure healthcare is available to those that need it,” said Governor DeWine. “With this order we are discouraging get-togethers and gatherings to minimize the spread of the virus while minimizing the economic impact of a complete shutdown.”

Specifications in this order include:

  • Individuals within the state must stay at a place of residence during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. except for obtaining necessary food, medical care, or social services or providing care for others.
    • This order doesn’t apply to those that are homeless. Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are encouraged to leave their homes and stay at a safe, alternative location.
    • The order does not apply to religious observances and First Amendment protected speech including activity by the media.
  • The order permits travel into or out of the state and permits travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children according to a custody agreement, or to obtain fuel.

Individuals are permitted to leave a place of residence during the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for the following essential activities:

  • Engaging in activities essential to their health and safety or the health and safety of those in their households or people who are unable to or should not leave their homes, including pets. Activities can include but are not limited to seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional including hospitals, emergency departments, urgent care clinics, and pharmacies.
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or members of their household who are unable or should not leave their home, to deliver those services or supplies to others. Examples of those include but are not limited to, obtaining groceries and food. Food and beverages may be obtained only for consumption off-premises, through such means as delivery, drive-through, curbside pickup and carryout.
  • To obtain necessary social services.
  • To go to work, including volunteer work.
  • To take care of or transport a family member, friend, or pet in their household or another household.
  • To perform or obtain government services.

This order will apply for the next 21-days.

 

November 17

21-Day Statewide Curfew 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATEWIDE CURFEW

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will be issuing a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew beginning on Thursday, November 19. The curfew will be in effect for 21 days. 

The curfew will not apply to those going to or from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to a pharmacy. Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery will be permitted, but serving food and drink in person must cease at 10 p.m. 

Additional details on the 21-day curfew order are forthcoming.

"We're not shutting down, we're slowing down," said Governor DeWine. "The curfew is aimed at helping to reduce the number of person-to-person contacts because the only way virus lives is when it goes from one person to another. We have to flatten this curve again and get this under control."

The decision to impose a 21-day curfew was made with input from the medical and business communities with consideration to the economic and mental health impacts that another shutdown could cause. 

"This is a balanced approach that will slow down people coming together and impact the spread of the virus to the point that it can be controlled, and at the same time, not cause a catastrophic effect in the economy," said Lt. Governor Husted. "You have to care about both the economy and health - you can't just care about one in isolation. Based on all of the recommendations we considered, a curfew was the most impactful option with the least disruption." 

Governor DeWine also encouraged Ohioans to do one thing each day that will decrease the spread of the virus through mask-wearing, social distancing, and limiting the number of daily contacts.  

VACCINE PREPOSITIONING

Governor DeWine today provided details on Ohio's vaccine prepositioning plan. 

The Ohio Department of Health has identified 10 sites across the state that will receive the pre-positioned vaccine after a COVID-19 vaccine is given emergency-use authorization. Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issues its recommendation on how to use the vaccine, these sites will begin administering the vaccine immediately to those who choose to receive it and are identified as able to receive it in the first stage.

Ohio will first vaccinate those who are most at risk, including those who work in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and other congregate-care facilities, high-risk health care workers, and first responders.  

The ten pre-positioned sites were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity. Other sites will begin receiving shipments of vaccine following final approval, potentially just days after the pre-positioned sites begin administering the vaccine.  

Governor DeWine once again encouraged citizens to remain vigilant in practicing safety measures until a vaccine is available.

HOME AND HEALTHY FOR THE HOLIDAYS

As students at Ohio’s colleges and universities are preparing to head home for the holidays, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and Ohio Hospital Association are launching a new campaign to encourage students to keep themselves and family members safe while they're at home. 

The "Home and Healthy for the Holidays" campaign will provide tips for students to follow before, during, and after holiday travel. The campaign will also share information for students on what they should do if they have no access to testing or if they receive a positive or negative test result. 

College students are encouraged to share how they plan to be safe during the holidays by posting to social media using the hashtags #HomeandHealthyfortheHolidays and #BackOnCampus21.

NEW HOLIDAY GUIDE

Governor DeWine announced the release of a new holiday celebration guide from the Ohio Department of Health to help families celebrate safely during the 2020-2021 holiday season. 

The guide provides alternatives to large in-person celebrations for a variety of holidays, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Orthodox New Year, and others. 

"This year’s holidays will look different as we make adjustments to keep our loved ones and ourselves healthy, so we can celebrate together in the future," said Governor DeWine. "Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, please keep the celebration small, and wear as mask and stay socially distanced if you absolutely must celebrate with individuals outside of your household."

The holiday gathering guide is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 312,443 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,772 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 22,846 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,250 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

November 16

Health Order to Limit Mass Gatherings Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed a revised health order to limit mass gatherings in Ohio. 

“Despite the health order that limited mass gatherings to 10 people that was signed in April remaining in effect, we have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” said Governor DeWine.  “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events.  It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem.  It’s the party afterward.”  

In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through airborne particles passing between people in close contact, wedding receptions, funeral repasts, and other events at banquet facilities are subject to the following restrictions:

  • No socializing or activities in open congregate areas and no dancing. 
  • Guests must be seated at all times. Traditional wedding reception events such as first dance, toasts, tossing the bouquet and cutting the cake are permitted.
  • If serving food and beverages, guests must be served at their seats. No self-serve buffets and no self-serve bar areas permitted.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages.
  • No more than 10 people should be seated at a table and those individuals must be from the same household.

This order does not apply to religious observances; First Amendment protected speech, including petition or referendum circulators, and any activity by media; and to governmental meetings which include meetings that are required to be open to the public.

This order goes into effect November 17, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

 

November 12

New Zip Code, Flu Dashboards, $30 Million to Assist Ohio Health Departments 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATEWIDE HIGH INCIDENCE 

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that all 88 counties in Ohio remain at "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to today's updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, 68 counties are currently rated as having a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 56 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. 

Both Franklin and Tuscarawas counties met six of seven advisory-system indicators and are approaching Purple Level 4. 

Ohio also had another record-breaking day for new cases reported in a 24-hour period, with 7,101 cases reported between yesterday and today. A total of 268 new hospitalizations were reported, as well as 35 more deaths.

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.

NEW ZIP CODE DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine today announced the creation of a new zip code dashboard. Ohioans can now view data from their local communities and filter data by probable or confirmed case status, county, a specific zip code, or a specific time period.

Case counts will also be available on a downloadable, filterable chart sorted from the most cases to the least. To protect confidentiality, case counts for zip codes with fewer than five cases or less than 100 total residents will not be displayed.

The new zip code dashboard can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov

NEW FLU DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine also announced a new flu dashboard that expands the statewide data that the Ohio Department of Health shares on seasonal flu activity each year.

The new dashboard shows flu trends over time with charts that indicate whether flu hospitalizations or cases of flu-like illness are on the rise or decline as compared to the previous week and compared to the five-year average data.

Hospitalization data is broken down by region, county, date, sex, age, race, and ethnicity. The data shows only positive flu PCR tests reported by public health laboratories and selected clinical laboratories that participate in the national flu monitoring system.

Additional data will be added moving forward, and the dashboard will be updated every Friday at 9 a.m.

The new flu dashboard can be found at flu.ohio.gov.

FUNDING FOR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Governor DeWine announced that the state is setting aside $30 million to assist the state’s 113 local health departments. Each department will receive $200,000 and will have the flexibility to determine how to best use the funds as they see fit to fight COVID-19. 

The remaining money will be used to hire contact tracers to support local health departments. Contact tracers will deploy where they are needed across the state to assist in identifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and prevent further spread.

GRANT ASSISTANCE STILL AVAILABLE

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today reminded Ohio small businesses that the application period for the Small Business Relief Grant and Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is now open.

The Small Business Relief Grant provides a $10,000 grant to small businesses with at least one but no more than 25 employees. The grant funding will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including mortgage or rent payments; utility payments; salaries, wages, or compensation for employees and contractors; business supplies or equipment; and other costs. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure the grants are spread throughout the state, $500,000 will be set aside for businesses in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. When a county’s allocation is depleted, businesses in that county will be eligible to receive grants from the remaining funds in the overall grant program.

The Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund provides $2,500 for those permit holders who haven’t been able to fully use their liquor permit. Businesses with an on-premise consumption permit through the Ohio Department of Commerce will be eligible to receive $2,500 per unique business location. Businesses need to have an active on-premise permit as of close of business on October 23, 2020.

More information can be found at BusinessHelp.Ohio.gov.

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 267,356 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,623 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 21,290 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,122 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

November 11

Governor DeWine Calls on Ohioans to Recommit to Safety Practices, Announces New Mask, Social Distancing Orders

In a statewide address to Ohioans Wednesday evening, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called on citizens to recommit to their individual efforts to prevent coronavirus spread as Ohio moves through its most intense, widespread, and dangerous surge of cases to date.

Ohio is currently facing a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions, with nearly 3,000 people in the hospital, including more than 700 people in the ICU. During the first week of November alone, 104 Ohioans infected with the coronavirus died.

“With this new wave of COVID-19, the onset of flu season, and an already-exhausted group of healthcare workers, there are serious concerns that there won’t be enough people to fully staff our healthcare facilities in the next few weeks,” said Governor DeWine. “If we don’t change this, Ohio won’t be able to provide appropriate care for COVID patients or for Ohioans who require other emergency care for things like accidents, strokes, and heart attacks. Hospitals will again be forced to postpone important, but less urgent, care.”

Although testing capacity in Ohio has nearly doubled, the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has increased almost four times. At the end of September, Ohio averaged under 1,000 new cases per day; this week, Ohio hit a record high of more than 6,500 new cases reported in a single 24-hour period.

“As we wait for the vaccine, which could come as soon as December, we have so much to protect,” said Governor DeWine. “What each Ohioan does in his or her own life impacts every citizen and every place we desperately want and need to keep open– our schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and businesses.”

To reinforce the necessity of wearing masks and slowing virus spread, Governor DeWine announced two forthcoming orders:

Revised Mask Order

Although most people and businesses have properly followed COVID-19 safety guidelines issued in Ohio’s July 23, 2020, mask order, others are not following the order.

To protect frontline workers and customers, the Ohio Department of Health will reissue Ohio’s mask order and add the following provisions:

  • Each store will be required to post a sign outlining face-covering requirements at all public entrances to the store;
  • Each store will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks; and
  • A new Retail Compliance Unit, comprised of agents led by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, will inspect to ensure compliance. A first violation will result in a written warning and a second violation will result in closure of the store for up to 24 hours.

New Social Gathering Order

Ohio’s April order that limits public events and private gatherings of more than 10 people is still in effect, however, there has been rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals.

To address the tragedies that have resulted from such events, the Ohio Department of Health will issue an order that will place significant new restrictions on these social activities. Specifically, open congregate areas will no longer be permitted to open, and everyone will be required to be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks.

Bars, restaurants, and fitness centers may remain open, but this will be reassessed one week from tomorrow for potential closure. 

“If the current trend continues and cases keep increasing, we will be forced to make these closures,” said Governor DeWine. “I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and owners, but these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus.”

For Governor DeWine’s entire address, visit ohiochannel.org or read his prepared remarks at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

 

Notes from Remington Road Group from November 11 Press Conference. 

Governor DeWine addressed Ohioans this evening at 5:30pm in regards to the COVID pandemic.  He implored Ohioans to wear a mask, maintain six feet, wash hands frequently, don’t have parties and get-togethers, and get adequate fresh air into your homes. The Governor said, “the truth is, that our local school won’t stay open if it can’t keep teachers in the classroom and bus drivers in the buses.”

Update on Ohio COVID Numbers:

  • 17 straight days of record cases
  • In the first week of October, 86 Ohioans died from COVID
  • During the first week of November, 104 Ohioans died
  • During the spring and summer surge, the most patients in hospitals was 1,100—last week we were at almost 2,000 COVID patients in our hospitals.  Today, one week, later—we are approaching 3,000.
  • At the end of September, Ohio averaged 1,000 cases a day and yesterday we reached our highest number of over 6,500 cases.  Today was the second highest at 5,900
  • Today, every single one of our counties has a high rate of virus spread, and rural areas are now being hit hard
  • Hospitals are functioning like they would be for flu season—but this upward trend will take an enormous toll on the healthcare system
  • We are in the midst of the third wave
  • Ohio is still in a State of Emergency 

General Numbers:

  • 267,356 cases
  • 21,290 hospitalizations
  • 5,623 deaths
  • 191,950 presumed recovered

Vaccine Update:

  • We know there is a promising vaccine from Pfizer
  • Ohio will be ready to get it out when we receive it
  • It will come in batches and Ohio’s first priority will be vulnerable populations and healthcare workers

New Mask Orders for Retail:

  • Employers will be required to ensure that employees and customers are wearing masks
  • Each store will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks
  • There will be a retail compliance effort put in place—the Retail Compliance Unit, comprised of agents led by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, will inspect to ensure compliance
  • Those not in compliance will get one written warning and the second non-compliance will result in closure of up to 24 hours

Existing Orders:

  • Existing orders remain in effect
  • The limit on 10 people in any meeting/event is still in effect—public and private

Banquets and Funeral, and Weddings:

  • “Despite this order, we have seen great tragedy associated with events.  And they are after the event when people congregate in open settings”
  • Open congregate areas can no longer be open—people must be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food and drinks—no dancing or games

Bars, Restaurants, and Fitness Centers:

  • Under the guidelines above
  • "If the current trends continue we will forced to close bars, restaurants, and fitness centers"
  • We will review one week from today

Colleges and Universities/K-12:

  • Thanked the colleges and universities who have agreed not to return to in-person classes
  • Our schools are doing well, but students are better off with remote learning.

Quotes During Speech:

  • Winston Churchill “when you’re through hell, keep going” 
  • Golden Rule: “treat others as you wish to be treated”
  • Martin Luther King once said, “Every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities" 

 

November 9

Unprecedented Spike in Hospital Admissions

This afternoon, Governor DeWine was joined by incoming Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association to discuss the status of hospital capacity in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge throughout the state.

There are currently over 2,500 hospitalizations statewide, up from 2,000 hospitalizations on Thursday. A total of 154 hospitalizations were reported in the last 24 hours alone.

"In Ohio, we are seeing an unprecedented spike in hospital utilization and it is impacting all areas of the state. While we are better prepared with personal protective equipment and physical capacity, what we are seeing now is an increasing demand on our staffing," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "If we don't control the spread of this virus, we won't be able to care for those who are acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent, care. We anticipate that this kind of shift could happen in a matter of weeks if trends don't change."

“The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more dire for Ohio as hospitalizations have escalated 350 percent in the past 50 days to 2,533 COVID patients in Ohio hospitals today,” said Mike Abrams, president and CEO, Ohio Hospital Association. “Our hospitals are capable of managing capacity needs, but we must stem the spread now. This steep climb creates a severe strain on our caregivers who are braving the frontline of this pandemic. We can stop this spread, and we call on Ohioans to join hospitals and caregivers to take action now and do the right thing to slow the spread.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio Hospital Association to develop a comprehensive statewide public health system to ensure that all Ohioans have access to quality care during the pandemic. As part of this process, the state was divided into three healthcare zones. Leaders of each zone provided an update on hospital capacity in their regions. 

ZONE 1

Of all hospitalizations in the state, more than 50 percent are in Zone 1, but there are currently enough hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), medication, and ventilators. Total beds utilized and intensive care beds utilized in Zone 1 currently stands at 70 to 75 percent. This zone, however, is seeing many caregivers becoming ill with COVID-19. At the Cleveland Clinic alone, there are currently 300 caregivers out due to the coronavirus. 

"It's not because they're catching COVID in the hospital. What we're seeing is they're catching it in the community," said Robert Wyllie, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "What we're asking everyone to do is double down. Now is the time to wear a mask and socially distance - if not to protect your family and friends, do it to protect the caregivers who protect COVID patients and other hospitalized patients."

ZONE 2

Last Monday, Zone 2 hit a milestone of 400 patients in the hospital, and by Friday, the number surpassed 500 patients. Today there are over 560 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Zone 2.

Because patients are normally admitted 7 to 14 days after symptoms arise, hospitals are expecting to see hospitalizations continue to increase for at least two weeks after COVID-19 cases peak which could impact non-COVID care.

"We need the citizens of Ohio do to the same things they did in the spring and summer - take seriously masking, distancing, washing hands, and especially avoiding large gatherings of people you don't live with where you can't control your environment and you can't protect yourself or loved ones from someone in that crowd who is asymptomatic positive," said Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

ZONE 3

Zone 3 has had an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the beginning of October. There are over 670 patients hospitalized today, as compared to 300 patients at the peak of the previous surge in July. In the greater-Cincinnati area, the positivity rate had been approximately 3 percent but is now standing at approximately 8 percent. 

In Zone 3, the growth of hospitalizations is doubling every three weeks. Right now, Zone 3 can accommodate the current capacity of patients, but if the doubling of cases continues to accelerate, this zone could exhaust resources and may have to defer non-COVID care. 

"If we do what we did in the past - adhering to social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands, and not expanding your personal bubble, we can bring the spread of this virus under control," said Richard Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP, and president and CEO of UC Health.

RURAL HOSPITALS

Ronda Lehman, president of Mercy Health, Lima region, also discussed the hospital capacity in their hospital system, which encompasses many rural communities. There is currently adequate capacity of PPE, ventilators, and hospital beds, however, hospitalizations are increasing. On October 5, the hospital system had 17 COVID-19 patients, and today they are treating 75 patients who are COVID-19 positive.

"This is a stark challenge for us because this is in addition to the normal fall flu and critical illness admissions, and it's not sustainable," said Lehman. "This is not a metro problem, this is a statewide and countrywide problem. Those in small communities should recognize that their behaviors do have a substantial impact to their neighbors, their local hospitals, the people they worship with, the people they go to school with, and the people they care about in their circles."

CURRENT CASE DATA

In total, there are 254,974 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 5,524 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 20,651 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,047 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

November 5

Record-Breaking Cases & Hospitalizations, Statewide High Incidence, New ODH Administrative Structure

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

RECORD-BREAKING CASES & HOSPITALIZATIONS

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio is once again breaking records in regard to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

  • Between yesterday and today, health officials have reported a total of 4,961 new positive coronavirus cases in Ohio, the highest number of new cases in a 24-hour period to date.
  • There are currently 2,075 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 which is a 55 percent increase in hospitalized patients compared to two weeks ago. 
  • Of the hospitalized patients, 541 people are in intensive care. The previous record for intensive care admissions was 533 in April. 

"This virus is flaring up, and we have to push it down - the economy depends on it," said Governor DeWine. "If the virus continues to aggressively spread, people will lose confidence in their ability to safely go to stores, restaurants, and other businesses. If we want to keep our economy moving, we must all live with this virus and we must all be more careful."

Governor DeWine stressed that the new record number of cases is not due to increased testing capacity in the state. Since September 24, the total number of tests in Ohio has increased by approximately 44 percent, but positive cases have increased 280 percent in the same time period. If a person is tested multiple times, they are only counted once.

STATEWIDE HIGH INCIDENCE 

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health revealed today that all 88 counties in Ohio are now considered "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"There have been so many cases in the past two weeks that the risk of catching this virus in every county of this state is very real and very concerning," said Governor DeWine. "Again, I ask everyone to recognize their personal responsibility in slowing the spread of this deadly disease. It's up to every citizen in Ohio to choose to slow the spread by wearing masks, distancing, and making overall smart decisions."

According to today's updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, 56 counties are currently rated as having a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 43 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, 86 percent of Ohioans are living in a Red Level 3 county. 

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.

NEW OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH STRUCTURE

Governor DeWine announced multiple key additions to the existing administration at the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). 

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: Dr. Vanderhoff previously served for more than a decade as a Senior Vice President and as the Chief Medical Officer at OhioHealth. He has years of experience leading large teams in successfully dealing with important healthcare issues in Ohio and prepared OhioHealth to deal with the threat of Ebola and the H1N1 flu pandemic.  

Director Stephanie McCloud: Director McCloud previously served as Governor DeWine's administrator of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, managing an agency of 1,800 colleagues and over $28 billion in assets. She has considerable experience in the area of mental health and addiction treatment which is a priority in Ohio's health improvement plan. 

Senior Deputy Lance Himes: Himes had previously served as the interim director of ODH where he has played an integral role in running and managing many aspects of the pandemic response operation. He will lead the coordination of the state’s vaccine distribution plan and will continue to work directly with Ohio’s local health commissioners.

Chief of Staff Kathleen Madden: Madden had previously served as Assistant Director at the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and will now play a key role in keeping ODH's pandemic and non-pandemic programs and operations on track. She will work to prioritize and resolve critical issues, provide oversight and guidance to ODH staff, and ensure that ODH funds are spent responsibly and strategically.

Other key members of the ongoing COVID-19 response who will continue their roles in assisting ODH are: 

Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John Harris, Ohio National Guard: Maj. Gen. Harris will continue work to ensure complex operations, such as COVID testing and contact tracing, are well-coordinated, monitored, and improved when necessary.  He will also work directly with Senior Deputy Himes on the planning and logistics of the forthcoming vaccine distribution program.  

Director Ursel McElroy, Ohio Department of Aging: Director McElroy will continue to direct virus prevention efforts for older adults in the community and in long-term settings, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  

Director Lori Criss, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services: Director Criss will continue to lead efforts to address the increasing mental health needs of citizens during the pandemic.

NEW OHIO BWC ADMINISTRATOR

Governor DeWine announced that John Logue, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation's (BWC) Chief of Strategic Direction, will become the new administrator of Ohio BWC effective on November 16.

Logue has worked for 26 years in the industry. Before returning to BWC in 2019, he most recently served as the vice president of client services for International Absence Management Company where he focused on Ohio workers’ compensation.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 235,170 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,461 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 20,015 people have been hospitalized, including 3,969 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

November 2

COVID-19 Economic Impact Update and Resources

Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted recently announced a package of more than $419.5 million in CARES Act funding to help Ohioans and up to $5 billion in dividends for Ohio employers to ease the continued financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

These opportunities and other resources available through the Office of Small Business Relief and Development can be found at businesshelp.ohio.gov.

CARES Funding: Applications Now Open

Small Business Relief Program: The package includes $125 million in CARES Act funding to provide grants to small businesses with no more than 25 employees. The grant funding will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including mortgage or rent payments; utility payments; salaries, wages, or compensation for employees and contractors; business supplies or equipment; and other costs. The application for the Small Business Relief Program is now available at businesshelp.ohio.gov.

Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund: The administration will also designate $37.5 million of CARES Act funding for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund. This fund will be available for Ohio restaurants and bars struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and limited in the full use of their liquor permit.

Businesses with an on-premise consumption permit will be eligible to receive $2,500 per unique business location.  Businesses need to have an active on-premise permit as of close of business October 23, 2020.  Starting today, permit holders can apply for assistance at  businesshelp.ohio.gov.

Home Relief Grant: The administration is allocating $50 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to 47 Community Action Agencies to provide rent, mortgage, and water and/or sewer assistance to Ohioans in need. This assistance will help Ohioans pay outstanding balances back to April 1, 2020.

Ohio households behind on their bills with an annual income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines will be eligible for assistance. For a family of four, that is an annual income up to $52,400. Starting today, Ohioans can apply for assistance through their local Community Action Agency. A list of agencies can be found at businesshelp.ohio.gov.

BWC Dividends

Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted requested that 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. BWC’s Board of Directors will meet today, Monday, November 2, 2020 to vote on this special request. 

If approved by BWC’s Board of Directors, it would bring the total dividend dollars for employers this year to nearly $8 billion. 

The $5 billion dividend would be BWC's third dividend of more than $1 billion this year, and the largest one-time dividend ever issued by the BWC. BWC distributed $1.54 billion in April and $1.34 billion in October. At $5 billion, this dividend is approximately four times the total premiums BWC collected from its employer members in policy year 2019.

 

October 29

Record-Breaking Cases, COVID Defense Teams

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

RECORD-BREAKING CASES

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio has now hit a record number of cases reported in a single 24-hour period. Between yesterday and today, health officials have 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 the past 24 hours, 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 today 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. 

LEARNING AID 

Governor DeWine announced today 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.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 208,937 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,275 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 18,800 people have been hospitalized, including 3,816 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

October 28

Governor DeWine Requests BWC Send $5 Billion Dividend to Ohio Employers

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted today 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. 

“As Ohio businesses confront the economic challenges of a COVID world, this kind of financial relief can be the difference between closing and staying open,” Lt. Governor Husted said. “We don’t want Ohio businesses and the jobs they create to be a casualty of the pandemic.”

The $5 billion dividend would be BWC's third dividend of more than $1 billion this year, and the largest one-time dividend ever issued by the BWC. BWC distributed $1.54 billion in April and $1.34 billion in October. At $5 billion, this dividend is approximately four times the total premiums BWC collected from its employer members in policy year 2019.

“We’ve never issued three dividends in the same year, let alone any for this much, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Even so, the State Insurance Fund is well positioned to cover our injured workers for years to come.”

Despite the pandemic, BWC remains in a strong fiscal position from healthy investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management. 

Private and public employers in Franklin County would receive approximately $559 million, followed by Cuyahoga County at $528 million. The employer in line for the single largest dividend check in the state is the city of Columbus at nearly $64 million.

BWC’s Board of Directors is tentatively scheduled to vote on the request during a special meeting on Monday, November 2, 2020.  Please check bwc.ohio.gov to confirm Board details.

Funded by employer premiums, BWC provides workers’ compensation insurance to approximately 245,000 private employers, and 4,000 public employers, such as cities, counties, and schools.

 

October 27

Updated County Risk Levels, Election Update

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today 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.

  • Wear a mask when you are out in public, when you go to a store, and when you are with friends.
  • Keep your distance.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Keep your building well-ventilated. 

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.

ELECTION UPDATE

Governor DeWine was joined by Secretary of State Frank LaRose today 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

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 202,740 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,239 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 18,433 people have been hospitalized, including 3,771 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

October 23

Governor DeWine Announces CARES Act Funding to Support Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Ohioans Impacted by COVID-19

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced that the administration, in partnership with the General Assembly, is developing a package of more than $419.5 million CARES Act funding to help Ohioans. This package includes funding for small businesses, restaurants and bars, hospitals, higher education, arts, nonprofits, and low-income Ohioans impacted financially by the pandemic.

“We know that Ohioans are hurting, and the needs are great. We must do what we can to help them through this crisis,” said Governor DeWine. “Providing financial support to small businesses, the arts, and nonprofits will help them keep the doors open and Ohioans employed. For Ohioans in need, this assistance will help them stay in their homes, which can make all the difference.”

The package is be taken to the State Controlling Board for approval on Monday, October 26.

The package includes $125 million in CARES Act funding to provide grants to small businesses with no more than 25 employees. The grant funding will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including mortgage or rent payments; utility payments; salaries, wages, or compensation for employees and contractors; business supplies or equipment; and other costs. The application for the Small Business Relief Program will be available November 2, 2020 at businesshelp.ohio.gov.

“This is an incredibly trying time for small businesses. Many of them are struggling to keep the doors open and the lights on, and we need to help them get through this difficult time,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “I know from my discussions with small businesses around the state that the package we are announcing today will absolutely save businesses and jobs.”

With this package, the administration also is allocating $50 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to 47 Community Action Agencies to provide rent, mortgage, and water and/or sewer assistance to Ohioans in need. This assistance will help Ohioans pay outstanding balances back to April 1, 2020.

Ohio households behind on their bills with an annual income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines will be eligible for assistance. For a family of four, that is an annual income up to $52,400. Starting November 2, 2020, Ohioans will be able to apply for assistance through their local Community Action Agency. A list of agencies can be found at businesshelp.ohio.gov.

The administration will also designate $37.5 million of CARES Act funding for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund. This fund will be available for Ohio restaurants and bars struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and limited in the full use of their liquor permit.

Businesses with an on-premise consumption permit will be eligible to receive $2,500 per unique business location.  Businesses need to have an active on-premise permit as of close of business October 23, 2020.  Starting November 2, permit holders will be able to apply for assistance at  businesshelp.ohio.gov.

Additionally, the package allocates $62 million in CARES Act funding for rural and critical access hospitals as the response continues for the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding may be applied to additional costs associated with the ongoing pandemic, including various safety measures, and the purchase of critical PPE for first responders.

“We are seeing a record-breaking number of hospitalizations throughout Ohio,” said Governor DeWine. “This is deeply concerning as we are nearing the winter season. COVID-19 is not slowing down, and continues to hit our rural communities hard.”

It also includes $100 million in CARES Act funding for higher education. This funding will support critical COVID-19-related services provided at Ohio’s universities and colleges, including expanding testing for students, faculty, and staff, and mental health services.   

“Our colleges and universities have done a great job at promoting the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff this fall,” said Governor DeWine. “We know that there is a greater need for mental health services, and this funding may be put towards expanding access to those services on campuses.”

In addition, $25 million CARES Act funding will be designated for nonprofits, and $20 million to support Ohio’s world-class arts organizations. These funds will be used for costs incurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, more than $2.1 billion Coronavirus Relief Funds have been distributed to local governments, childcare, PPE, broadband access, and other critical areas in need of financial assistance. 

Today's announcement is supported by several Ohio organizations, including NFIB, Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, Ohio Bankers League, and others.  All quotes of support can be found on governor.ohio.gov. 

 

Take This Seriously and Don't Let Up

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY 

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 38 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 29 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, 92.8 percent of Ohioans are living in a county that is Red Level 3 and/or high incidence. Only 1 percent of Ohioans live in a Yellow Level 1 county.

"For my fellow Ohioans who have felt that until now this virus really did not impact their lives or their families and that they would react when the situation got really serious - I say to them that the time is now. Now is the time to take this seriously," said Governor DeWine. "We need you. We need you to be fully engaged in this battle. The virus is spreading fast and has penetrated deeply into virtually every county in the state. We all must fight back."

Three counties are currently on Ohio's Watch List, meaning that they are approaching Purple Level 4: Clark, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton counties.

In the past 24 hours, an additional 2,425 new COVID-19 cases have been reported, the highest number of new cases in any 24-day reporting period since the start of the pandemic. Of the top 10 days with the most newly reported cases, eight have occurred in the past nine days, and nine have occurred in October.

According to local health departments across the state, spread is primarily occurring during social and family gatherings. Many counties are also seeing a sustained increase in hospitalizations.

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.

DON'T LET UP

Governor DeWine unveiled a new advertisement that will begin airing across the state to serve as a visual reminder of how quickly COVID-19 can domino out of control. 

FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie virtually joined today's public briefing to discuss his recent diagnosis with COVID-19. Governor Christie spent a week in ICU fighting the disease.

Governor Christie said, in part:  

"I thought I was safe, and I was wrong. I took my mask off, and I left it off, but only for the time that I was inside the White House gates. Three days later I began to feel what I call the freight train of symptoms that happen with COVID-19 - fever, headaches, incredible body aches, chills, sweats, and it overcame me in a period of 24 hours. I had gone from feeling fine and doing my work on a Friday afternoon to by Saturday at 1:00 being admitted to the hospital and taken immediately to the intensive care unit where I stayed for the next six and a half days.

"I want everyone to understand that this is one of the most unpredictable, random, and brutal viruses you'll ever see. My message to the people of Ohio and the people of this country is that there is no place to hide from this virus if you are not going to take the common-sense steps recommended to us: wear a mask when you're outside, remain socially distant from people, no big crowds, and wash your hands frequently.

"I just want to urge as many people as I can, don't let your guard down. It's not worth it. I made a huge mistake by taking that mask off. It's something I hope no other Americans have to go through. 

"One of the things I think people don't understand about this disease - because it's so random and because so little is understood - is that when you're there and going through it, the psychological effect it has on you is significant. You start to think about life and death. It's like getting beaten up from the inside out, and that combination of physical and psychological stress - it's unique in my life and pretty extraordinary.

"I know how tired everyone is of this, I felt it myself, but as tired as you are of strapping that mask on or going to the sink and washing those hands again - you will take those days in a heartbeat compared to getting this disease."

Governor Christie's full interview is available on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page.

#DaytonMASKots

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the launch of the “Dayton MASKots” campaign facilitated through the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce to slow the spread of the coronavirus while supporting Ohio sports.

This campaign challenges team mascots around the region and state to “mask up” and post a picture of their mascot with a mask on. This could be for a K-12 school, college or university, or other sports team.

Ohioans can use the hashtag #DaytonMASKots to join this effort.

APPRENTICEOHIO

The Lt. Governor also announced that Ohio recently received two RAPIDS apprenticeship rankings: number four in the U.S. for number of apprentices and number one among the 28 states with state apprenticeship systems.

Ohio offers apprenticeship opportunities in traditional fields such as construction and manufacturing and in non-traditional apprenticeship fields such as IT and healthcare. ApprenticeOhio programs provide full-time work during the training period as well as decent wages – so Ohioans can earn while they learn.

More information can be found at Apprentice.Ohio.gov.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 190,430 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,161 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 17,682 people have been hospitalized, including 3,657 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

October 20

Record-Breaking Hospitalizations, $1.3 Billion for Ohio Businesses, Spread from Social Gatherings

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

RECORD-BREAKING HOSPITALIZATIONS

Governor DeWine announced today that hospitals across Ohio are currently treating 1,221 COVID-19 patients which is the most hospitalized patients at one time since the start of the pandemic. A total of 216 of these hospitalizations were reported in the past 24 hours which is the highest number of hospitalizations reported in a single day and more than 50 hospitalizations more than the previous high in mid-July. 

Ohio is also recording an increase in ICU admissions and ventilator utilization. 

"So far, Ohio's hospitals still have adequate remaining capacity to care for everyone who is sick, but our hospitalizations are already breaking records, and we are not seeing any signs of Ohio's case numbers slowing down," said Governor DeWine. "If we don’t buckle down, wear our masks, and take care of each other, I am very concerned that our hospitals will begin to fill up. We pushed this virus down before, and it's up to all of us to do it again."

Ohio also reported 2,015 new COVID-19 cases since yesterday. Sixty-nine of Ohio's 88 counties have a high incidence of COVID-19 spread, meaning their rate of cases is more than 100 cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks. 

SOCIAL GATHERINGS

The White House Coronavirus Task Force strongly recommends that Ohioans limit gatherings with family and friends to prevent the virus from spreading to those most at risk of complications. The recommendation follows the increase in community spread in Ohio initiated by small social gatherings.

"It’s the same thing I’m hearing when I speak with county health commissioners. They are seeing the most spread in Ohio from informal gatherings," said Governor DeWine. "We can’t let our guard down; we must keep our masks on."

Governor DeWine also urged caution for sports fans who gather this weekend to watch the Ohio State, Browns, and Bengals football games. 

$1.3 BILLION GOING TO OHIO BUSINESSES

Dividend checks from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will be mailed to employers beginning this week.  The dividend amount totals approximately $1.3 billion.

The money is being given back to employers in response to Governor DeWine's request in August that the Ohio BWC Board of Directors approve a second dividend to provide financial support for public and private employers impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

These checks will be mailed to employers throughout the end of October. 

A wide-ranging program to address the needs of struggling Ohioans, including funding for rent, mortgages, and water and sewer utility bills, as well as funding for small businesses and nonprofits, will be announced in the near future. 

OHSAA UPDATE

Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided an update from the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) on the status of high school fall sports.

OHSAA Observers have attended 458 sites, including 600 football games, at least 50 volleyball matches, and at least 50 soccer matches over the course of eight weeks.

The OHSAA provides reports to the schools following the competitions to serve as an educational opportunity for the school to improve.

LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY DASHBOARD

Ohio's new long-term care facility dashboard is now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The new dashboard outlines visitation information at nursing facilities across the state. Those with loved ones in a nursing facility can search for information by county or facility to find information on the types of visits that are offered and when they are permitted. Nursing facilities were permitted to allow indoor visitations beginning October 12. 

Details regarding the visitation guidelines for Ohio’s intermediate care facilities can be found in a public health order issued on September 24. Visitation at intermediate care facilities was permitted to resume on September 28.

VACCINE PROVIDER REGISTRATION

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has submitted its Interim Draft COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The plan is a framework on how Ohio will proceed once a vaccine is available. The plan will be available tomorrow at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

The Ohio Department of Health will also be launching a new registration tool for health care providers who would like to eventually administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers, such as local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and nursing facilities, will be notified soon with instructions about how they can register.

TEST RESULT REPORTING

The Ohio Department of Health has developed a technology solution to allow their systems to track negative test results. In response, Interim Director of Health Lance Himes today amended a directive that now requires all labs to start sharing all positive, negative, inconclusive, and invalid test results related to COVID-19 tests with the Ohio Department of Health.

Previously, labs were reporting positive COVID-19 results at the individual level and as an aggregate count for all other test results.  

"Adding these categories will allow us to gather additional data for a more complete picture of how COVID is spreading in our communities," said Governor DeWine. This will also allow us to provide positivity data by county in the coming weeks."

FLU SHOTS
Governor DeWine once again urged Ohio citizens to get their flu shots this year.  A person can become infected with both the flu virus and coronavirus at the same time.

If you become ill this season, many healthcare providers will test for both flu and COVID-19 to get a proper diagnosis. While the symptoms can be similar, COVID-19 is more serious, its symptoms last longer, those hospitalized tend to have longer hospital stays, and the virus has a higher mortality rate. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 185,639 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,083 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 17,388 people have been hospitalized, including 3,597 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

October 15

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed the Amended Director’s Order on the Opening of Adult Day Services and Senior Centers. Adult day services and senior centers were permitted to reopen September 21, 2020. This order makes two changes – it lifts the requirement for facilities to test all participants and staff, and clarifies that all participants must wear facial coverings.

 

Updated County Risk Levels, Increased Spread in Cases

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 29 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3):

Adams, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Highland, Lawrence, Licking, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Stark, Summit, Scioto, Union, and Warren

“We have 70 counties that are either red or high incidence. That’s 10 million Ohioans or 85% of the population, living in an area with a high risk of community transmission,” Governor DeWine said.

Governor DeWine reviewed the seven indicators of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which assess the degree of the virus’ spread in each county. The seven indicators are:

  • Indicator 1: New cases per capita
  • Indicator 2: Sustained increase in new cases
  • Indicator 3: Proportion of cases not in congregate setting
  • Indicator 4: Sustained increase in Emergency Department visits for COVID-like illness
  • Indicator 5: Sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness
  • Indicator 6: Sustained increase in new COVID hospital admissions
  • Indicator 7: Intensive Care Unit bed occupancy

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.

INCREASED SPREAD IN CASES

Governor DeWine also announced the state’s positivity rate was 5.4% and the seven-day average was 4.2%. This is up from September when the positivity rate was 2.7%. He reported that today Ohio has 1,042 COVID inpatients in hospitals, which is a significant increase from the 563 patients on September 20, 2020.

Governor DeWine spoke with Dr. Nick Dreher, medical director of the Population Health Innovation Institute at MetroHealth System, and Dr. David Margolius, division director of internal medicine at MetroHealth System about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Ohio.

Dr. Margolius told Ohioans that if they are planning to spend time with family and friends, they need to do it safely, by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.  Dr. Dreher reminded Ohioans that they know how to fight the spread of COVID-19 and need to continue following the proper prevention methods to avoid stress on Ohio’s hospital systems.

“The only way, the only way we can beat this virus back is to follow the prevention methods we have been talking about since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. “Stay home when you are sick. Social distance. Wear a mask. Always.”

CENSUS REMINDER

Lt. Governor Husted also reminded Ohioans that today is the last day to respond to the 2020 Census. The Census determines the spending of $675 Billion in federal funds and what portion of that funding comes back to Ohio for schools, hospitals, public safety, roads, and bridges.

Individuals can respond online at 2020Census.gov or by phone: In English – 844-330-2020 or in Spanish – 844-468-2020.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 175,843 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,038 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,824 people have been hospitalized, including 3,507 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page.

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

 

October 13

Increasing Cases, Childhood Vaccinations, Lab Capacity Dashboard, BinaxNOW Testing Plan

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

INCREASING CASES

Governor DeWine today cautioned that the continuing increase in COVID-19 cases indicates that significant numbers of infections are likely this winter unless citizens take steps to mitigate and control the spread of the virus. 

"Although a vaccine is on the way in the future, we can't control the timetable of the development of a vaccine - but we can control how much this flares up until then," said Governor DeWine. "We have avoided the large outbreaks that other countries and other states have seen, and so far, the combined efforts of Ohioans have kept the virus in check. We can't let our guards down now. We need to continue taking basic safety measures of wearing masks, keeping distance, and avoiding large gatherings."

In the last seven days, Ohio COVID-19 cases have averaged 1,475 cases per day by report date as compared to an average of approximately 1,000 cases per day only two weeks ago. Ohio's current positivity rate is 4.1 percent as compared to 2.7 percent on September 23 and 24. A total of 51 counties are considered high incidence and/or Alert Level 3 on Ohio's Public Health Advisory System. 

A new public service announcement featuring former Ohio State coaches Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer encourages everyone to stay in the game and to stick to the game plan. 

CHILDHOOD VACCINES

In Ohio and across the country, there has been a decrease in vaccinations administered to protect against diseases like measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, and polio, and today Governor DeWine today encouraged parents not to delay their children's well-visit vaccinations. 

"While we do not have a vaccine yet for COVID-19, we can prevent more than a dozen other diseases from harming our children and our communities," said Governor DeWine. "It is critical that Ohioans and providers remain vigilant about keeping children up to date on these vaccines."

In the coming days, the Ohio Department of Medicaid will launch several initiatives to encourage childhood immunizations among its members.  These efforts will be aimed at increasing safe, convenient access to vaccinations by providing mobile vaccination clinics and reducing administrative barriers for providers.

Governor DeWine also unveiled a new public service announcement that stresses the importance of childhood vaccines.

LAB CAPACITY DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine today announced the creation of a new Lab Capacity Dashboard to help pharmacists, nursing homes, colleges and universities, employers, and others administering COVID-19 tests find a lab to run their samples. This new resource will help connect groups that are testing with available labs in order to ease turnaround times and inform Ohioans of their COVID-19 status.

The new dashboard provides self-reported information about labs that can run tests, including hours of operation, types of tests they accept, estimated turn-around time, and locations. Labs with available capacity can sign up on the website to be included in this dashboard.

BINAX-NOW TESTING PLAN

Governor DeWine today discussed plans for Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen screening tests that the federal government is providing to Ohio.

This week, Ohio is deploying thousands of these screening tests to colleges and universities to help them implement proactive screening plans. Next week, Ohio will begin sending tens of thousands of screening tests to nursing homes for both routine and outbreak testing requirements. 

Governor DeWine emphasized that lab-based PCR tests are still considered the “gold standard” test that provides the most accurate results, and antigen tests can have false positives and false negatives.

"The opportunity to test more broadly and more often make this an important step forward in our fight against COVID-19 spread, even with the lower sensitivity and specificity of these tests," said Governor DeWine. "We do have protocols to follow up on results that are most likely to be false, but we need to be aware that this is part of testing at this scale."  

Governor DeWine also cautioned that testing should not be considered a substitute for precautions such as wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.  

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 161,678 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,017 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,565 people have been hospitalized, including 3,447 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

October 8

Updated County Risk Levels, Nursing Homes Visitation Order, Women's Enterprise Certification

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s press conference was held in Marion, Ohio at the home of President Warren G. Harding.

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today 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.

H2OHIO UPDATE

Prior to today’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

Beginning tomorrow, the Ohio Department Administrative Services (DAS) will launch 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 today 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

Donate Life Ohio will be holding Ohio’s first-ever online donor registration drive today.  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.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 164,262 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,983 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,200 people have been hospitalized, including 3,395 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

October 6

Hospital Admissions, Quarantine Study, PPE Manufacturing

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS

Governor DeWine noted today 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. 

CONTINUED PRECAUTIONS

Governor DeWine today 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."

QUARANTINE STUDY

Governor DeWine announced today 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.

PPE MANUFACTURING

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.  

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 161,299 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,947 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,972 people have been hospitalized, including 3,367 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

October 1

September Summary, Prevalence Testing, Updated Risk Levels, Worker Upskilling

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 11 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3): Ashland, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Putnam, Richland, and Scioto. Richland County is on the borderline of a Level 4 public emergency with severe exposure and spread.

"We have 11 red counties, which is more than we’ve seen at any point in September," said Governor DeWine. "Although many Ohioans are working hard to keep this virus in check, unfortunately, we are seeing a rebound in some areas of the state. This pandemic isn't over, so please continue to stay home if you're sick, wear a mask when you're out, and keep 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.

SEPTEMBER SUMMARY

Governor DeWine today released new data summarizing cases, hospitalizations, and deaths reported in Ohio's 88 counties so far in September. The counties are ranked by cases per 100,000 people. 

WORKER UPSKILLING

Lt. Governor Husted announced the results of the August 2020 TechCred Application period, which set a record in approving 4,468 credentials through 288 Ohio companies. So far, a total of 983 Ohio employers have been approved for reimbursement, which will yield as many as 11,941 technology-focused credentials for Ohioans. Prior to their election, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted promised to fund the completion of at least 10,000 micro-degrees per year – a commitment that has been met through this latest round.

PREVALENCE TESTING

Lt. Governor Husted also held an on-air discussion with Dr. Abby Norris Turner of Ohio State University. Dr. Norris Turner described the prevalence testing Ohio State conducted on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health in order to assess how many Ohioans have already contracted COVID-19. The study was conducted over 20 days in July 2020 and included a sample of 727 adults. The study showed that approximately .9 percent of Ohioans were likely infected with COVID-19 during the study, and approximately 1.5 percent had prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies during the study period in July. You will soon be able to access a summary of the study at coronavirus.ohio.gov and viewing the Dashboard Overview page.

WI-FI HOTSPOTS

Lt. Governor Husted thanked the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio for coordinating efforts between Facebook and T-Mobile that will provide Wi-Fi hotspots to libraries in Southeast Ohio. These internet-enabled devices will be available to patrons to check out in the same way they would borrow a library book or film. The effort aims to give opportunities for at-home internet usage for those who do not have reliable access to broadband. Facebook donated the devices at no charge and paid for 6 months of unlimited network usage on the T-Mobile network. T-Mobile will fund an additional 6 months of connectivity for the devices as well as help get the hotspots ready for use and provide ongoing technical support.

LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE ELITE PROGRAM

Lt. Governor Husted also recognized Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), Fifth-Third Bank, and JobsOhio for offering financial support so 10 companies will be able to participate in the London Stock Exchange ELITE program. ELITE will work with each of these business owners to develop clear, actionable plans around preparing for future growth, developing world-class strategy and operational functions, and accessing regional and global capital markets.

The London Stock Exchange’s ELITE Program is opening their first headquarters in the Americas in Cleveland, Ohio, which Lt. Governor Husted announced while on a business development mission to the United Kingdom in 2019.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 155,314 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,817 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,606 people have been hospitalized, including 3,297 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 29

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WASTEWATER TESTING

Governor DeWine provided an update today on the Ohio Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network which tests wastewater for gene fragments of COVID-19. 

Those infected with COVID-19 begin to shed the virus early in their infection, and a significant, sustained increase in gene fragments found in wastewater can be an early warning sign of a pending rise in COVID-19 cases in a specific area. The value of this information is that gives communities an opportunity to act proactively to prevent outbreaks.

Since the launch of the monitoring program, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has notified health authorities in six communities of a sustained increase in gene fragments found in their wastewater: Dayton, Columbus, Akron, Oregon, Sandusky, and Mansfield. 

ODH is currently monitoring 36 sites across the state and an additional 25 sites will be added during the coming month. Communities found with a sustained increase in gene fragments are offered testing and contact tracing assistance.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), in partnership with Ohio State University, has also begun monitoring wastewater at Ohio's prisons to prevent spread among staff and inmates. A sustained increase in COVID-19 gene fragments in a prison's wastewater will trigger a series of actions within the prison to prevent spread, including the testing of all staff. Staff members working in prisons free of COVID-19 will have access to on-site voluntary testing.

OHIO MEDICAID OVERHAUL

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Medicaid will open a new application for businesses interested in providing managed care plans for children and adults within the Medicaid program. The request for proposals is part of a new vision for Ohio’s Medicaid program that focuses on people - not just the business of managed care.  

"Since coming into office in January of 2019, my administration has been evaluating our Medicaid program to develop a vision of a better, healthier, and more productive state," said Governor DeWine. "With input from Ohioans covered by Medicaid, physicians, hospitals, health care providers, and managed care plans, this will be the first major overhaul of Medicaid in 15 years." 

Medicaid’s new program will focus on improving care for children with complex needs, emphasizing personalized care experience, improving wellness and health outcomes, and increasing transparency and accountability across managed care. 

A second managed care application will be issued later this fall to specifically serve children who have complex behavioral health needs. 

Changes to Ohio’s managed care plans will not disrupt Ohioans' coverage or access to care.

IMAP

Lt. Governor Husted, who serves as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, announced today that Ohioans can now access training at no cost through 12 training providers under the Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP).

Following the July application period, 12 training providers including community colleges, universities, Ohio technical centers, private providers, and non-profits received awards through IMAP. These providers will offer training for 71 short-term, industry-recognized, and technology-focused credentials to help upskill Ohioans for the increasingly tech-infused economy. Through IMAP, up to 1,694 Ohioans have the opportunity to earn a credential at no cost to them.

Ohioans who are low income, partially unemployed, or totally unemployed can visit the IMAP landing page at IMAP.Development.Ohio.gov to work directly with the awarded training provider of their choice to enroll in the training program that works best for them. The IMAP landing page lists the eligible training providers and the credentials Ohioans can earn under the program, along with examples of jobs each credential can help an individual obtain.

Ohio businesses interested in connecting with the Ohioans earning these credentials can contact the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation at Workforce@OWT.Ohio.gov.

FAFSA REMINDER

The Lt Governor also reminded Ohioans that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – also known as FAFSA - opens on October 1. All students, high school seniors, current students, and adults interested in attending or returning to college can complete the FAFSA. Each year, Ohio families miss out on available financial aid because they don’t complete the FAFSA.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 152,907 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,783 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,413 people have been hospitalized, including 3,274 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 25

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order removing the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

 

September 24

Higher Education Screening, Indoor Visitation, Sports Order Modification 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that nine counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Ashland, Butler, Delaware, Mercer, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam, Scioto, and Stark.

A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and Portage County dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

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.

HIGHER EDUCATION SCREENING

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio's ResponsibleRestart guidelines for higher education will now include a recommendation that all residential colleges and universities regularly test a sample population of asymptomatic students.  

"Some schools are already doing this, and screening asymptomatic students really gives school leaders a good idea about virus spread on their campuses," said Governor DeWine. "Our expectation is that colleges and universities will screen at least 3 percent of their at-risk population on a regular basis." 

The updated ResponsibleRestart Ohio guidance will be posted to coronavirus.ohio.gov in the next few days. 

INDOOR VISITATION

Governor DeWine announced two new health orders that will allow for indoor visitation at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities in Ohio.

Intermediate Care Facilities:

The Ohio Department of Health today issued the Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and to Permit Visitation. Intermediate care facilities for Ohioans with developmental disabilities can resume indoor visitation beginning on Monday, September 28, if safety standards outlined in the order are met. 

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can begin allowing indoor visitation on Monday, October 12. This date was selected to allow adequate time for the facilities to prepare their physical plants, adjust staffing levels, update visitation policies, and communicate expectations with residents and families. 

Indoor visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities should only resume if certain safety standards are met. These standards will be outlined in a forthcoming public health order.

When visitation resumes, a Long-Term Care Facility Dashboard will be added to the COVID-19 data dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov where users can access facility-specific visitation information.

SPORTS ORDER MODIFICATION

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been removed from the current sports order, which will be available soon on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

This change comes over a month after the most recent guidelines were published with evidence showing that events have gone on without any noticeable increase in spread.

OHIO NATIONAL GUARD - PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Following a request from authorities in Cleveland, Governor DeWine today issued a proclamation to activate approximately 300 members of the Ohio National Guard to assist the Cleveland Police Department during the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday.

The deployed National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be activated as part of the National Guard Response Force and will assist police in areas such as traffic control, site security, and critical infrastructure protection.

The Ohio National Guard has provided support for similar events in the past, including the Republican National Convention in 2016 and several presidential inaugurations.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 147,744 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,715 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,051 people have been hospitalized, including 3,228 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 23

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order to reopen self-serve food stations has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

September 22

Demographic Dashboard, Contact Tracing, Mask Donation

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today gave the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

DEMOGRAPHIC DASHBOARD

Governor DeWine today unveiled a new case demographics dashboard on coronavirus.ohio.gov

The new dashboard gives citizens access to COVID-19 case data by race or ethnicity. The data can be broken down by age and county and compared to the overall Ohio population.

"Improving data collection and reporting, as well as creating a publicly-available dashboard, were recommendations from the COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force," said Governor DeWine. "This dashboard will help better track health inequities and disparities, and we believe this data will also help put critical decisions into context for policymakers."

CONTRACT TRACING

Governor DeWine today encouraged Ohioans to answer the call if contacted by a contact tracer. 

Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by notifying people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and advising them to monitor their health for signs and symptoms; helping those who may have been exposed get tested; asking people to self-isolate or self-quarantine if appropriate; helping people identify the resources they need to safely stay at home.

Contact tracers will not disclose a person's identity to their contacts, however, those who test positive will be encouraged to notify those they've been in contact with so that these individuals also respond to contract tracers and begin to isolate.

FACE MASK DONATION

Lt. Governor Husted announced that Ford is donating 2 million medical grade face masks to the state of Ohio for healthcare providers, first responders, underserved populations, and senior living communities. The donation is part of the Ford Fund’s commitment of 100 million medical-grade face masks through 2021.

The company, currently manufacturing 2.5 million medical-grade masks a week for its employees and at-risk communities, is growing the number of mask-making machines by mid- to late-October to increase production and deliver on its goal. Ohio’s Department of Administrative Services and Development Services Agency have partnered with JobsOhio to work with the Ford Government Relations Team, as well as many others, to secure lifesaving personal protective equipment since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OHIO BENEFITS 

On Monday, September 14, 2020, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services sent voter registration forms to 59,000 individuals who previously requested these forms through the Ohio Benefits system but had not yet received them due to a system error.

Ohio Benefits provides online services for Ohioans who receive benefits through programs within Ohio Medicaid and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  Pursuant to legal requirements, Ohio Benefits offers users an opportunity to receive a voter registration form at their request.

Of the 59,000 Ohioans affected by the error, a review determined that approximately 18,900 were already registered to vote, 7,500 received voter registration forms from Ohio Benefits through other transactions, and 32,400 had not yet received a form at the time of the review.

The deadline to register to vote is October 5, 2020. Citizens can register online at VoteOhio.gov.  

SMALL BUSINESS WEEK

Lt. Governor Husted also recognized National Small Business Week, which celebrates America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Ohio is home to more than 965,000 small businesses that account for 99.6 percent of the businesses in the state. Together they employ 2.2 million people, which is 45 percent of Ohio’s total employees. Additionally, small businesses created more than 44,000 jobs in 2019.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 145,850 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,635 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,899 people have been hospitalized, including 3,210 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 17

Updated County Risk Levels, New Data Dashboards, Response Guide for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers, Lost Wages Assistance, and Halloween Guidance

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that five counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Portage and Putnam. 

A total of 69 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and one county, Preble, dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

In addition to the five Level 3 counties listed above, five additional counties meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of high incidence: Athens, Delaware, Greene, Harrison, and Pickaway. Although these counties do not meet enough indicators to trigger a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, these counties have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks which could lead to rapid virus transmission if steps are not taken to slow the spread. 

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.

NEW DATA DASHBOARDS

Governor DeWine announced the state has launched the Schools Dashboard and the Children’s Dashboard to provide school districts and parents the best information to make decisions about their child’s education and social interactions. The Schools Dashboard will show new and cumulative COVID cases reported to schools by parents/guardians and staff. The data can be sorted by county or school district and includes students and staff. Schools are required to report cases to their assigned Local Health Department who then report to the Ohio Department of Health.

The Children’s Dashboard, developed in consultation with the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, includes information about cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 among children aged 0-17 in Ohio by selected demographics and county of residence. Both dashboards are available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

FLU SHOT REMINDER

Governor DeWine announced that the state of Ohio has its first, documented case of the flu in Putnam County. He reminded Ohioans of the importance of getting a flu shot this year to reduce the spread of the flu and its impact on our hospital systems. While it doesn’t protect you from COVID-19, it does provide another layer of protection to keep yourself, your family, friends and communities healthy.

Those who are elderly and need help getting to their physician's office can contact their local Area Agency on Aging at 866-243-5678 to access transportation resources and other services.

Anyone without a primary healthcare provider can visit vaccinefinder.org to find nearby pharmacies and other healthcare locations offering the flu vaccine.

RAPID RESPONSE GUIDE FOR MIGRANT AND SEASONAL FARMWORKERS

Governor DeWine announced that the state is releasing the Rapid Response Guide for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers. This guide will support local health districts in developing culturally appropriate plans to respond to outbreaks in the migrant and seasonal farmworker communities. A copy of the guide will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Health is awarding $2.6 million in CARES Act funding to agricultural camp operators to improve the health and safety of migrant workers worksites and camps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The improvements will focus on reducing housing density, installing touchless equipment, partitions, and hand washing stations. The Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services are distributing face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaner, and digital forehead thermometers to workers and operators.

CORONAVIRUS WASTEWATER SURVEILLANCE NETWORK

Governor DeWine also provided an update on Ohio’s Coronavirus Wastewater Surveillance Network. Since mid-July the network has been monitoring income waste at wastewater treatment plants around the state to test for gene fragments of COVID-19. Ohio is currently testing in more than 30 cities across the state and will expand testing to more than 50 locations in the next month. The state will continue to closely monitor the wastewater data and ensure communities are aware of trending increases in gene copies to assist with quick response and prevent further spread of disease. More information about the program can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

HALLOWEEN

Governor DeWine reminded parents that Halloween activities will be different this year than in years past. He encouraged parents and children to wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid large groups, and to stay home if sick. Final decisions on whether to hold or participate in trick-or-treating or other events should be made by local communities, individuals, and parents. The state will be developing guidance for Halloween and it will be posted on coronavirus.ohio.gov to help communities and families plan for the holiday.

LOST WAGES ASSISTANCE

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has started distributing $300 per week in Lost Wages Assistance to eligible unemployment insurance recipients. This assistance is available to Ohioans who received traditional unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Trade Readjustment Assistance, SharedWork Ohio or extended benefits for weeks ending August 1st through September 5th. PUA claimants will receive payments first, in a staggered manner with individual payments for each week they qualified for the program.  For Ohioans receiving other types of unemployment benefits, there will be one retroactive payment for all weeks they qualify.

Currently ODJFS is working to complete the programming necessary to disperse payments. Updates on this process can be found at jfs.ohio.gov/lwa.

CENSUS

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that the deadline to complete the 2020 Census is quickly approaching. As of this morning, Ohio’s self-response rate was 69.9 percent, which is above the national rate of 65.9 percent but one percentage point behind Michigan. The census, which only takes about 10 minutes to complete, impacts the state for the next 10 years, including how federal, state, and local funding is distributed and determines congressional representation.

Ohioans can complete their census by either going to 2020Census.gov or calling 1-844-330-2020.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 141,585 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,580 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,625 people have been hospitalized, including 3,0149 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 15

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Testing Update, Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Inductees Announced, and Ohio To Work Initiative Begins

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today gave the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TESTING IN NURSING HOMES AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES

Governor DeWine and Director Ursel McElroy of the Ohio Department of Aging provided an update on testing in nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult day centers, and adult day cares. Directory McElroy explained that frequent testing in congregate settings is important to control the spread of the virus.

She also mentioned that adult day care and senior centers will open on September 21st. The facilities will test staff every other week and participants if they present symptoms. Outdoor visitation started at Ohio nursing homes on July 20th. If visitors have questions about protocols or concerns about a facility in their area, they can contact the Ohio Department of Aging. The Department of Aging is working on a dashboard to increase transparency about the status of visitation at facilities across the state.

OHIO VETERANS HALL OF FAME

Governor DeWine announced that 20 women and men, representing four branches of the military will be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame at a virtual ceremony on November 5th. These Ohioans, from 16 counties, have continued to serve the United States as well as Ohio, as business owners, community volunteers, scientists, advocates, engineers, and much more.

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was established by Governor George Voinovich in 1992. Governor Voinovich established the Hall of Fame to recognize Ohio veterans’ military service, as well as their service to Ohio and their communities after leaving the military. A total of 895 of Ohio’s Veterans have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  

The virtual ceremony can be viewed on November 5th at OhioVets.gov.

OHIO TO WORK

Governor DeWine, along with JP Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio, announced that JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Development Services Agency will launch a pilot initiative called Ohio To Work. The Initiative will help connect Ohioans looking for a job to a new job opportunity. Ohio To Work brings together employers, nonprofits, educators, and training providers to help Ohioans reskill and restart their careers. Individuals participating in Ohio To Work will be provided a career coach, be invited to virtual career fairs, and be connected to employers ready to hire. The first Ohio To Work initiative will be launched in Cleveland- Cuyahoga County. Ohioans can learn more at OhioToWork.com.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 139,485 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,506 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,481 people have been hospitalized, including 3,111 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 14

Governor DeWine Signs Bill Into Law

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 606 into law. House Bill 606, sponsored by Representative Diane Grendell, ensures civil immunity to individuals, schools, health care providers, businesses, and other entities from lawsuits arising from exposure, transmission, or contraction of COVID-19, or any mutation of the virus, as long as they were not showing reckless, intentional, or willful misconduct.

It also shields health care providers from liability in tort actions regarding the care and services they provide during this pandemic unless they were acting recklessly or displaying intentional misconduct.

House Bill 606 was supported by several associations, including the AICUO, CCAO, Inter-University Council of Ohio, NFIB, Ohio Association of Community Colleges, Ohio Business Roundtable, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, Ohio Metro Chambers Coalition, Ohio Municipal League, Ohio Restaurant Association, Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Ohio's Superintendent Association and Ohio Township Association among others.  Included are a few statements of support. 

"Ohio businesses stepped up when asked to help with this pandemic crisis and we are pleased that the Senate and House, along with the governor, have acted to help protect jobs and our economy."

Andrew E. Doehrel, President & CEO, Ohio Chamber of Commerce

"On behalf of the 1,200 members of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), we thank you for signing House Bill (HB) 606 into law today, September 14, 2020. In a time of uncertainty, Ohio’s educational leaders are working tirelessly so that our children can learn in safe, supportive environments. HB 606 provides additional protections for Ohio’s schools as they seek to return students to the classroom and to as much normalcy as possible. Thank you for your sensitivity to the countless challenges our schools are facing. Your support of HB 606 is one of the many ways you have partnered with Ohio’s schools to help them navigate the unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Kirk Hamilton, Ph.D., Executive Director, Ohio’s Superintendent Association

"On behalf of Ohio’s public universities, the Inter-University Council of Ohio thanks you for your support for House Bill 606, which will provide to Ohio’s public universities appropriate liability protection from litigation arising from the coronavirus.  We appreciate the action you took today to sign the bill so that it becomes law for the state of Ohio."

Bruce Johnson, President & CEO, Inter-University Council of Ohio

Governor DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, and Ohio Speaker of the House Robert Cupp via videoconference. 

Additionally, Governor DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-37D on Thursday, September 10, establishing the Ohio Traffic Safety Council. Governor DeWine announced the formation of the new council at the September 1st press conference.  

 

September 10

Flu Shots, Updated County Risk Levels, Suicide Prevention

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that six counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Preble, Putnam, and Summit. 

A total of 68 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and two counties, Lucas and Wayne, dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

In addition to the six Level 3 counties listed above, four additional counties meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of high incidence: Clark, Hamilton, Miami, and Wood. Although these counties do not meet enough indicators to trigger a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, these counties have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks which could lead to rapid virus transmission if steps are not taken to slow the spread. 

Data calculations conducted by the Ohio Department of Health also show the continued increase in cases among younger adults in the age groups of 0-19 and 20-29. 

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.

FLU SHOTS

With flu season approaching, Governor DeWine today reminded Ohioans of the importance of getting a flu shot this year. The Governor, along with First Lady Fran DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted, all received their flu shots this afternoon. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu shot, with rare exception.The recommendation includes flu shots for pregnant women, whose vaccinations can protect their babies after birth.  

"While the flu can be deadly on its own, we also are concerned that Ohioans who get both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could become severely, if not fatally, ill," said Governor DeWine. "Our youngest and oldest Ohioans, those who are pregnant, those in long-term care facilities, and those with chronic health conditions may be especially susceptible to severe illness or complications from the flu."

Those who are elderly and need help getting to their physician's office can contact their local Area Agency on Aging at 866-243-5678 to access transportation resources and other services.

Anyone without a primary healthcare provider can visit vaccinefinder.org to find nearby pharmacies and other healthcare locations offering the flu vaccine.

CENSUS

Lt. Governor Husted reminded Ohioans that the deadline to complete the 2020 Census is quickly approaching. As of this morning, Ohio’s self response rate was 69.5 percent, which is above the national rate of 65.5 percent but one percentage point behind Michigan. The census, which only takes about 10 minutes to complete, impacts the state for the next 10 years, including how federal, state and local funding is distributed and determines congressional representation.

Ohioans can complete their census by either going to 2020Census.gov or calling 1-844-330-2020.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 134,086 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,354 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 14,164 people have been hospitalized, including 3,070 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 8

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program, Non-Congregate Sheltering Order, Sports Spectator Variance

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today gave the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PANDEMIC ELECTRONIC BENEFIT TRANSFER PROGRAM

Governor DeWine announced today that thousands of Ohio children, who qualify for free or reduced-price meals but are currently learning remotely, will soon receive additional money to purchase nutritious foods through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program made possible by the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will issue this second round of benefits later this month to eligible children. Ohio previously issued more than $250 million in P-EBT benefits to more than 850,000 students through the program in the spring.

Parents do not need to apply to receive these benefits. The benefits will be automatically loaded onto existing Ohio Direction cards or a pre-loaded card will be sent in the mail.

NON-CONGREGATE SHELTERING ORDER

In response to a barrage of rumors surrounding Ohio's latest non-congregate sheltering order, Governor DeWine today stressed that there are no orders in Ohio to create "FEMA camps" to quarantine citizens against their will.

"This is not in our order, and there is no truth to the rumor," said Governor DeWine. "Families will not be separated, and kids will not be away from their loved ones."

The order, which was first issued on March 31 and then renewed on April 29 and August 31, creates a funding mechanism to allow for federal reimbursement for communities that choose to offer alternate locations for people to safely isolate or quarantine outside of their homes. If a citizen chooses to recover in a quarantine housing location, others in the household can remain at home and unexposed.

This option has been used in a handful of cases in Ohio.

SPORTS SPECTATOR VARIANCE

The Ohio Department of Health has granted a spectator variance to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio taking place September 11-13, 2020. Attendance will be limited to 6,000 spectators, and social distancing and masks will be required in accordance with state health guidelines.

The variance for Mid-Ohio was granted, in part, due to its unique, large outdoor facility that can accommodate social distancing.

Governor DeWine previously announced 6,000 spectator variances for the Browns and Bengals for two upcoming games each.

GET IN LINE, ONLINE

Lt. Governor Husted today announced that the Ohio BMV was awarded the Customer Convenience Award for their Get in Line, Online virtual queuing system, which allows a customer to secure a spot in line at the agency without actually being physically present. Once customers arrive to check-in, they move to the front of the line with minimal wait time.

InnovateOhio, which Lt. Governor Husted leads, worked in partnership with the Ohio BMV on this project.  

“InnovateOhio and the Ohio BMV collaborated on the ‘Get in Line, Online’ system with the goal of using technology to improve customer service,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “This award is a recognition that we are on our way to making Ohio the most innovative and creative state in the Midwest.”

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 131,992 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,298 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,967 people have been hospitalized, including 3,042 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

September 3

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that seven counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread. 

A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and 12 counties moved from orange to yellow. There are now a total of 39 counties in the yellow level, the highest number since July 2. Detailed information all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. 

SCHOOL REPORTING ORDER

Governor DeWine announced details for Ohio's forthcoming case reporting order for K-12 schools.

Beginning Tuesday, September 8, parents or guardians and school staff should notify their school within 24 hours of receiving a positive test or a clinical diagnosis. Within 24 hours after receiving that notification, the school should notify other parents and guardians about that case in writing, providing as much information as possible without releasing protected health information. The school must also notify their local health department within 24 hours. 

Beginning Tuesday, September 15, and each Tuesday thereafter, local health departments will report the number of newly reported and cumulative cases to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health will publish this data by school or school district, including a breakdown by students and staff, each Thursday.

"We understand there is a balance between privacy and transparency, and we do not intend for protected health information to be released in our effort to provide information to Ohioans so they can make the right decisions for their family," said Governor DeWine. "Please remember that if a school has positive cases among their students or staff, it does not mean the school did anything wrong. Schools cannot control spread in the community, so it is important to practice safety measures not only in the classroom but also when you’re out in the community."

The order will also require each school district or school to identify a COVID-19 coordinator to facilitate the reporting of case information, and upon request, schools or buildings are required to provide the local health department a copy of their pandemic plan.

LABOR DAY AND SPREAD BY YOUNG OHIOANS

Governor DeWine today once again encouraged Ohioans to take proper safety precautions over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. He stressed that citizens can still have fun, visit family, and travel, but face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing should also be part of your plans. 

"It's not about where we go, but rather, what we do when we get there," said Governor DeWine. "It's about how we act when we're with family and friends and what precautions we take. The decisions we make as we celebrate the unofficial end of summer will play a major role in how we begin the fall."

Governor DeWine also reminded young Ohioans of their responsibility to follow safety precautions, especially students attending a college or university.

Case data shows that those aged 18-22 currently make up 35-40 percent of all young Ohioans who have tested positive for the virus which is a significant increase from previous months.

"In Cincinnati, multiple off-campus parties with students attending from several universities on August 17 have resulted in at least 78 confirmed cases," said Governor DeWine. "Although college students might not get seriously ill, they could spread the virus to others who could. The responsibility falls on all of us to protect each other."

WASTEWATER MONITORING NETWORK

Governor DeWine announced that information from Ohio's new Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network is now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov

The network was developed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the study of wastewater samples. The presence of coronavirus gene copies/fragments can be found in the waste of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and can be detected in wastewater as many as three to seven days before those infections lead to increases in case counts or hospitalizations in a community.

DEFENSE MANUFACTURING COMMUNITY

Lt. Governor Husted announced that, in an effort led by the Development Services Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense has made a commitment to Ohio’s defense manufacturers and put the state in a position to receive a $5 million grant to improve manufacturing processes and train workers for next-generation jobs.

Ohio has been designated as a Defense Manufacturing Community, which is a program designed to support long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand the capabilities of defense manufacturing.

STEP UP TO QUALITY

As of last Tuesday, all child care providers in Ohio that serve publicly funded children were required to be rated on Ohio’s child care quality rating system, called Step Up To Quality.

Governor DeWine announced today that over 4,400 providers are now rated through the system. This is more than double the number of rated quality child care providers when he took office in 2019. By 2025, all providers must be rated three stars or higher on the rating system. 

H2OHIO LEAD UPDATE

Governor DeWine announced that Greater Cincinnati Water Works will receive $725,000 in H2Ohio funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to remove and replace lead service lines and fixtures at nearly 200 child care facilities in Cincinnati. 

The H2Ohio initiative launched last year to address a number of water quality issues in Ohio including lead pipes feeding into childcare centers. Although lead in water is rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, it can significantly increase someone’s total lead exposure – especially infants who drink baby formula or concentrated juices mixed with contaminated water.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 127,112 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,226 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,663 people have been hospitalized, including 3,003 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

 

September 1

Labor Day Precautions, New Traffic Safety Efforts, Broadband Connectivity

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

LABOR DAY PRECAUTIONS

In advance of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, Governor DeWine today reminded citizens to take safety precautions when celebrating with others outside of their households. 

"Today Ohio reported its highest number of new cases since the end of July, which is a stark reminder that this virus has not gone away and it continues to spread in our communities," said Governor DeWine. "As you consider gathering with family and friends this weekend, please remember that COVID-19 still represents a significant risk to the lives and livelihoods of citizens in Ohio."

Governor DeWine encourages citizens to continue regular hand-washing, social distancing, and disinfecting. The mask mandate in Ohio remains in effect for all 88 counties.

In the weeks following the Fourth of July, Ohio began to see a significant increase in cases caused, in part, by holiday gatherings. The graphic below demonstrates one example of COVID-19 spread from an Independence Day gathering.

ADDED TRAFFIC-SAFETY EFFORTS

Governor DeWine announced three new traffic-safety efforts aimed at reducing the number of fatalities on Ohio's roads and better ensuring that Ohio's young drivers have the necessary skills to safely navigate the streets. 

  • Ohio Traffic Safety Council: The new council, led by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, will be composed of representatives of several state agencies and outside groups. The role of the council will be to coordinate and monitor all statewide traffic safety initiatives, analyze trends, and advise the Governor on creating safer roads through education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency response.
  • Work Zone Enforcement: Because enforcing traffic laws can be a challenge in work zones, the Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Unit, which already conducts speed checks from the air, will conduct targeted enforcement on crash-causing violations in Ohio Department of Transportation construction zones. The increased enforcement is in response to the nearly 9,000 work-zone crashes in Ohio between 2019 and 2020. 
  • Juvenile Court Grants: Eight juvenile courts in Ohio have been awarded grant funding through the Ohio Department of Public Safety to help them provide young drivers more access to advanced driver training. Courts in Adams, Athens, Medina, Knox, Delaware, Miami, Fairfield, and Delaware counties will each receive $20,000 through Ohio's new Youthful Driver Safety Fund which was developed as part of Ohio's biennium budget.

The new traffic safety efforts are in addition to several other initiatives launched by Governor DeWine since 2019 including the creation of the Intersection Safety Program to improve the safety of 150 rural, urban, and suburban intersections across the state; the development of the "Ohio - Ready, Test, Drive!" program to help enhance the skills of new drivers; and the creation of several distracted driving corridors to reduce distracted driving in Ohio. Governor DeWine also worked with members of the General Assembly to introduce the Hands-Free Ohio bill, which is currently pending in the Ohio General Assembly, to strengthen Ohio's laws related to the use of wireless devices while driving. 

Governor DeWine today also encouraged Ohio's drivers to watch their speeds after Ohio recorded 154 traffic fatalities in July - the highest number of traffic fatalities in one month since 2007. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, one in three of those killed in July was involved in a speed-related crash.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people are traveling on Ohio's roads which is leading many of those who are driving to speed. This year, the Patrol has issued more than 2,200 citations for speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. This represents a 60 percent increase in these citations over the same time period last year. 

BROADBAND EXPANSION EFFORTS

Lt. Governor Husted announced that over 900 grant requests have been approved for the K-12 Broadband Connectivity Grant to go towards hotspots and internet-enabled devices. This enables 121,000 students to gain high-speed internet in their homes, thanks to the devices provided by this grant based on information provided by the schools. In areas where there are barriers to take-home devices, the grant will also support the creation of new public wi-fi and mobile wi-fi spaces to help students connect to the internet. There are over 645,000 students in schools that are increasing their public wi-fi or using mobile wi-fi. Those students will have a place to go to access the internet if they do not have access in their homes.

By the end of this week, schools will receive notifications of their final award and can begin the process of purchasing these items through the Ohio Department of Education and BroadbandOhio.

The Lt. Governor also provided an update on Ohio’s telehealth pilot project at Switzerland of Ohio School District in Monroe County. The objective is to connect the school district with behavioral health services. Districts interested in developing telehealth services can now review the Telehealth in Schools Blueprint, which provides a better understanding of lessons learned through the pilot project.

The Blueprint can be found here: innovate.ohio.gov/broadband.

Progress has also been made through Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI) to streamline broadband regulations through their new Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool.

The tool found:

  • 303 definitions related to the regulation of broadband, found in Ohio’s rules or statutes across 25 different state agencies
  • 16 different definitions of public utility in Ohio law across 5 different agencies

In an effort to develop a strategy that will create a clear and concise set of terminology for broadband providers to follow, the Lt. Governor and CSI will work with agencies to streamline these definitions.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Lt. Governor Husted also unveiled a new public service announcement to encourage Ohioans to wear masks. The PSA features 99-year-old Jim “Pee Wee” Martin who lives in Sugarcreek Township in Greene County.

Jim volunteered to be a WWII Paratrooper, an original member of Company “G”, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. His nickname “Pee Wee” was earned because he was 106 pounds, the smallest and lightest guy in the company. In 1944, Jim jumped into France over Utah Beach the night prior to D-Day and fought for 33 days in the Normandy campaign. He also fought in Holland, Belgium, and Germany.

Among his many awards, Jim earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his great work.

“Wearing a mask to protect Jim “Pee Wee” Martin seems like a small sacrifice for us to protect people like him, considering all he did to protect us,” said Lt. Governor Husted.

The PSA can be viewed here. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 124,610 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,165 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,479 people have been hospitalized, including 2,975 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

August 27

K-12 Case Reporting, Sports Order Modification

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine today released this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that six counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread. This is the lowest number of Level 3 counties since the Ohio Public Health Advisory System was developed. In addition, 76 counties have remained at a consistent level, which is the lowest movement between levels that Ohio has experienced. 

"While we do have good news in today’s alert map, this does not give us the green light to change our behavior. It’s only through the interventions that we’ve put in place that we have been able to make these strides," said Governor DeWine. "Please continue to wear a mask, stay home when you can, and refrain from gatherings, especially indoors."

Increase to Level 3:

  • Montgomery

Continue at Level 3: 

  • Erie
  • Lorain
  • Lucas
  • Mercer
  • Preble

Decrease to Level 2:

  • Clark
  • Clermont
  • Franklin
  • Trumbull

Decrease to Level 1:

  • Marion
  • Muskingum
  • Perry
  • Sandusky

Detailed information all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators

K-12 CASE REPORTING

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will be issuing an order that requires K-12 schools to establish a mechanism for parents and guardians to report confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their children.

Schools should notify parents/guardians in writing about each case and include as much information as possible without disclosing protected health information. Schools should also make non-identifying information about positive COVID-19 cases publicly available. 

"Prompt reporting will help prevent potential further spread among students and staff," said Governor DeWine. "Knowing this information can help parents make informed decisions in regard to risks and exposure for their families."

The forthcoming order will also direct all K-12 schools to report confirmed cases to their local health department, which will then report new cases and cumulative case data for students and teachers to the Ohio Department of Health. This aggregate data will be published at coronavirus.ohio.gov each Wednesday. 

SPORTS ORDER MODIFICATION

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the current sports order has been modified to clarify that participants shall not compete in more than one contest or game in any calendar day, as compared to the 24-hour period outlined in the original order. The goal of this adjustment in language is to assist organizers and teams when scheduling games or contests.

ASSISTED LIVING TESTING PAUSE

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio is pausing its work to test residents and staff at assisted living facilities through saliva testing instead of nasal swabs due to inconsistent test results. The Ohio Department of Health will investigate the issue through controlled validation testing to determine if the irregularities can be attributed to the test kits themselves, the labs, or the specimen collection process. 

DUPLICATE PAYMENTS IDENTIFIED

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and InnovateOhio have identified an additional 38 duplicate payments, totaling $93,978 in savings, using the InnovateOhio Duplicate Payment Tool.

In total, $1.1 million in savings have been identified since this project launched. Today’s update brings the total number of confirmed duplicate payments to 145 since January 2019, across 29 different agencies, boards, and commissions.

OBM works with agencies to ensure that all duplicate payments are recovered.

TECH CRED REMINDER

Lt. Governor Husted reminded employers about the TechCred program, which reimburses businesses to upskill their current and prospective employees. The current August round ends on August 31 at 3 p.m. Visit TechCred.Ohio.Gov for more information or to apply.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 118,828 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,076 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,150 people have been hospitalized, including 2,929 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

August 25

Sports Order Variance Process, Entertainment Venue Order

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SPORTS ORDER VARIANCE PROCESS

Governor DeWine today discussed the recently-issued Director's Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club, and Professional Sports.

The order limits the maximum number of spectators gathered at an outdoor sports venue to the lesser of 1,500 individuals or 15 percent of fixed, seated capacity. The maximum for indoor sports venues is the lesser of 300 individuals or 15 percent of fixed, seated capacity.

"The main purpose of permitting spectators at school sports events is for officials and loved ones of players, coaches, team staff members, other event participants to attend," said Governor DeWine. "Ideally, the spectator limit would enable at least two, and perhaps up to four, family members to attend a sports event, provided that the venue is large enough to allow at least six feet of social distancing between groups."

If a venue has more room to permit additional socially-distanced spectator capacity, a variance provision in the order allows schools to request a higher spectator limit by submitting a plan in writing to their local health department and the Ohio Department of Health. The variance plan must include a justification for increased capacity and an explanation of how social distancing will be maintained between family groups. 

It is the responsibility of the school/venue to monitor and enforce the social distancing requirement, prohibition on congregating among spectators, and the other provisions outlined in the sports order.  Evaluating a sports venue’s variance plan may require conversations with school/venue officials and a site visit. The Ohio Department of Health will rely upon local health departments to conduct the first assessment of the variance plan.  

Variances will not be granted to expand the number of fans beyond family members of both teams and others who may perform during the event.

ENTERTAINMENT VENUE ORDER

Interim Ohio Department of Health Director Lance Himes today signed the Director's Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Entertainment Venues. 

2020 CENSUS

Governor DeWine today reminded Ohio citizens to complete the 2020 Census.

The Census determines how $675 billion is distributed among the states and Ohio’s representation in Congress.  

Those who have not yet completed the census can do so at www.2020Census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020.

INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

Lt. Governor Husted provided a reminder about the Ohio Diversity & Inclusion Technology Internship Program, which pairs college students with tech companies and any company with a technology-related need.

The program is looking for additional businesses to apply. Visit development.ohio.gov for more information.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 116,495 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,996 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 12,956 people have been hospitalized, including 2,903 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

August 21 

Governor DeWine Announces Additional Reopening Guidelines

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes will be signing a reopening order for performance theaters in the near future, but details are still being worked on. However, to give arts organizations the opportunity to begin planning for performances, the order will say that interior venue attendance will be capped at the lesser of 15% of their fixed-seated capacity or 300 people, while outdoor venue attendance will be capped at the lesser of 15% of their fixed seating capacity or 1,500 people. Many of the other guidelines in the forthcoming order will align with the limits on spectators at sports venues in the Director’s Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club and Professional Sports.

Governor DeWine also released guidance for performing arts theaters and sports venues.

When the accompanying orders are signed they will be posted on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

 

Sports Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

 

August 20

Sports Health Order, Georgetown Veterans Home, Ohio Governor's Imagination Library, Women’s Suffrage Centennial

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS:

Governor DeWine announced that an order from the Ohio Department of Health will be issued to outline how sports, both contact and non-contact, may move forward in Ohio. The order will apply to all organized sports in the state and will include guidelines for spectators. The decision for high school fall sports to be postponed to the springtime will be left to the school districts.  This order will be available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor DeWine also spoke with Dr. Jim Borchers of The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Borchers specializes in sports medicine. He discussed the importance of sports, and its impact on the physical and mental health of young people. Dr. Borchers also reminded parents and students about the importance of immediately sharing information with coaching staff and a doctor if a COVID-19 case is probible or confirmed, and then following the appropriate protocols.

GEORGETOWN VETERANS HOME:

Governor DeWine announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Ohio Veteran’s home in Georgetown (Brown County). An employee tested positive, and two other employees may have been exposed to this individual. The Ohio Department of Veterans Services put additional safety measures in place at the home and they are tracking potential exposures. All residents in the unit where this employee works are being tested, as are the residents in the two other units where the potentially exposed employees are assigned.

OHIO GOVERNOR’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY:

First Lady Fran DeWine joined Governor DeWine today with an update on the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is approaching it’s one-year anniversary and is now available in 78 of Ohio’s 88 counties. 

With help from the Ohio General Assembly and local partners throughout the state, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library has expanded throughout the state and about 191,000 children are receiving a book in the mail monthly. Last summer, the program was only available in pockets throughout the state and about 93,000 children were enrolled at the time. 

CENTINNIAL OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE:

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that today marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. He encouraged Ohioans to learn more about the history of the women’s suffrage movement by visiting the Ohio History Connection webpage, ohiohistory.org. Governor DeWine also announced that TourismOhio has created a women’s history road trip to mark the centennial. It can be found at ohio.org.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 109,923 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,871 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 12,436 people have been hospitalized, including 2,805 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

August 19

Sports Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

 

August 18

Sports Health Order, Georgetown Veterans Home, Ohio Governor's Imagination Library, Women’s Suffrage Centennial

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS:

Governor DeWine announced that an order from the Ohio Department of Health will be issued to outline how sports, both contact and non-contact, may move forward in Ohio. The order will apply to all organized sports in the state and will include guidelines for spectators. The decision for high school fall sports to be postponed to the springtime will be left to the school districts.  This order will be available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor DeWine also spoke with Dr. Jim Borchers of The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Borchers specializes in sports medicine. He discussed the importance of sports, and its impact on the physical and mental health of young people. Dr. Borchers also reminded parents and students about the importance of immediately sharing information with coaching staff and a doctor if a COVID-19 case is probible or confirmed, and then following the appropriate protocols.

GEORGETOWN VETERANS HOME:

Governor DeWine announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Ohio Veteran’s home in Georgetown (Brown County). An employee tested positive, and two other employees may have been exposed to this individual. The Ohio Department of Veterans Services put additional safety measures in place at the home and they are tracking potential exposures. All residents in the unit where this employee works are being tested, as are the residents in the two other units where the potentially exposed employees are assigned.

OHIO GOVERNOR’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY:

First Lady Fran DeWine joined Governor DeWine today with an update on the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is approaching it’s one-year anniversary and is now available in 78 of Ohio’s 88 counties. 

With help from the Ohio General Assembly and local partners throughout the state, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library has expanded throughout the state and about 191,000 children are receiving a book in the mail monthly. Last summer, the program was only available in pockets throughout the state and about 93,000 children were enrolled at the time. 

CENTINNIAL OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE:

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that today marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. He encouraged Ohioans to learn more about the history of the women’s suffrage movement by visiting the Ohio History Connection webpage, ohiohistory.org. Governor DeWine also announced that TourismOhio has created a women’s history road trip to mark the centennial. It can be found at ohio.org.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 109,923 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,871 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 12,436 people have been hospitalized, including 2,805 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

August 13

Improving Minority Health, Updated County Risk Levels

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS:

Governor DeWine announced today that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 12 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Increase to Level 3: Continue at Level 3:  Decrease to Level 2: Decrease to Level 1: 
  • Brown
  • Clermont
  • Muskingum

 

 

 

  • Cuyahoga
  • Erie
  • Fairfield
  • Franklin
  • Licking
  • Lucas
  • Marion
  • Mercer
  • Montgomery
  • Allen
  • Medina

 

 

 

  • Adams
  • Defiance
  • Fulton
  • Henry
  • Knox
  • Lake
  • Paulding
  • Williams

Detailed information all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators

IMPROVING MINORITY HEALTH:

Today, Governor DeWine released the final Minority Health Strike Force report and the state's executive response.

The Minority Health Strike Force was formed in April to examine the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on minority communities, as well as broader health disparities and racial injustices. Currently, African Americans represent 14 percent of Ohio's population but are 24 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 32 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 19 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio. Similarly, at least 6 percent of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ohio are Latino, despite only representing 3.9 percent of Ohio's population. 

The COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force Blueprint lists 34 recommendations on dismantling racism, removing public health obstacles, improving the social/economic and physical environments, and strengthening data collection to better track disparities.

In response to the Strike Force's report, Governor DeWine issued Ohio’s Executive Response: A Plan of Action to Advance Equity. The action plan outlines efforts to reinforce the DeWine Administration's commitment to advancing health equity and establishing Ohio as a model for justice, equity, opportunity, and resilience. 

As part of his commitment to equity, Governor DeWine also announced the creation of the new Ohio Governor's Equity Advisory Board. 

The Board will work to improve Ohio’s work to dismantle racism and promote health equity. Board members will draw on the expertise within Ohio’s communities of color and will represent diverse viewpoints from sectors like education, healthcare, public and private business, community organizations, and members of the criminal justice community.

"We are committed to solutions, because as I have stated before, racism is a public health crisis. Each of us has a responsibility to be mindful of and work to counteract racial and other disparities that hold Ohioans back from reaching their full God-given potential," said Governor DeWine. "I will not shy away from addressing these long-entrenched inequalities among our fellow Ohio citizens. Fortunately, we have many great partners in this mission, and we are grateful to the individuals and organizations that provided feedback to the strike force and who have worked with my administration on this issue."

“Being a person of color should not dictate your health outcomes. As the Health Commissioner for the City of Cincinnati and member of the COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force, I am proud of the work of my fellow strike force members to address these health inequities. The interim report and blueprint address short term and long term recommendations, as we need sustainable efforts to address these multi-faceted issues. The Governor’s response to the blueprint is action-oriented and his formation of the Governor’s Equity Impact Board shows that he is serious about the plan being implemented and committed to all Ohioans,” Dr. Melba R. Moore, Cincinnati Health Department Health Commissioner.

“The COVID-19 Ohio Minority Health Strike Force Blueprint sets a foundation that promotes sustained long-term and lifetime wellness and focuses on individuals and communities of color who disproportionately are afflicted with health disparities and chronic disease conditions. We understand that improvements to healthcare access and social and economic factors and determinants of health are critical to addressing disparities and improving health outcomes for all Ohioans. I commend Governor DeWine for taking the blueprint and quickly working with his administration to outline concrete next steps to improve the health and wellbeing of all Ohioans and advance equity across the state of Ohio,” Dr. Charles Modlin, MD, Executive Director Minority Health, Founder / Director Minority Men’s Health Center & Urologist, Cleveland Clinic.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA:

There are 105,426 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,755 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 12,023 people have been hospitalized, including 2,743 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

August 11

Return to School, Increase in Cases in Younger Populations

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio.

RETURN TO SCHOOL

Governor DeWine continued to stress the importance of masks, social distancing, and proper hygiene as Ohio's school students approach the start of the upcoming school year. 

"I have every confidence that Ohio's schools will do everything they can to keep children safe, but any spread happening in the broader community will, without a doubt, be reflected in Ohio's classrooms," said Governor DeWine. "If we want our kids to go to school in person, to play sports, to be in extracurricular activities - it's up to all of us to cut down the spread in our communities."

Currently, Ohio has left the decision to individual school districts on how to approach the new school year. 

According to information gathered by the Ohio Department of Education, 325 public school districts in Ohio are planning to return to school full-time which equates to approximately 590,000 students. A total of 55 districts representing approximately 398,000 public school students will begin the school year remotely.  Approximately 380,000 students in 154 public school districts will start the school year with a hybrid of online and in-person learning. Information on 78 public school distracts was not readily available. 

Also participating in today's briefing were Dr. John Barnard from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Dr. Patty Manning from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Adam Mezoff from Dayton Children’s Hospital. These experts discussed the prevalence of COVID-19 among children; how to prevent spread in schools by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, maintaining good hand hygiene, keeping surfaces clean, and ensuring good ventilation; and what schools can do if a student or staff member tests positive.

INCREASE IN CASES IN YOUNGER POPULATIONS

Governor DeWine shared updated data on the percentage of cases in Ohio by age group. The data shows a significant increase in positive cases among younger adults over the summer, particularly in the age range of 20-29. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 102,826 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,708 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,760 people have been hospitalized, including 2,699 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

August 10

Executive Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed the following Executive Order:

 

August 8

Governor Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine Test Negative For COVID-19

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

The test results today 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.  

Executive Orders Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed the following Executive Orders:

 

August 7

School Broadband Connectivity

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following update on the status of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lt. Governor Husted announced today 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/. The public website will be live today, however schools will not be able to apply until Monday.

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.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 98,675 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,652 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,447 people have been hospitalized, including 2,641 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

August 6

Governor DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and Staff All Test Negative for COVID-19

In a second test administered today in Columbus, Governor Mike DeWine has tested negative for COVID-19. First Lady Fran DeWine and staff members have also all tested negative for COVID-19.

A PCR test was administered to the Governor and members of his staff this afternoon.  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.

The test administered this morning to the Governor in Cleveland, as part of the protocol required to meet the President, was an antigen test.  These 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. 

Out of an abundance of caution, and at the direction of medical professionals, the Governor and First Lady plan on having another PCR test on Saturday.  Results of these tests will also be released.

Governor DeWine Tests Positive for COVID-19

Today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine took a test for COVID-19 as part of the standard protocol to greet President Donald Trump on the tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland. 

Governor DeWine tested positive. Governor DeWine has no symptoms at the present time.

Governor DeWine is returning to Columbus where he and First Lady Fran DeWine, who also has no symptoms, will both be tested.

Governor DeWine plans to follow protocol for COVID-19 and quarantine at his home in Cedarville for the next 14 days.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted also took the COVID-19 test today as part of the protocol to greet the president.  Lt. Governor tested negative.

 

August 4

Masks in Schools, Rapid Testing, Community Spread and Spread from Faith-Based Settings, Dr. Amy Acton

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MASKS IN SCHOOLS

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

  1. Children under the age of 2 years old
  2. Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  3. 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)
  4. A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask
  5. 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." 

RAPID TESTING MULTI-STATE PURCHASING AGREEMENT

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.

COMMUNITY SPREAD

Governor DeWine today 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. 

LETTER TO FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY

Governor DeWine today 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."

AMY ACTON

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. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 95,106 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,570 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,119 people have been hospitalized, including 2,593 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

July 29

Liquor Sale and On-Premises Consumption Limits, Mass Gathering Order, Updated Risk Levels

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine released this week's new Ohio Public Health Advisory System map.

"The good news is that more people are wearing masks in our urban counties and we are seeing the spread slow because of that," said Governor DeWine. "The bad news is that Ohio's more rural counties are turning orange with significantly more spread taking place. I will again urge those who live in rural counties to wear masks while in public."

Remaining at Level 3:

  • Allen
  • Cuyahoga
  • Erie
  • Fairfield
  • Franklin
  • Hamilton
  • Licking
  • Lucas
  • Henry
  • Lawrence
  • Marion
  • Medina
  • Montgomery

Downgraded from
Level 3 to Level 2: 

  • Clark
  • Defiance
  • Hardin
  • Athens
  • Clermont
  • Delaware
  • Pickaway
  • Scioto
  • Union

Downgraded to from
Level 3 to Level 1:

  • Richland

 

There are no counties on Ohio's Watch List. 

Detailed data on all 88 counties are now available on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators

ALCOHOL SALE AND ON-PREMISES CONSUMPTION LIMITS

Governor DeWine announced today that he has asked the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to call an emergency meeting to consider enacting a statewide emergency rule to limit liquor sales at establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption. 

The rule would prevent the sale of alcohol at these liquor-permitted establishments beginning at 10:00 p.m. each night. On-premises consumption must end by 11:00 p.m. Businesses may stay open, and establishments that sell food can continue serving meals until closing. 

Governor DeWine requested the new administrative rule after seeing outbreaks associated with bars across Ohio including Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus. 

"The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors, with interactions between many different people," said Governor DeWine. "While this may have been fine during normal times, these are not normal times. We must make a change to curb the social behaviors that will cause this virus to continue to spread." 

Separately, Governor DeWine is also asking the commission to raise the number of liquor and mixed drinks permitted to be purchased for carryout with a meal from two drinks to three drinks.

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission will hold its emergency meeting tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. If the emergency administrative rule is approved, Governor DeWine will sign an executive order making it effective tomorrow night. 

MASS GATHERING ORDER

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will separate its mass gathering guidance into its own order. Mass gathering guidance was most recently referenced as part of other orders, and combining this information into a stand-alone order will allow citizens to easily find guidance on holding gatherings in a safe manner. 

Mass gatherings in Ohio remain limited to 10 people.

"We have seen cases in recent weeks where outbreaks have been connected to informal social gatherings like birthday parties, neighborhood gatherings, graduation parties, weddings, funerals, and gatherings at people’s homes," said Governor DeWine. "The fact remains that this virus spreads when someone with the virus comes in contact with others who don’t yet have it. When we gather together with people outside our households, we increase the likelihood this virus can spread."

The order will still permit Ohioans to go to work, worship, go to school, and acquire goods and services, however, this order will offer clear recommendations on safely holding gatherings.

  • Gatherings at a household or family residence should be limited to close friends and family and are recommended to be 10 visitors or less.
  • Residents in a red or purple county, as designated by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, should limit hosting or attending gatherings of any size.
  • Wear a mask at all times at gatherings and maintain physical distance.
  • Use take out, outdoor dining, or indoor dining only when strict social distancing can be maintained.
  • Take extra precautions if you go to bars or nightclubs, where use of masks typically is inconsistent and drinking alcohol can lead to less social distancing.
  • Protect anyone with serious medical conditions at home by social distancing at home, wearing a mask, and using high levels of personal hygiene.
  • High-risk individuals should take extra precautions to limit the number of people they interact with.
  • Make the group of people you interact with most often as small as possible and make sure that they are taking appropriate COVID-19 precautions – even if you are just gathering with family friends or neighbors at your home.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 89,626 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,442 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 10,678 people have been hospitalized, including 2,534 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

 

July 28

Child Care Ratios to be Lifted, Additional Restrictions Announced for Local Fairs

Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates related to Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CHILD CARE RATIOS

Governor DeWine announced that child care providers in Ohio may return to their normal, statutory ratios and class sizes beginning on August 9, 2020. 

Child care providers have a choice to increase the number of children and staff members to the normal statutory ratios or to maintain their current, lower ratios to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is structuring a financial incentive to providers that maintain smaller ratios and classroom sizes.  

"Children cannot learn unless they are safe and cared for, and without access to child care, parents may resort to less-than-ideal options for their child’s care, such as relying on an elderly grandparent who is at greater risk for contracting COVID-19. By allowing normal ratios to resume, we're giving parents more options," said Governor DeWine. "We will continue to closely monitor reports of COVID-19 in child care, as well as compliance with rules and best practices, so that we can respond as needed to keep our children, families, and teachers safe."

All child care providers must comply with stringent health and safety requirements including:

  • Face coverings for all staff and children over 10, unless they have a health exemption;
  • Symptom and temperature checks when staff and children arrive;
  • Washing hands throughout the day, including upon arrival and before departure;
  • Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces; and
  • Regular deep cleanings.

Additionally, providers must report any COVID-19 cases to ODJFS and their local health department.

COUNTY AND INDEPENDENT FAIRS

Governor DeWine announced today that county and independent fairs with an opening day on or after July 31, 2020, will be limited to specific junior fair events. 

"We've seen several fairs that have been doing an excellent job to keep fair-goers safe, yet other fairs have been connected to outbreaks; some have disregarded social distancing; and we've also seen a lack of enforcement of the statewide mask order. It's just a real shame," said Governor DeWine. "Because it is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot have a regular, safe fair in the summer of 2020, I believe we must now scale fairs back."

Junior fair activities such as livestock competitions and 4-H and FFA competitions for kids and teenagers may continue as planned, but junior fairs must develop a plan that reduces crowding in barns, such as limiting entrance to only the immediate family of those actively showing their animals or projects. A 10 p.m. curfew will also be instituted for the barns, buildings, and midways.

Harness racing can proceed with no spectators, but rides, games, and grandstand events will be prohibited to limit crowds and better prevent coronavirus spread. 

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 86,497 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,382 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 10,425 people have been hospitalized, including 2,488 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

July 23

Eight Counties Increase to Red Alert Level Three, Importance of Self-Quarantines, Broadband Expansion

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine announced today that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 23 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Allen County is also on Ohio's Watch List because it is closely nearing Purple Alert Level 4.

Franklin and Licking counties, despite meeting fewer indicators, remain at Red Alert Level 3 due to meeting the CDC guidelines for high incidence of COVID-19. 

Butler, Lorain, Summit, and Wood counties were downgraded to Orange Alert Level 2, however, these counties remain at the CDC definition of moderately high incidence of COVID-19. Both Wood and Butler counties nearly meet the definition of high incidence.

"Overall, the downgrade in the risk levels in these four counties tells us that the measures to mitigate COVID-19 spread in red counties - including increased diligence in social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and reducing interactions with others outside your household - may be helping to slow the spread in these counties," said Governor DeWine. "We are cautiously optimistic about this, but these are still high levels of spread, and citizens across Ohio must continue to be vigilant."

Detailed information on each Red Alert Level 3 county can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators

Ohio's statewide mask order goes into effect at 6:00 tonight.

IMPORTANCE OF SELF-QUARANTINES

Following an outbreak at an Ohio long-term care facility in which more than two dozen residents and staff tested positive for COVID-19, Governor DeWine continued to encourage Ohioans to self-quarantine for 14-days after traveling to high-risk areas.

Contact tracing found that the long-term care facility's outbreak occurred due to a group of people who traveled to a high-risk area outside of Ohio and became sick upon return. Members of the group did not isolate and spread the virus into the nursing facility.

"When we look at the way this virus is progressing, we have to do everything we can to stop it in its tracks, and that may mean deferring a vacation so you’re not putting yourself or your friends and family at risk," said Governor DeWine. "This may mean that you need to stay home from work, but these are critical sacrifices that we are calling on all Ohioans to make when necessary."

BROADBAND EXPANSION

Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced the next steps in OhioBroadband’s plans to expand broadband access across the state.

In an effort to provide schools with the ability to search, review and compare prices for purchasing hotspots and equipment, a Request for Information (RFI) will be issued to internet providers for everything from hotspots to laptops to tablets.

Respondents to the RFI will need to provide the specific equipment they have available, number of units available, price, and amount of time it would take to implement an order. This RFI will be specific to K-12 plans and will be housed in a single location, giving every school district a chance to compare what is available and make the best decision for their district and their students.

Additionally, pending upcoming Controlling Board approval, schools can apply for a dollar to dollar matching grant program with the state for hotspots, in-home internet, and internet-enabled devices to students. This funding will be facilitated through the federal CARES Act and will total $50 million. Schools will have the flexibility to use the funding through a connectivity plan that makes the most sense for their student population and district.

The Lt. Governor also announced the launch of a new E-Permitting system through InnovateOhio and the Ohio Department of Transportation. The new system fulfills a goal outlined in the December 2019, Ohio Broadband Strategy, and replaces a paper-only right-of-way permitting system with an online process that is more convenient for permit requesters and is expected to reallocate 24,000 hours of labor per year.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA

There are 80,186 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,256 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 9,968 people have been hospitalized, including 2,403 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

July 22

Governor DeWine Issues Statewide Mask Order, Travel Warning

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATEWIDE MASK ORDER

Governor DeWine announced that beginning on Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m., a statewide mask mandate will go into effect for citizens living in all 88 Ohio counties. 

"Our preliminary data indicate that the rate of increase in new cases has slowed in the high-risk counties where masks are already mandated, so we are cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction," said Governor DeWine. "We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread."

All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

  • At an indoor location that is not a residence
  • Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
  • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include: 

  • Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability;
  • Those who are actively exercising or playing sports;
  • Those who are officiants at religious services;
  • Those who are actively involved in public safety; or
  • Those who are actively eating or drinking.

Schools should follow the guidance previously issued pertaining to masks.

STATEWIDE TRAVEL WARNING

Governor DeWine announced today a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher. 

Those traveling from one of the following states should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

The self-quarantine recommendation applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.

"I know this will be hard and is a sacrifice, especially as summer vacations are in full force, but when we have a higher likelihood of being exposed, we should take precautions to limit the exposure of others," said Governor DeWine. 

Ohio's positivity rate, which is an indicator of the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, has been around 6.2 percent.  

Visit coronavirus.ohio.gov for tips on how to effectively quarantine.

INFORMAL GATHERINGS

Governor DeWine today urged citizens to use extreme caution when considering attending or hosting an informal gathering. 

"We are seeing serious exposures to the virus that are arising from everyday events like church services, small house parties, neighborhood get-togethers, children’s sleepovers, weddings, and even bridal showers," said Governor DeWine. "This virus is real, and we cannot let our guards down."

COUNTY FAIRS

Following a 19-case outbreak linked to a county fair in Ohio, Governor DeWine today spoke with fair managers from across Ohio to stress the importance of following safety guidance during county fair events. 

"We've seen photos of packed grandstands and little social distancing," said Governor DeWine. "We want fairs to continue, but I expressed in the phone call today that fairs must follow the rules."

Guidance for fairs is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov

CONGRESSIONAL LETTER

Lt. Governor Husted today announced that Governor DeWine has signed onto a letter to Congressional leadership with 20 other fellow Governors from across the nation, calling for reasonable limited liability protections for businesses, schools, healthcare workers, and governments as they are reopened during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The letter calls for predictable, timely, targeted liability protections to shield employers from legal risks associated with the spread of the novel coronavirus, so long as they are following the appropriate standards of care to protect their employees, customers, and students. The letter specifically requests that the protections be drawn in a narrow fashion as to not give license for gross negligence, misconduct, or recklessness.

Similar calls for liability protection have been made by Ohio’s leading business organizations. In addition to Governor DeWine, the letter was co-signed by the Governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

DROPPING UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

In the first press conference since Ohio’s latest unemployment figures were released, Lt. Governor Husted also highlighted Ohio’s strengthening economy as the state responsibly restarts in the midst of the pandemic. Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped three percentage points in the last month to 10.9%. The Lt. Governor also highlighted how Ohio companies continue to go to great lengths to support their employees and customers.

HOSPITAL INDICATORS

Beginning with tomorrow's updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, Governor DeWine announced that the ICU indicator will be enhanced to address concerns in the event ICU levels increase due to reasons other than COVID-19.

The indicator will trigger if ICU capacity for a county’s hospital region exceeds 80 percent of normal capacity and if 20 percent of the normal ICU capacity is being used for COVID-19 positive patients.

"The 80 percent indicator is a good early warning to measure increasing utilization of ICU services, and this enhancement improves the indicator to ensure we are capturing developments in ICU utilization related to COVID-19 and changes from unrelated things," said Governor DeWine. 

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System will also be updated in the coming weeks to include more localized testing data and an indicator related to known contacts spreading the virus when such local data is widely available.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 78,742 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,235 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 9,864 people have been hospitalized, including 2,386 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

July 17

19 Red Alert Level Three Counties, Executive Order, PPE Manufacturing Grants

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine announced today that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 19 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Upgraded to Level 3:

  • Athens*
  • Allen
  • Delaware
  • Licking
  • Lucas
  • Richland
  • Scioto
  • Union

Continuing at Level 3: 

  • Butler
  • Clermont
  • Cuyahoga
  • Fairfield
  • Franklin
  • Hamilton
  • Lorain
  • Montgomery
  • Pickaway
  • Summit
  • Wood

Downgraded to Level 2:

  • Trumbull

Athens County is also on Ohio's Watch List because it is closely nearing Purple Alert Level 4. Butler, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton counties were removed from the Watch List but the threat of exposure and spread remains high.

New counties upgraded to Red Alert Level 3 will be mandated to begin wearing masks in public beginning at 6 p.m. on July 17, 2020. Mask mandates will remain in effect in all counties continuing in Red Alert Level 3. Residents in Trumbull County are no longer required to wear masks in public, however, they are strongly encouraged to do so.

"As of tomorrow night at 6:00, nearly 60 percent of Ohio's population will be under a mask order, and I strongly encourage citizens living in other counties to wear masks in public as well," said Governor DeWine.

Detailed information on each Red Alert Level 3 county can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators

EXECUTIVE ORDER

Governor DeWine today signed an executive order to extend and improve emergency rules that will provide additional flexibilities to allow health care professionals to deliver services via telehealth.

Through the emergency rules, the executive order permits the use of audio, video, and even text messaging to allow people to access critical health care services while remaining socially distant and safe. This rule will apply to a variety of healthcare services, including critical mental health and addiction services.

PPE RETOOLING AND RESHORING GRANTS

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $20 million in grants to 68 Ohio manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and help ensure the safety of Ohioans during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring grants provide up to $500,000 to small and medium-sized manufacturers to expand production or convert their facility to start producing PPE including cleaning and sanitizing products, community dividers, components for ventilators, masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, nasal swabs, surgical masks, and thermometers. 

The projects are expected to create 829 new jobs and retain 1,133 existing jobs.  More than half of the awards will help small businesses with less than 25 employees. Grant funds can be used to retool or expand existing facilities in Ohio, construct new facilities, purchase equipment, or upgrade technology.  Projects must be complete by December 31, 2020.

Ohio small businesses can learn more about other resources available through Office of Small Business Relief and Development at www.Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp.

PPE DISTRIBUTION:

The Lt. Governor also announced that to date, Ohio has procured approximately 65 million pieces of PPE. This includes various types of face masks and shields, gloves, gowns, coveralls, and thermometers. Though not PPE, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) also ordered 1,000 ventilators. This includes purchases by the Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, DAS, and the Department of Health.

As of today, more than 50 million pieces of this PPE have been distributed across the state.

In addition to large and small companies, groups, and citizens who donated PPE, JobsOhio has been a consistent partner in this effort, allocating nearly $70 million for more than 40 million units of lifesaving PPE.

Next week, in an effort to help Ohio’s small businesses and their workers operate in a safe environment, JobsOhio and its six network partners will distribute 15,000 PPE toolkits, for a total of 1.5 million 3-ply masks, 150,000 KN95 masks, and 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. This initiative brings together partners at the local level as well as partners in the chamber of commerce and urban leagues across the state. These kits have already been allocated to small businesses across the state.  

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 70,601 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,103 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 9,324 people have been hospitalized, including 2,280 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

 

July 9

New Risk Levels, Higher Education Guidance, Funding for Schools, Homelessness Grant, IMAP Launch, SharedWork Program, Plasma Donation

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS

Governor DeWine announced today that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 12 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Upgraded to Level 3:

  • Clermont
  • Fairfield
  • Lorain
  • Pickaway
  • Summit
  • Wood

Continuing at Level 3: 

  • Butler*
  • Cuyahoga*
  • Franklin
  • Hamilton*
  • Montgomery
  • Trumbull

Downgraded to Level 2:

  • Huron

Three Red Alert Level 3 counties marked with a star (*) are on Ohio's Watch List as they are approaching Purple Alert Level 4. Franklin County was removed from the Watch List due to a decrease in hospital admissions.

Mask mandates for the new counties upgraded to Red Alert Level 3 will be mandated to begin wearing masks in public beginning at 6 p.m. on July 10, 2020. Residents in Huron County are no longer required to wear a mask in public, however, they are strongly encouraged to do so.

Governor DeWine announced the creation of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System last week to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators

HIGHER EDUCATION GUIDANCE:

The Ohio Department of Higher Education, in consultation with Ohio colleges, universities, the Ohio Department of Health, and health experts across the state have developed guidance to help campuses safely reopen.

The Responsible RestartOhio guidance for Institutions of Higher Education includes minimum operating standards for all campuses, as well as best practices to further enhance those standards.

"By implementing these minimum requirements and implementing best practices, our higher education communities can continue to educate students and prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Governor DeWine. 

Because each campus must develop policies and procedures related to COVID-19 testing, new Guidance for COVID-19 Testing at Institutions of Higher Education was also released to help institutions tailor their testing plan to their community and develop policies related to the isolation of symptomatic students, faculty, and staff members.

K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING: 

To help K-12 schools and institutions of higher education address increasing costs associated with the COVID-19 safety measures, Governor DeWine and leaders of the Ohio General Assembly are requesting that the Ohio Controlling Board approve an initial request on Monday to allocate $200 million for higher education and $100 million for K-12 schools from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. 

"This funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars to help schools meet their unique individual needs," said Governor DeWine. "We intend for this funding to be very flexible to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

The funding would be available to all public and private schools and for all two and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, including adult career tech providers.

The funding request is in addition to the more than $440 million in direct federal CARES Act funding that Ohio K-12 schools are receiving and the more than $190 million in direct federal funding provided to Ohio's colleges and universities.

HOMELESSNESS GRANT: 

Governor DeWine announced that he is awarding an additional grant of $15 million to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. 

The funds will be used to support homelessness prevention efforts and rapidly rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness who could be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, especially those in congregate facilities such as homeless shelters.  

The grant funding is in addition to a $1 million grant that Governor DeWine award the coalition in April which helped to keep hundreds of Ohioans safely housed during the pandemic. 

IMAP LAUNCH:

Lt. Governor Husted announced the launch of the Individual Micro-credential Assistance Program (IMAP) which will provide $2.5 million in grants to help unemployed Ohioans earn in-demand, technology-focused credentials that will give them a leg up in finding a job in the increasingly tech-focused economy.

The grant application is open to training providers, such as universities, colleges, Ohio technical centers, or private sector training businesses. Training providers who receive awards will be reimbursed up to $3,000 for each completed technology-focused credential issued and up to $250,000 per provider.

The program was created in partnership with the Ohio House of Representatives. 

Training providers interested in applying can find more information at IMAP.Development.Ohio.gov. The deadline to apply is July 24, 2020.

SHAREDWORK PROGRAM: 

Governor DeWine recently signed an executive order enabling the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to use federal funding authorized under the CARES Act to enhance the state’s SharedWork program.

Participating employers agree to reduce the affected employees’ hours by a uniform percentage, between 10 percent and 50 percent, for up to 52 weeks. In return, those employees receive SharedWork compensation (which is a prorated unemployment benefit) and, while federally available, may also receive the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit each week.

Since March 15, ODJFS has approved 909 employers who have participated in 1,680 SharedWork Ohio plans, benefiting 46,352 participating employees.

For more information visit jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SharedWorkOhio.

PLASMA DONATION

Lt. Governor Husted encouraged Ohioans who have been fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks to consider donating plasma. 

"Convalescent plasma, which is plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, is rich in antibodies that could possibly attack the virus that causes COVID-19," said Lt. Governor Husted. "Although the treatment of COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma remains in the investigation stage, it shows promise to lessen the severity or shorten the length of COVID-19 and is something that could potentially save lives in our continual fight against the coronavirus."

For more information or to sign up to donate, visit redcrossblood.org/plasma4covid or contact a local blood donor or plasma collection center.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA: 

There are 61,331 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,006 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 8,570 people have been hospitalized, including 2,146 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

 

July 8

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

Director's Order for Facial Coverings in Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery, and Trumbull Counties in Level 3 Public Health Advisory

 

July 7

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that effective on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., a new Ohio Department of Health order will mandate face coverings in public in all counties that are designated as a Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency or a Purple Alert Level 4 Public Health Emergency. 

Currently, seven counties in Ohio are designated at Red Alert Level 3 which indicates that those in these counties have a very high risk of exposure and spread: 

  • Butler County
  • Cuyahoga County
  • Franklin County
  • Hamilton County
  • Huron County
  • Montgomery County
  • Trumbull County

As of today, no counties have reached Purple Alert Level 4, however, Franklin County is approaching this top tier. 

"In addition to social distancing and reducing unnecessary interactions with others, we know that wearing a mask helps protect others in the community.  It has been, and remains, a very strong recommendation that I urge all Ohioans to continue doing even if you are not in a red-alert county," said Governor DeWine. "In red-alert and purple-alert counties, however, we must do more to help protect citizens because the risk of spread is increasing even more."

Last week, Governor DeWine announced the creation of Ohio's Public Health Advisory System, which consists of four alert levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. Each level is calculated based on seven data-driven health indicators.

Those in counties designated as Red Alert Level 3 or Purple Alert Level 4 are required to wear a face covering: 

  • In any indoor location that is not a residence;
  • When outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household; or
  • While waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.

The order does not apply to children under the age of 10 or any other minor who cannot safely wear a face covering. The order also reflects the mask guidance in place for employees and businesses which does not require a person to wear a mask if their physician advises against it, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, if communicating with the hearing impaired, when alone in an office or personal workspace, and other similar measures.

Schools that offer Kindergarten through Grade 12 instruction should follow the guidelines set forth last week by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health. 

The Ohio Department of Health will update county rankings every Thursday. Any county that increases to Red Alert Level 3 will automatically be included in the face-covering mandate. Any county that decreases from Red Alert Level 3 to Orange Alert Level 2 will automatically be released from the face-covering requirement. 

CURRENT OHIO DATA:

There are 58,904 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,970 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 8,383 people have been hospitalized, including 2,101 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for July 7 - July 12 are listed below. 

 

July 2

School Guidelines, Public Health Advisory System 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

K-12 SCHOOL GUIDANCE: 

Governor DeWine today announced new guidance for resuming school in the fall.

"We know that each school system, and perhaps each school building, will likely look different in the fall.  We also know that Ohio has a long history of local control and that school administrators and teachers know their schools best," said Governor DeWine. "Working together and consulting with educators and other health officials, we have developed a set of guidelines, backed by science, that each school should follow when developing their reopening plans."

The newly issued guidance report advises schools to vigilantly assess symptoms, wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread, thoroughly clean and sanitize the school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces, practice social distancing, and implement a face coverings policy. 

"Just as we have done in the business sector with employees, we are requiring school staff to wear face coverings to reduce the spread of the virus, unless it is unsafe or when doing so could significantly interfere with the learning process.  When face coverings aren’t practical, face shields may be considered," said Governor DeWine. "We strongly recommend that students in 3rd grade and up wear face coverings as well."  

More details on the new school guidance will soon be available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

To assist schools in their efforts to implement the guidance, the Ohio Department of Education has created a document titled, “The Reset and Restart Education Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts,” which is designed to help teachers, principals, and administrators with solutions to safety challenges.  The document provides resources and information for community decision-makers as they contemplate how to reopen safely.

The guidance announced today was developed in consultation with school superintendents, teachers, parents, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, Ohio Association of Public School Employees, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Alliance for High Quality Education, and Ohio Association of Career Tech Education.

Governor DeWine today also committed to working with the Ohio General Assembly on a plan to ensure that federal CARES Act dollars are made available to Ohio’s school districts for unforeseen expenses associated with creating a safe environment. 

PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY ALERT SYSTEM: 

Governor DeWine announced today that going forward, Ohio will maintain vital, necessary baseline orders to control the spread of COVID-19 while also implementing a new alert system. 

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System will provide local health departments and community leaders data and information to combat flare-ups as they occur in different parts of the state. The system consists of four levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of the problem in the counties in which they live.

"Our new Public Health Advisory System will help make clear the very real dangers happening in individual counties across Ohio," said Governor DeWine. "This is a color-coded system built on a data-driven framework to assess the degree of the virus’ spread and to inform, engage, and empower individuals, businesses, communities, local governments, and others in their response and actions."

Data Indicators: 

A county's alert level is determined by seven data indicators:

  1. New Cases Per Capita
  2. Sustained Increase in New Cases
  3. Proportion of Cases that Are Not Congregate Cases
  4. Sustained Increase in Emergency Room Visits
  5. Sustained Increase in Outpatient Visits
  6. Sustained Increase in New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions
  7. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Bed Occupancy

Additional measurements still in development include county-level data on contact tracing, tests per capita, and percent positivity. 

Detailed descriptions for each indicator can be found on coronavirus.ohio.gov

Alert Levels:

Alert Level 1 Public Emergency (Yellow):
Baseline level. County has met zero or one indicator. Active exposure and spread. Follow all health orders. 

Alert Level 2 Public Emergency (Orange): County has met two or three indicators. Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution. Follow all current health orders. 

Alert Level 3 Public Emergency (Red): County has met four or five indicators. Very high exposure and spread. Limit Activities as much as possible. Follow all current health orders. 

Alert Level 4 Public Emergency (Purple): County has met six or seven indicators. Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services. Follow all current health orders. 

Counties that are approaching Alert Level 4 are indicated with a star.

Each alert level includes specific risk-level guidelines, including the requirement that all citizens comply with all health orders.

Profiles for the seven counties currently categorized in Alert Level 3 can be found below and are also available on the new Ohio Public Health Advisory System website

RESTAURANTS & BARS: 

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control has granted over 300 expansion requests to bars and restaurants to allow patrons more opportunities to enjoy dinner or drinks in a safe environment.

Liquor Control has been working with local jurisdictions to extend liquor permits to outside spaces next to bars, such as parking lots and sidewalks, to expand seating capacity outside to keep patrons socially distanced.  

"We encourage owners to continue to work with us and their local governments to come up with creative ways to expand their outdoor seating capacity so that everyone can stay safe and be socially distanced," said Governor DeWine. "I ask our restaurant and bar owners to continue to insist on social distancing and other efforts to control the spread.  This is absolutely vital."

PRESUMED RECOVERED DATA:

Lt. Governor Husted announced that "Presumed Recovered" is a new data point now reported in Ohio's COVID-19 data metrics shared on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

"Many have been asking why the number of people recovered isn’t reported and that's because this data isn’t reported to the Ohio Department of Health, so we don’t have an exact figure," said Lt. Governor Husted. "However, we can presume what that number is based on the other data we have." 

Ohio's current presumed-recovered count is 38,987.

 

June 29

Increases in Hospitalizations and Positivity Rate, Nursing Home Visitation, Order Extension

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOSPITALIZATIONS:

Last week was the first week of increasing COVID-19 hospital utilization in Ohio after over two months of decreasing utilization since late April. From June 21, 2020, to June 27, 2020, Ohio had approximately 500 to 550 total COVID-19 patients in hospitals statewide. This week, there are approximately 650 COVID-19 patients in hospitals statewide.

In comparison, the number of standard hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients had peaked in late April and early May at about 1,000 and reached a low of 513 on June 20th.

"Thankfully, ICU and ventilator utilization at the state level is still holding steady, but we are seeing increases in some areas of the state, such as in the Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati areas," said Governor DeWine. "In other regions of the state, COVID-19 hospital occupancy had been declining but now appears to have leveled off."

Although COVID-19 utilization in hospitals is increasing, there is still adequate overall capacity available across the state as of today. No region has reached the concern threshold of 80 percent overall utilization for ICU beds, however lessons of recent history in NYC, Houston, and Arizona indicate that this can quickly change.

POSITIVITY RATE:

Governor DeWine explained that the increase in positive COVID-19 cases is not fully due to Ohio's increase in testing.

"Ohio's positivity rate has increased slightly as our testing totals have increased," said Governor DeWine. "If the spread of this virus remained at a low level, more testing should show a lower positivity. The increase of our positivity rate, even as we are doing more testing, means that we are likely picking up signs of broader community spread."

NURSING HOME VISITATION:

Governor DeWine announced that beginning July 20, 2020, nursing homes are permitted to begin outdoor visitation as long as all safety standards are met. 

When assessing their readiness to permit outdoor visitation, nursing homes should consider:

  • Case status in the surrounding community
  • Case status in the nursing home
  • Staffing levels
  • Access to adequate testing for residents and staff
  • Personal protective equipment supplies
  • Local hospital capacity

The decision to move forward with outdoor visitation considered requests from families and residents and the impact on the quality of life that a prolonged loss of connection can have on an individual. The plan was made in consultation with advocates and providers in the aging and development disabilities communities. Guidelines for visitation were jointly developed by the Academy for Senior Health Sciences, Leading Age Ohio, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Health Care Association, and the Ohio Medical Directors Association.

"We are confident that our approach provides each facility the flexibility needed to assess their readiness to safely facilitate outdoor visitation and to do so in a transparent way that keeps residents and families informed," said Governor DeWine.

The order and related guidance will be made available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Questions may also be directed to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an office within the Ohio Department of Aging, at 1-800-282-1206.

EXTENSION OF ORDERS: 

Governor DeWine announced that he is extending existing health orders through this week as his administration finalizes vital plans to help local schools safely reopen, as well as plans to keep Ohioans healthy and safe.

"These plans will take us into the next phase, a distinct and different phase of continuing to keep Ohio open as we head into the second half of 2020," said Governor DeWine. 

Details on this new phase are anticipated to be released on Thursday. 

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 51,046 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,818 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,746 people have been hospitalized, including 1,961 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for June 29 - July 2 are listed below. 

 

June 25

Increase in Positive Cases, 2-1-1

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

INCREASE IN POSITIVE CASES - HAMILTON COUNTY REGION

Governor DeWine invited President and CEO of UC Health Richard P. Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP to give an update on the status of COVID-19 in Hamilton County and the surrounding areas.

The effective reproductive ratio, also known as R naught, measures how many people will be infected by a sick individual. The R naught had reached 2.4 in that region in April. In recent weeks, the R naught had declined to below one. However, in the last 10 days, the R naught has doubled over the last 10 days in the Cincinnati region.

Dr. Lofgren explained that the increase in cases is not only due to the tests being performed, but the increase shows there is a greater presence of the COVID-19 in the area, and it is spreading in the community. He said it serves as a reminder about the importance of wearing a mask in public, washing your hands, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, and keeping social distance.

OHIO 2-1-1 

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will continue funding for the valuable 2-1-1 service as Ohio enters into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2-1-1 is a phone service that connects thousands of Ohioans to local non-profit and government services for healthcare, food and meals, housing, transportation, mental health, and legal services.

At the beginning of the year, the service was available in 51 of Ohio’s 88 counties.  When the pandemic began, Ohio EMA asked Ohio AIRS, the non-profit that governs Ohio 2-1-1, to provide service to the remaining 37 counties in Ohio, which happened in March. 

"Often, people in need require help getting connected to services, and we know that the need has grown remarkably during this unprecedented time," said Governor DeWine. "The 2-1-1 service is particularly important for those most vulnerable in our state who have been hit by COVID-19 the hardest."

Ohioans can also dial 877-721-8476 to get connected to 2-1-1.

CURRENT OHIO DATA: 

There are 47,651 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,772 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,502 people have been hospitalized, including 1,897 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio. Pop-up testing locations for June 29 - July 2 are listed below. 

June 23

Public Awareness Campaigns, Fireworks, Criminal Justice Grants

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS

Governor DeWine today announced two public awareness campaigns aimed at spreading awareness of COVID-19 prevention measures that impact the well-being of Ohioans and the Ohio economy.

“The messages of these ads are clear,” said Governor DeWine. “Ohioans, by continuing to practice good prevention, can do two things at once, help stop the spread of COVID-19, and responsibly and safely get back to work.”

FIREWORKS: 

Lt. Governor Husted noted today that Independence Day fireworks shows can proceed, but large gatherings are still prohibited at this time. He encouraged any community that plans on holding a fireworks event to do so safely. Spectators are encouraged to find ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in small groups such as by watching displays from their porches, backyards, or cars. 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE GRANTS:

Governor DeWine announced the first round of funding being distributed to local criminal justice entities as part of the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant.

Approximately $2.1 million will be awarded to a total of 65 local criminal justice agencies including law enforcement, probation/parole offices, corrections agencies, courts, and victim service providers. 

The funding can be used toward COVID-19 expenses such as cleaning supplies, PPE, and medical supplies like thermometers. The funding will also be used to pay for technology upgrades that are needed for teleworking or other virtual services.

A complete list of today's grant recipients can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov

A total of nearly $16 million was awarded to Ohio's Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) for this program as part of the CARES Act. OCJS continues to process other grant applications they’ve already received and are still accepting new applications from agencies that have not yet requested funding.

More information on how to apply can be found at www.ocjs.ohio.gov

 

June 18

Case Increases in Children and in Southwest Ohio, PPE Readiness Stockpile, Good Cause, OhioMeansJobs, Resuming Sports Phase II

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SOUTHWEST OHIO CASE INCREASE:

Governor DeWine announced today that although Ohio is seeing an overall declining number of COVID-19 cases, there is currently an uptick in cases in Southwest Ohio. 

Increases are being seen in Montgomery County, Greene County, Clark County, Warren County, and Hamilton County. Case counts in these counties by zip code can be found on coronavirus.ohio.gov

In response to this increase in cases, Governor DeWine announced that pop-up testing sites will surge into the zip codes with the highest number of cases. Testing at pop-up sites is free, and citizens are not required to live in the community where the pop-up site is located to receive a test. 

New pop-up testing sites will also be scheduled in other locations to ensure testing accessibility throughout the state. A list of sites currently scheduled in Ohio is available on coronavirus.ohio.gov on the COVID-19 Minority Health Testing page. 

INCREASE IN COVID-19 CASES IN CHILDREN:

Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease doctor and associate medical director for infection control at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, today provided information on an increase in the percentage of children testing positive for COVID-19 at Rainbow Babies. 

"What we've really been seeing recently is an increase of the percent of tests that are coming back positive, particularly in symptomatic children - meaning that for kids who have symptoms of a respiratory viral disease, a larger percent of them are coronavirus than earlier in the pandemic," Dr. Edwards said. "It's to be expected as the state opens that we're going to start to see more positive kids, but that rate has been going up, and it is something we're keeping our eye on. It hasn't gone up dramatically, about 5 - 6 percent or so, but it has been a steady increase, and it has not stopped increasing as of yet."

Dr. Edwards said that hospital admissions for COVID-19 in children at Rainbow Babies have also increased. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 in kids are similar to symptoms in adults. If your child seems to be having trouble breathing or is not eating or drinking, Dr. Edwards recommends calling your pediatrician to get your child tested. 

In addition, Dr. Edwards reported that cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children have also increased at Rainbow Babies. Symptoms include high fever, rash, red eyes, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains. More information on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is available at uhhospitals.org

HOSPITAL PPE READINESS STOCKPILE:

Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new Hospital PPE Readiness Stockpile, which will be compiled and stored by Ohio hospitals throughout the state. Items in the PPE stockpile will be distributed to residents and staff at long-term care facilities should there be an increase in COVID-19 cases.    

"Having a stockpile like this is incredibly important, especially for long-term care facilities like nursing homes," said Governor DeWine. "With the recent changes to visitation rules, we must continue to recognize that these Ohioans are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and that spikes may occur in congregate living facilities."

Hospitals have begun to build a 30-day reserve of PPE based on several calculations, including the state’s surge models, the number of residents and staff at Ohio nursing homes, as well as recent FEMA PPE allocations to each Ohio nursing home. Each hospital will have a different amount of stockpile that is calculated specifically for the region. 

The stockpile is a collaborative effort between the Ohio Hospital Association, hospitals throughout the state, and several state agencies, including the departments of Health, Medicaid, and Public Safety. 

GOOD CAUSE EXECUTIVE ORDER: 

For the seventh straight week, renewals of unemployment claims have declined. Last week, more than a quarter a million fewer people filed for continued unemployment insurance than they did during the COVID-19 unemployment peak.  

Governor DeWine signed an executive order that expands the definition of good cause throughout the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Good Cause now includes the following situations:

  • A medical professional recommends that an individual not return to work because that person falls into a category that is considered high-risk for catching COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their employee cannot offer teleworking options.
  • The employee is 65 years of age or older.
  • There is tangible evidence of a health and safety violation by the employer that does not allow the employee to practice social distancing, hygiene, and wearing personal protective equipment.
  • The individual has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and subject to a quarantine period as prescribed by a medical or health professional.
  • The individual must stay home to care for a family member who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional.

OHIO MEANS JOBS: 

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that because most of Ohio's economy is now open, the coronavirus.ohio.gov/JobSearch website will transition back to Ohio's regular job-search website, OhioMeansJobs.com

OhioMeansJobs.com currently has over 120,000 job postings, with almost half paying over $50,000. Approximately 76,000 jobs require less than a bachelor’s degree, while 36,000 require either a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree. Approximately 77 percent of the job openings are considered in-demand. 

RESUMING SPORTS ACTIVITIES: 

Lt. Governor Husted also announced that Phase II of the Responsible RestartOhio plan for sports activities will allow contact practice for all sports to resume on Monday, June 22. 

"This means football, lacrosse, and other contact sports can resume scrimmages and full training regiments as long as safety protocols are observed," said Lt. Governor Husted. "Although June 22 is the day contact practice may begin, it will ultimately be up to local sports organizers and high school leaders on when is the best time to proceed."

Training guidance is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The Ohio High School Athletic Association and the summer league work group worked together with the Ohio Department of Health on this plan. 

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 39,973 confirmed cases
    • 3,149 probable cases  
    • 43,122 total cases
    • 7,104 hospitalizations
    • 2,401 confirmed deaths
    • 232 probable deaths
    • 2,633 total deaths
    • 1,807 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

 

June 16

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:

 

Basic Reproduction Number, Pop-Up Sites, Multi-System Youth Grant

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM: 

More than 65,000 children a day are expected to take part in Ohio's Summer Food Service Program this summer. With more than 1,500 sites across the state, many of the programs have set up new guidelines for distributing food to kids.

Additional information can be found at education.ohio.gov/kidseat or by calling 866-3-HUNGRY.    

BASIC REPRODUCTION NUMBER:

Governor DeWine released 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 at 0.87 on June 7. Ohio is beginning to see the R0 plateau in Region 7 and 8. 

POP-UP SITES:

Governor DeWine announced additional pop-up testing sites will be available throughout the state this week. Testing began this morning at CityLink Center in Cincinnati and will also be available on Thursday and Friday from 10:00am until 3:00pm. Testing will resume at the CityLink Center next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

Tomorrow testing will be available at the Centerpoint Health Community Building Institute in Middletown, Ohio, from 10:00am to 2:00pm. 

Additional temporary pop-up testing locations will be in Elyria, Portsmouth, Xenia, and other locations. More information on pop-up sites can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE:

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will borrow money to meet its unemployment obligation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state requested $3.1 billion in borrowing authority from the U.S. Department of Labor. This is not an unprecedented situation, Ohio borrowed more than $3.3 billion during the last recession and joins states such as California and Texas in borrowing money during this crisis. 

HOUSES OF WORSHIP REMINDER:

Governor DeWine reminded houses of worship to continue utilizing the best practices when resuming in-person services. While these are not requirements, they are best practices that include having families sit socially-distant from other families; encouraging members to wear face coverings; and eliminating the touching of common surfaces, such as the collection basket and hymnals, as much as possible.  

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

MULTI-SYSTEM YOUTH GRANT:

Governor DeWine announced $1 million in grant funding to Ohio’s local Family and Children First Councils (FCFC). Local FCFC’s serve some for Ohio’s must vulnerable children and often need services from many different agencies. These grant dollars will help local FCFC’s ensure that children can continue to connect with their loved ones and access essential medical services.

OBM, INNOVATEOHIO SAVINGS:

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and InnovateOhio have identified $950,027 in savings to state taxpayers through data analytics applied to state agency spending ledgers. These are actual taxpayer dollars recovered, not just potential savings identified. The total dollar amount of duplicate payments identified totals $1,008,876, leaving $58,849 still in the process of being recovered.

The total number of confirmed duplicate payments identified by InnovateOhio from January 2019 to May 2020 is 107 across 27 different agencies, boards, and commissions. The duplicate payments tool was initially announced in November 2019. The initial release is available on the InnovateOhio website.

FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY:

Lt. Governor Husted also reminded Ohioans to be on alert for individuals that may want to take advantage of them with potential fraudulent cures, work-from-home offers, and messages asking for personal information.  

He also warned Ohioans of fraudulent unemployment claims. For resources on how to protect your personal information and protect yourself from fraud, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or the Ohio Department of Commerce, or the Ohio Department of Insurance websites.  If you think you have been a victim of fraud contact the Ohio Attorney General office.

 

June 11

Testing Expansion, R0 in Ohio, Place of Worship Best Practices, New Role for Dr. Acton, ODJFS Employment/Training Grant

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Testing locations in Ohio can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov

TESTING EXPANSION:

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio is expanding testing and 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. 

BASIC REPRODUCTION NUMBER:

Governor DeWine today released 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

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

"Although Ohio never closed churches, synagogues, mosques, or other places of worship during this pandemic, we know that most of them stopped holding their traditional in-person services and found other ways to worship to protect their members and the communities where they serve," said Governor DeWine. "Just as we did with industry, outdoor activities, and entertainment, we have put together some suggested best practices for places of worship to keep in mind as they reopen."

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

NEW ROLE FOR DR. AMY ACTON: 

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: 

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.

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 37,120 confirmed cases
    • 2,884 probable cases  
    • 40,004 total cases
    • 6,753 hospitalizations
    • 2,263 confirmed deaths
    • 227 probable deaths
    • 2,490 total deaths
    • 1,732 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

 

June 9

UPDATE: Mass Protest Standard, PPE Update, GOJO Expansion

Governor DeWine today directed Ohio's Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to begin developing uniform minimum standards related to mass protests.

"When protests morph from peaceful to violent, law enforcement must be empowered to act, but our peaceful demonstrators must also feel safe when asserting their First Amendment rights," said Governor DeWine. "A statewide standard for law enforcement will be beneficial to help standardize Ohio's response to large, ongoing protests in the future." 

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. 

PPE UPDATE: 

As of last week, Ohio has distributed over 30 million pieces of PPE.  Sources of these resources include donations, FEMA, JobsOhio purchases, and purchases by state agencies such as our 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 has also sent over 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 a recently issued 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 today announced that it is expanding in Navarre and Maple Heights to meet the demand for their products that are helping fight COVID-19. 

The projects are expected to create 200 new jobs.

“GOJO is an Ohio-grown company whose products, including its PURELL® products are helping us combat the pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. “These new investments demonstrate the confidence GOJO has in Ohio’s talent, which is hard at work producing and distributing critical PURELL® products used worldwide.”

 

June 5

Additional Reopening Dates, Order Signed, Ohio National Guard 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates. 

ADDITIONAL REOPENINGS: 

Governor DeWine announced today that the following sectors are permitted to reopen on June 19, 2020:

  • Casinos
  • Racinos
  • Amusement parks
  • Water parks

Governor DeWine also authorized the Memorial Golf Tournament to be held from July 13th to 19th. 

"In all of these cases, these sectors have come up with plans that reduce the number of people, provide for sanitation, and in some cases, provide for one-way traffic," said Governor DeWine. "They are elaborate plans that we believe are consistent with protecting the public."

ASSISTED LIVING VISITATION ORDER: 

Dr. Acton has signed the Third Amended Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities, with Exceptions. 

This order allows properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities to begin to allow outdoor visitation on June 8. The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes. 

OHIO NATIONAL GUARD: 

Governor DeWine announced today that he has directed Adjutant General John C. Harris Jr. to work with Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath to set up enhanced procedures to ensure that members of the Ohio National Guard do not have ties to hate groups.

The announcement comes after a member of the Ohio National Guard was removed from a mission in Washington, D.C., after the FBI uncovered information that the individual expressed white supremacist ideology on the internet prior to the assignment.

"While I fully support everyone's right to free speech, the men and women of our National Guard are sworn to protect all of us, regardless of race, ethnic background, or religion," said Governor DeWine. "Our Ohio National Guard members are in a position of trust and authority during times of crisis, and anyone who displays malice toward specific groups of Americans has no place serving."

The Ohio National Guard and Ohio Department of Public Safety are fully cooperating with the FBI investigation. The Guardsman has been suspended from all missions at this time, and following due process, it is highly likely that he will be permanently removed from the Ohio National Guard.  

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 35,096 confirmed cases
    • 2,662 probable cases  
    • 37,758 total cases
    • 6,385 hospitalizations
    • 2,135 confirmed deaths
    • 220 probable deaths
    • 2,355 total deaths
    • 1,632 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

 

COVID-19 Small Business Relief

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the creation of three programs to help small and medium-sized businesses in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs outlined below will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency.

Ohio small businesses can learn more about these and other resources available through the Office of Small Business Relief and Development at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp.

OHIO PPE RETOOLING AND RESHORING GRANT PROGRAM

This program will provide awards of up to $500,000 to small and medium-sized manufacturers so they can repurpose existing facilities to make PPE or reshore PPE production to Ohio. These grants will allow small manufacturers and other entities an opportunity to create new business while contributing to the fight against COVID-19.

Grant funds can be used to offset costs incurred to acquire equipment necessary to manufacture PPE, retool, or construct facilities in Ohio to manufacture PPE (including, but not limited to, building costs, design/engineering costs, facility expansion, complying with FDA requirements) and technological upgrades. Only costs incurred after March 21, 2020, (the date of Governor DeWine’s state of emergency declaration in Ohio due to COVID-19) will be eligible for reimbursement.

The grant program will be funded with $20 million, and eligible manufacturers may be awarded grants of up to $500,000 per facility. Up to 20 percent of available funding may be reserved for manufacturers with fewer than 25 employees and registered nonprofits.

Companies must meet program requirements, including:

  • The applicant must qualify as a small business as defined by the SBA (typically 500 employees or fewer) or be an established nonprofit.
  • The applicant must be able to produce the PPE solely at an Ohio facility owned and operated by the applicant.
  • The applicant must be one of the following:
    • An existing manufacturer that either has retooled or is planning to retool its facility or otherwise modify its manufacturing operation to produce at least one type of PPE.
    • A new manufacturing operation being established for the purpose of manufacturing at least one type of PPE.
    • A nonprofit corporation that has undertaken or will undertake activities necessary to manufacture at least one type of PPE.

Development will administer the grant program in coordination with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Hospital Association, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, JobsOhio, and the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

OHIO MINORITY MICRO-ENTERPRISE GRANT PROGRAM

The $5 million program will provide grants to help businesses owned and operated by minorities and women in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible businesses can apply for grants of $10,000 per business on first-come, first-served basis. This will provide access to much needed capital for up to 500 minority- and women-owned businesses to continue operating now and to prepare for the future.

State-certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and/or women-owned businesses with state certification in the Encouraging Diversity Growth and Equity (EDGE) Program with up to $500,000 in annual revenue and 10 or fewer employees are eligible. Businesses that have received federal assistance through the federal CARES Act are not be eligible.

APPALACHIAN REGION LOAN PROGRAM

This loan program will benefit small businesses in the 32-county Appalachian region of Ohio that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative will loan $10 million to Appalachian Growth Capital LLC, which is a U.S. Treasury - certified Community Development Financial Institution serving Appalachian counties in eastern and southern Ohio. Appalachian Growth Capital then will offer low-interest loans to small businesses in the region to help them through the current economic crisis and position them for a stronger future.

The maximum loan amount will be $500,000, and businesses will have the ability to defer payment for up to six months. Businesses can apply at appcap.org. Development will administer the loan to Appalachian Growth Capital.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

ONLINE:

Please visit www.Coronavirus.Ohio.gov for the most up-to-date information from the Ohio Department of Health.

PHONE:

For any questions you have about COVID-19, please call 1 (833) 4-ASK-ODH from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m (7 days/week)

 

June 4

Governor Announces Orders To Reopen Certain Facilities

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced the reopening of certain facilities including certain entertainment facilities with health and safety restrictions.

“As I’ve said, Ohioans are able to do two things at once. We can continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 while we safely reopen our economy. It is up to each of us to do what we can to keep each other safe and choose to keep six feet of social distance, wear masks, and maintain good hand hygiene.” said Governor DeWine. “The threat of COVID-19 remains and while it’s our responsibility to keep each other safe, business owners and employees should do their part to ensure customers visit safely, by cleaning and sanitizing surfaces regularly.”

Day camps and residential camps may open at any time.  Entertainment venues listed below may open beginning June 10th if they are able to follow Retail, Consumer, Service & Entertainment Guidelines and other applicable additional guidance:

  • Aquariums
  • Art galleries
  • Country clubs
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Indoor family entertainment centers
  • Indoor sports facilities
  • Laser tag facilities
  • Movie theaters (indoor)
  • Museums
  • Playgrounds (outdoor)
  • Public recreation centers
  • Roller skating rinks
  • Social clubs
  • Trampoline parks
  • Zoos

Health orders will be posted on coronavirus.ohio.gov when available. 

Additional information and sector specific operating requirements can be found on the Responsible RestartOhio page coronavirus.ohio.gov/ResponsibleRestartOhio.

 

June 3

Disparity, K-12 Reopening, Medical Procedures, Funding Opportunities for Businesses 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates. 

OHIO DISPARITY: 

Governor DeWine announced today that he is intensifying efforts in Ohio to improve issues of health and economic disparities, racism, and inequity. 

"I am seeking dialogue to solve these problems and seeking strategies for the implementation of reforms," said Governor DeWine. "Whether it is in the urban core or the hills of Appalachia, we have Ohioans who are not living up to their God-given potential because they simply do not have the same opportunities. That is wrong, and we have a moral obligation to change that.

"Race is indisputably a factor in all kinds of health, education, and economic disparities.  The divisions of race have plagued us since our country’s inception. 

"While there are no simple solutions, we must be a positive voice in advancing change for all of those who are marginalized and in creating equity in health, education, and economic opportunity."

The efforts will include new plans to improve law enforcement access to quality training, enhancing transparency between the police and the public, recruiting more minorities to serve as peace officers, and adding more oversight to Ohio's law enforcement agencies to ensure accountability.

Other continuing work will include addressing lead paint poisoning in children, reducing infant and maternal mortality in the African American community, increasing home visiting programs for at-risk, first-time moms, fighting the drug epidemic in Ohio, and prioritizing the availability of mental health services in Ohio's schools for children who need them.

K-12 REOPENING UPDATE: 

Governor DeWine announced today that, as of right now, Ohio intends to reopen schools in the fall, but individual starting dates will be up to each local school board. 

In the near future, broad reopening guidelines will be issued for schools in regard to protecting the health of students and staff when the school year resumes.

MEDICAL SURGERIES/PROCEDURES:

Governor DeWine announced today that health care providers, including dentists, may resume all surgeries and procedures that had previously been delayed if they meet safety criteria, including: 

  • Maintaining adequate inventories of PPE, supplies, equipment, and medicine
  • Creating a plan for the conservation and monitoring use of PPE, as well as other supplies and equipment that could include decontamination and reuse
  • Maintaining a reliable supply chain to support non-COVID-19 cases and to respond to an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases, if needed
  • Defining processes for timely COVID-19 testing of patients and staff
  • Continuing the use of telehealth whenever possible.

Additional information can be found in the new Ohio Department of Health Director's Order that Amends the Requirements for Non-Essential Surgeries and Procedures. 

OHIO BUSINESS FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: 

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the creation of three programs to help small and medium-sized businesses in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency:

  • Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program
  • Ohio Minority Micro-Enterprise Grant Program
  • Appalachian Region Loan Program

Ohio small businesses can learn more about these and other resources available through the Office of Small Business Relief and Development at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp.

PANDEMIC EBT PROGRAM: 

First Lady Fran DeWine joined Mr. Red of the Cleveland Indians and Slider from the Cincinnati Reds in a special video message for Ohioans related to the Pandemic EBT Program. 

Ohio was approved for the federal P-EBT Program on May 12 in response to Ohio children who missed out on their free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch at school because of COVID-19. Now, children are starting to receive that benefit – representing the meals they missed – in the form of a credit to spend at local grocery stores and other retailers. Because Ohio schools physically closed for more than 50 days, the benefit amounts to approximately $300 per child.

For most of the 507,000 Ohio children who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the P-EBT benefit was loaded onto their card recently. For 343,000 Ohio children who do not currently receive SNAP benefits, a P-EBT card will be sent in the mail. This benefit is automatic. Families are not required to sign up for this program.

Families can call the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at 866-244-0071 with questions.

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 33,892 confirmed cases
    • 2,521 probable cases  
    • 36,350 total cases
    • 6,176 hospitalizations
    • 2,041 confirmed deaths
    • 217 probable deaths
    • 2,258 total deaths
    • 1,583 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

 

May 30

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following order has been signed by  Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH:

 

May 29

Health Order Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following orders have been signed by  Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH:

 

May 28

COVID-19 Update: Testing, Assisted Living Visitation, Premium Deferrals, Fairs

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PHARMACY TESTING:

Governor DeWine announced today that the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has clarified rules that allow pharmacists to order and administer tests for COVID-19. 

"As frontline health care providers, pharmacies are critical in our state’s response to this pandemic," said Governor DeWine. "I have asked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to make sure that Ohio pharmacies have what they need to test for COVID-19."

To help Ohioans find testing locations, a map has been added to coronavirus.ohio.gov that lists COVID-19 testing centers in Ohio. The map includes links to community health centers and pharmacy sites to assist citizens in finding information about how to get a test referral or schedule an appointment.

UPDATED PRIORITY TESTING: 

Ohio has utilized COVID-19 testing priorities to manage limited testing capacity.  Under the guidance of clinical experts, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has modified these groups in light of changes in testing availability and evolving knowledge of COVID-19 and its impact on Ohioans.

Testing must be first available to individuals described in Priority Groups 1, 2 and 3, but Ohio is expanding to allow partners and communities to test Ohioans in Priority Group 4 which includes testing “Individuals in the community to decrease community spread, including individuals with symptoms who do not meet any of the above categories.”

"Expanded test availability will allow individuals in lower-risk tiers to be tested and to help further contain and respond to COVID-19 in Ohio," said Governor DeWine. 

ASSISTED LIVING VISITATION: 

Governor DeWine announced a plan to lift restrictions on visitation at assisted living homes in Ohio. 

Beginning on June 8, 2020, properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation.

The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes. 

"We will continue to examine, monitor, and adjust as we carefully and thoughtfully lift restrictions on visitation," said Governor DeWine. "The well-being of our residents has been, and remains, central to our decision-making." 

The decision to move forward with outdoor visitation for assisting living facilities and intermediate care facilities was made while considering requests from families and residents and considering the impact on the quality of life a prolonged loss of connection can have on an individual. Advocates and providers in the aging and development disabilities communities were also consulted, and guidelines for visitation were jointly developed by the Academy for Senior Health Sciences, Leading Age Ohio, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Health Care Association, and the Ohio Medical Director’s Association.

Because each facility is different, each facility can determine how to best implement outdoor visitations, however, at a minimum, all facilities must develop a policy that includes:

  • Screening for temperatures and symptom-reporting for visitors
  • Scheduled hours and time limits for visits
  • Proper social distancing measures
  • Face coverings
  • Resident, family, and friend education about the risks of the spread of COVID-19

Consideration for visitors during end-of-life situations will also be expanded. Providers should notify family members when a resident's substantial change of condition indicates end-of-life is approaching. Providers should not wait until a resident is actively dying to allow visitors.

OHIO BWC DEFERS PREMIUM INSTALLMENTS: 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is deferring Ohio employers' premium installments for the months of June, July, and August. Businesses will have the option to defer the monthly premium payments with no financial penalties. 

“By extending the premium due date, businesses can continue to focus on the safety and well-being of their employees and customers during this health pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. 

This is the second payment deferral BWC has given to employers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The deferral is designed to help employers focus financial resources on re-opening their businesses under the Responsible RestartOhio Plan.

JUNIOR FAIRS/COUNTY FAIRS/INDEPENDENT FAIRS:

Governor DeWine's Fair Advisory Group has released guidelines for how county fair boards and agricultural societies can work with county health departments to safely operate junior fairs for kids.

The guidelines focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of everyone involved in the junior fair activities, and animal care and welfare.

"The decisions about county and independent fairs need to be made locally because each county and independent fair is unique and has different challenges," said Governor DeWine. "Conditions may change over the course of the summer, however, we are asking all fair boards to comply with all of the orders of the Ohio Department of Health and the guidelines for other sectors that would also apply to fairs, such as for food service and rides." 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is in the process of distributing all state funding available for Ohio's 94 county and independent fairs.   

 

May 26

COVID-19 Update: Congregate Care Unified Response Teams 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NEW CONGREGATE CARE UNIFIED RESPONSE TEAMS:

Governor DeWine announced today the formation of new Congregate Care Unified Response Teams to test residents and staff members in Ohio's nursing homes.

"Nursing facilities have been aggressive regarding testing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks on their own, but this effort will provide them with additional resources," said Governor DeWine. "As we continue to ramp up our testing in Ohio, we must deploy our resources in a way that will save the most lives."

Beginning this week, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams, which will include medically-trained members of the Ohio National Guard, will begin testing residents and staff within nursing homes on two parallel paths: 

  • All staff in all Ohio nursing facilities will be tested to help nursing home administrators gauge the status of the virus in their facilities and help isolate the virus to stop it from infecting their community.
  • Testing will be conducted in facilities where residents or workers have confirmed or assumed positive cases. Testing will be conducted on all staff, and the testing of residents will be based on a clinically-driven strategy that targets those who have likely been exposed to COVID-19.  By testing residents based on their potential interaction with a confirmed COVID-19 case, the nursing facility will be better equipped to isolate the virus and contain spread within the facility.

In addition, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams will begin the testing of all residents and staff members in the state’s eight developmental centers to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 in congregate care settings.  

 

  • Governor DeWine announced the formation of new Congregate Care Unified Response Teams to test residents and staff members in Ohio's nursing homes. Medically-trained members of the Ohio National Guard will begin testing residents and staff within nursing homes beginning this week. This testing will help nursing home administrators gauge the status of the virus in their facilities and help isolate the virus to stop it from infecting their community. HERE is additional information.
  • Testing will be conducted in facilities where residents or workers have confirmed or assumed positive cases. Testing will be conducted on all staff, and the testing of residents will be based on a clinically-driven strategy that targets those who have likely been exposed to COVID-19. 
  • In addition, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams will begin the testing of all residents and staff members in the state’s eight developmental centers to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 in congregate care settings. 
  • COVID-19 signage and health screening questions for use with customers/clients as resources for businesses and other organizations who want to use them are available on the coronavirus website HERE.
  • Here are Responsible RestartOhio documents for Deputy Registrars and Driver Examination Services.
  • Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 9AM to 1PM. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov
  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 30,827 confirmed cases
    • 2,179 probable cases  
    • 33,006 total cases
    • 5,579 hospitalizations
    • 1,803 confirmed deaths
    • 199 probable deaths
    • 2,002 total deaths
    • 1,450 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

 

 

May 22

Health Orders Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following orders have been signed by Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH:

 

May 21 

COVID-19 Update: Efforts to Improve Minority Health, New Sector Openings

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MINORITY HEALTH STRIKE FORCE PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATIONS:

Governor DeWine today announced initial findings from his Minority Health Strike Force. The team was formed in April in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans who make up 14 percent of Ohio's population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio.

Recommendations were created using feedback from the Strike Force's Health Care, Resources, Data, and Education subcommittees. Examples of these recommendations include: 

  • Establishing culturally appropriate and accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services for communities of color.
  • Expanding testing capacity and access for minorities and high-risk populations.
  • Using data to prioritize resources in the communities that have the highest need. 
  • Developing and launching a statewide, culturally-sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and communities of color on COVID-19, health disparities, and social determinants of health.

The Minority Health Strike Force's preliminary report will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Final recommendations will be issued on June 11. 

COMMUNITY WELLNESS KITS

Ohio is partnering with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers and the Nationwide Foundation to distribute thousands of Community Wellness Kits that contain COVID-19 protection-related items, such as face coverings, hand sanitizer, and soap.

COVID-19 EXPOSURE NOTIFICATION

To support both the state and local health departments in efforts to fight COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on people of color, Ohio will significantly increase the number of public health workers who can help notify Ohioans of possible exposure to the virus.

The hiring of these public health workers is in progress at both the state and local levels with the goal of hiring individuals who represent and reflect the make-up of their own communities.   

MENTAL HEALTH GRANTS

Governor DeWine's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will award $1 million in grants to provide mental health and addiction services for hard-to-reach individuals.  

The grants will allow faith-based and local community-based organizations to develop culturally appropriate messages that target those who may not be as easily reached by mass-media messaging efforts, such as racial and ethnic minorities, Appalachian and rural communities, older adults, and others.  

NEW REOPENING DATES: 

Lt. Governor Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:

  • Beginning Tuesday, May 26, miniature golf, batting cages, and bowling alleys may resume operations if they can meet required safety protocols. 
  • Beginning Tuesday, May 26, skills training for all sports, including contact sports, may resume if required safety protocols can be met. Tournaments, games, and competitions for contact sports are still prohibited. 
  • Beginning Monday, June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.

Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

 

May 20

Health Orders Signed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following orders have been signed by  Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH:

 

May 19

COVID-19 Update: Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

OHIOANS PROTECTING OHIOANS URGENT HEALTH ADVISORY:

Governor DeWine today released details of the new "Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory" which replaces the Stay Safe Ohio order that was issued by the Ohio Department of Health on April 30, 2020.  

"Ohioans take care of Ohioans because that is at the core of who we are, and that is how we are going to save our economy," said Governor DeWine. "What this comes down to now is that each of us has a responsibility to each other to slow the spread.  No other time in our lives will our individual actions play a greater role in saving lives." 

The health order replaces language requiring Ohioans to stay at home with limited exceptions with language that strongly recommends that citizens, especially those who are high-risk, stay at home as much as possible. The order does not change the mass gathering restrictions, which remain at a 10-person limit.

The new health advisory also lifts overall travel restrictions and the requirement to quarantine if someone travels to or returns to Ohio. Unnecessary travel within or outside of Ohio is not encouraged. 

In addition, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not recovered, those who are presumptively diagnosed with COVID-19, and those who are exhibiting the symptoms identified in the screening guidance available from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health, remain prohibited from entering the state of Ohio unless they are doing so under medical orders for purposes of medical care, are being transported by emergency medical services EMS, are driving or being driven directly to a medical provider for the purposes of initial care, or are a permanent resident of Ohio.

OHIO BWC TO PROVIDE FACE COVERINGS TO EMPLOYERS: 

Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) will begin distributing at least 2 million non-medical-grade face coverings to Ohio employers who are covered by BWC. 

Public and private employers that participate in the State Insurance Fund will receive a package from BWC containing at least 50 face coverings. These packages will be shipped in batches beginning tomorrow.

The masks, which are intended to support and enhance any workforce safety and health efforts businesses already have in place, are funded through BWC’s existing budget and will not impact any premiums.

 

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 19 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group.

 

  • Governor DeWine released details of the new "Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory" which replaces the Stay Safe Ohio order that was issued by the Ohio Department of Health on April 30, 2020.  The health order replaces language requiring Ohioans to stay at home with limited exceptions with language that strongly recommends that citizens, especially those who are high-risk, stay at home as much as possible. The order does not change the mass gathering restrictions, which remain at a 10-person limit. The new health advisory also lifts overall travel restrictions and the requirement to quarantine if someone travels to or returns to Ohio. Unnecessary travel within or outside of Ohio is not encouraged.
  • Additionally, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not recovered, those who are presumptively diagnosed with COVID-19, and those who are exhibiting the symptoms identified in the screening guidance available from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health, remain prohibited from entering the state of Ohio unless they are doing so under medical orders for purposes of medical care, are being transported by emergency medical services EMS, are driving or being driven directly to a medical provider for the purposes of initial care, or are a permanent resident of Ohio.
  • Governor DeWine also announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will begin distributing at least 2 million non-medical-grade face coverings to Ohio employers who are covered by BWC. Public and private employers that participate in the State Insurance Fund will receive a package from BWC containing at least 50 face coverings. These packages will be shipped in batches beginning tomorrow. The masks are funded through BWC’s existing budget and will not impact any premiums. HERE is a statement of support from the National Federation of Independent Business Ohio Chapter.

 

May 18

COVID-19 Update: Safety Checks

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BAR/RESTAURANT SAFETY CHECKS:

Governor DeWine announced today that he is assembling an enforcement team to ensure that bars and restaurants are operating safely under the Responsible RestartOhio plan. 

Bars and restaurants reopened to patrons for outdoor dining on Friday. Dine-in service is scheduled to resume on May 21. 

"We know that many Ohio bars and restaurants are working very hard to comply with the safety guidelines, and I want to commend them for doing that," said Governor DeWine. "We did, however, receive several very troubling reports this weekend of bars and restaurants that were not complying with proper social distancing guidelines. We cannot allow the few bad actors to threaten the potential closure of other restaurants and bars." 

The enforcement team will operate as part of the Ohio Department of Safety's Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) and will conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants.  Businesses found violating the Stay Safe Ohio order will receive administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses.  The OIU team will also work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against business owners who do not follow the order, which includes the requirement that patrons remain seated while eating/drinking and that parties stay six feet apart.

PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Ohioans can now apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers many more categories of workers than the traditional unemployment program.

Those who believe they may be eligible should visit pua.unemployment.ohio.gov and click the button that says, “Click Here to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.” Individuals who pre-registered for the program received an email with instructions for how to complete their applications.

PUA was made possible by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program offers up to 39 weeks of benefits to many who traditionally have not qualified for unemployment benefits, including self-employed individuals, 1099 tax filers and part-time workers. The benefit amount is similar to traditional unemployment payments, plus an additional $600 per week through July 25.

If you have additional questions, please visit www.unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov or call (833) 604-0774.

 

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 18 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group.

 

  • Three patients at Twin Valley Behavioral Health Hospital in Columbus have tested positive for COVID-19. In response, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is working with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to test all patients in the 25-person unit. Updates on the status of COVID-19 at the state’s behavioral health hospitals are available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
  • Governor DeWine announced that he ordered mass testing to take place at Ohio's two state nursing home facilities for veterans. The Ohio Department of Veterans Services (OVS) operates nursing homes in Sandusky and Georgetown. Last week, several residents at the Sandusky facility were confirmed positive for COVID-19 which led to the facility-wide testing. As of today, 24 nursing home residents and three staff members in the Sandusky home have tested positive. An additional staff member tested positive in mid-April. The Georgetown location has had zero positive test results. A total of 508 staff and residents have tested negative and the remaining test results are pending. Data on the status of COVID-19 in the OVS nursing homes is updated at approximately 4:00 p.m. each day at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
  • Below are a number of Responsible RestartOhio documents made available today: 
  • Additionally, there are now printable posters and forms for employers/businesses to download and use HERE.
  • Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 9AM to 1PM. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.
  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 26,646 confirmed cases
    • 1,808 probable cases  
    • 28,454 total cases
    • 4,998 hospitalizations
    • 1,504 confirmed deaths
    • 153 probable deaths
    • 1,657 total deaths
    • 1,328 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

 

May 14

COVID-19 Update: New Responsible RestartOhio Opening Dates

hio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following sector opening dates established as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan. 

CHILD CARE: MAY 31

Beginning Sunday, May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these providers can meet required safety protocols. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Early Childhood Advisory Council created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for childcare centers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

CAMPGROUNDS: MAY 21

Beginning Thursday, May 21, campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

To ensure that campgrounds operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for day camps to follow.  The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices for both campgrounds and campers is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

OHIO BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES (CERTAIN SERVICES): MAY 26 

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) locations in Ohio will be permitted to reopen for certain services if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

Services that can be accomplished online should still be done online. More details on online BMV services can be found at oplates.com

To ensure that each deputy registrar location operates in the safest manner possible, the BMV is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for deputy registrars to follow.  A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

GYMS, FITNESS CENTERS: MAY 26

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Gyms Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for gyms and fitness centers to follow.  A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

ADULT AND YOUTH SPORTS LEAGUES (NON-CONTACT, LIMITED CONTACT): MAY 26

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols. This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports.

To ensure that non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Large Venue Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for sports leagues to follow.  A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Safety protocols for high-contact sports are in development. 

PUBLIC/CLUB POOLS: MAY 26

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.

To ensure that these pools operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's  Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for these facilities to follow.  A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

HORSE RACING (NO SPECTATORS): MAY 22 

Beginning Friday, May 22, horse racing in Ohio will be permitted if these operations can meet required safety protocols. Spectators will not be permitted. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's administration worked with the Ohio State Racing Commission to create a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for agricultural horse racing operations to follow.  A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronaviurs.ohio.gov.

This does not apply to casinos and racinos. Safety protocols for these venues are in development. 

Read more...

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 14 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group. 

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 24,800 confirmed cases
    • 1,557 probable cases  
    • 26,357 total cases
    • 4,718 hospitalizations
    • 1,388 confirmed deaths
    • 146 probable deaths
    • 1,534 total deaths
    • 1,268 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

May 12

COVID-19 Update: Pandemic EBT, Additional Services to Reopen, Staying Connected

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following COVID-19 updates. 

PANDEMIC EBT PLAN:

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (OJFS) has received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture for its Pandemic EBT plan. The Pandemic EBT program was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020.

The approval will allow OJFS to distribute SNAP benefits to 850,000 students across Ohio who relied on free or reduced-price meal programs when school was in session to have access to a hot, nutritious meal.  The benefits will be mailed directly to students, and families do not need to apply to be eligible.  

Families will receive approximately $300 to purchase healthy and nutritious foods to feed their children. These benefits amount to more than $250 million that will go to our grocery stores and other eligible retailers.

MASSAGE THERAPY, ACUPUNCTURE, COSMETIC THERAPY:

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, cosmetic therapy will be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, the State Medical Board of Ohio worked with members of Governor DeWine's Personal Services Advisory Group and the Ohio Department of Health to create a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for these service providers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

TATTOO AND BODY PIERCING SERVICES: 

Tattoo and body piercing services will also be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures.

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Personal Services Advisory Group created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for these service providers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

OLDER ADULTS - STAYING CONNECTED:

To help ensure that older Ohioans stay connected while staying at home, Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy announced a new service today that will provide a daily check-in by phone for Ohioans age 60 or older.

The Staying Connected program will call older adults who sign up for the service during a predetermined window of time. When participants answer the phone, they will be asked to respond via touch-tone to confirm that they are OK or to access live support. 

If no one answers after three attempts, a call is then made to an alternate contact (if provided) or to non-emergency services.  The service can be canceled at any time.

“Especially during this very challenging time, we encourage older Ohioans to sign up for the Ohio Department of Aging’s Staying Connected phone program. This program will help reduce isolation and support the health and well-being of older adults in our state,” said Robert Cornwell, Executive Director, Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association.

Eligible Ohioans can sign up at aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-800-266-4346.

Staying Connected is not an emergency response service, and participants should always use 911 or their emergency response system if they are injured or in need of emergency assistance.

 

  • Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture for its Pandemic EBT plan. The approval will allow ODJFS to distribute SNAP benefits to 850,000 students across Ohio who relied on free or reduced-price meal programs when school was in session to have access to a hot, nutritious meal. Families will receive approximately $300 to purchase healthy and nutritious foods to feed their children. These benefits amount to more than $250 million that will go to our grocery stores and other eligible retailers.
  • Lt. Governor Husted announced today that sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, cosmetic therapy will be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices is HERE.
  • Tattoo and body piercing services will also be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices is HERE.
  • Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy announced the Stay Connected program which will provide a daily check-in by phone for Ohioans ages 60 or older.  If no one answers after three attempts, a call is then made to an alternate contact (if provided) or to non-emergency services.  The service can be canceled at any time. Staying Connected is not an emergency response service, and participants should always use 911 or their emergency response system if they are injured or in need of emergency assistance. Eligible Ohioans can sign up at aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-800-266-4346.
  • The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported the following unemployment claims processing numbers: 1,067,500 unduplicated total filed; 89.4% resolved (either approved, denied or withdrawn) 955,091; 10.5% pending (112,409).
  • Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 9AM to 1PM. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.

 

May 11

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 11 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group. 

  • JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control today announced they will offer a one-time rebate to bars and restaurants to defray the cost of restocking high-proof spirituous liquor. Beginning in mid-May, JobsOhio will provide a $500 rebate in high-proof spirituous liquor to eligible permits for purchases made through Ohio Liquor Contract Liquor Agencies. Permit holders must register to be eligible for rebate. There are more than 13,600 eligible permits in Ohio, totaling $6.8 million in potential rebates available to bars and restaurants. To view qualifying permits and to register for the liquor rebate program, visit Wholesale.OHLQ.com.
  • Members of the advisory groups who are in charge of developing statewide guidelines have been released:

 

May 7

COVID-19 Update: Reopening of Restaurants, Bars, and Personal Care Services

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today announced the next phase of the Responsible RestartOhio plan as it relates to restaurants, bars, and personal care services.

As part of today's announcement, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that COVID-19 is still incredibly dangerous and stressed the importance of continuing to exercise safe health habits as different sectors of the economy begin to reopen.

"Reopening Ohio is a risk, but it's also a risk if you don't move forward. We're on a dangerous road that has never been traveled before in Ohio and the danger is that we relax and stop taking precautions," said Governor DeWine. "All of us collectively control this. I ask you to take calculated risks and make good judgments. Continue social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing face coverings. If you aren't concerned with what happens to you, do it for others."

RESTAURANTS/BARS: 

Restaurants and bars in Ohio will be permitted to reopen as follows: 

  • Outdoor dining: May 15
  • Dine-in service: May 21

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Restaurant Advisory Group created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for restaurant and bar owners to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at coronaviurs.ohio.gov.

PERSONAL CARE SERVICES:

Personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons, and tanning facilities may reopen on May 15. 

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine's Personal Services Advisory Group created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for personal care service providers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at coronaviurs.ohio.gov.

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 7 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group. 

  • Governor DeWine announced when restaurants and bars in Ohio will be permitted to reopen. Outdoor dining may resume May 15th and dine-in services may resume May 21st. HERE is detailed lists of guidelines and best practices. Statements of support are available from the Ohio Restaurant Association and the National Federation of Independent Business- Ohio Chapter.
  • Governor DeWine also announced that personal services such as hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons, and tanning facilities may reopen on May 15th. HERE is a list of mandatory and recommended best practices for personal services.
  • For the week ending May 2, 2020, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 61,083 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last seven weeks (1,118,569) is 1,112 more than the combined total of 1,117,457 for the last three years. Over these last seven weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $1.9 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 536,000 Ohioans. Pursuant to an order from the U.S.  Department of Labor order, Ohio will release unemployment numbers on a weekly basis as soon as the national report is released on Thursday.
  • Below are a number of resources made available today:

 

May 6

Statement from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued the following statement on the proposed legislative amendments regarding state public health orders:

"My administration is focused on the important things we need to do to help businesses responsibly reopen while protecting Ohioans' health and safety. This week alone, this included increasing coronavirus testing and tracing, balancing Ohio's budget, and working on plans to move Ohio's economy forward. Ohioans need their legislators focused on these important issues. Creating more uncertainty regarding public health and employee safety is the last thing we need as we work to restore consumer confidence in Ohio's economy."

 

May 5

COVID-19 Update: State Budget Impact

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

STATE BUDGET IMPACT:

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor DeWine today announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30. 

At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenues for the fiscal year were ahead of estimates by over $200 million. As of the end of April, Ohio's revenues were below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million. 

Because Ohio is mandated to balance its budget each year, and in addition to identifying areas of savings, the following budget reductions will be made for the next two months:

  • Medicaid:  $210 million
  • K12 Foundation Payment Reduction:  $300 million
  • Other Education Budget Line Items:  $55 million
  • Higher Education:  $110 million
  • All Other Agencies:  $100 million

The budget reductions are in addition to Governor DeWine's March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions.

The new budget reductions will not apply to critical services available to Ohioans or COVID-19 pandemic services. Money to balance the Fiscal Year 2020 budget will not be drawn from Ohio's Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the "rainy-day fund."

Recommendations for Water Supply Flushing When Reopening Buildings Under COVID-19 "Responsible RestartOhio" Plan

As buildings re-open under the "Responsible RestartOhio" plan that have had little to no water usage during the Stay at Home Order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to flush water that has been stagnant in both cold- and hot-water distribution lines and fixtures.  Low water usage can contribute to bacterial growth, including Legionella which can cause a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. It can also cause other water quality issues with potential health risks due to the build-up of lead and copper in stagnant water that’s been collecting in older pipes and fixtures.   

As buildings reopen, it is critical to drain, flush, and if necessary based on a review of building conditions, disinfect the hot and cold-water systems to remove harmful contaminants. Devices that store water, such as drinking water fountains, water heaters, storage tanks, and any droplet or mist-forming devices such as cooling towers, humidifiers, showerheads, and certain medical and manufacturing devices and process equipment should also be flushed and disinfected in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations or industry best practices.  

HERE is a joint letter from the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency with more information, plus additional resources in “Guidance For Premise Plumbing Water Service Restoration

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 5 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group. 

  • Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor DeWine today announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30. At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenues for the fiscal year were ahead of estimates by over $200 million. As of the end of April, Ohio's revenues were below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million. 
  • Because Ohio is mandated to balance its budget each year, and in addition to identifying areas of savings, the following budget reductions will be made for the next two months:
    • Medicaid:  $210 million
    • K12 Foundation Payment Reduction:  $300 million
    • Other Education Budget Line Items:  $55 million
    • Higher Education:  $110 million
    • All Other Agencies:  $100 million
  • The budget reductions are in addition to Governor DeWine's March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions. The new budget reductions will not apply to critical services available to Ohioans or COVID-19 pandemic services. Money to balance the Fiscal Year 2020 budget will not be drawn from Ohio's Budget Stabilization Fund, otherwise known as the "rainy-day fund."
  • Projections by Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks indicate that the state’s revenues will continue to be below estimates in the coming months as Ohio moves through the COVID-19 crisis. Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Director Murnieks will continue to work with the Ohio General Assembly to identify ways to continue supporting Ohio’s economy through the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Below are a number of resources made available today:
  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 20,072 confirmed cases
    • 897 probable cases  
    • 20,969 total cases
    • 3,956 hospitalizations
    • 1,038 confirmed deaths
    • 97 probable deaths
    • 1,135 total deaths
    • 1,123 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.

May 4

COVID-19 Update: Testing Priority, Ohio BMVs

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TESTING UPDATE: 

Governor DeWine today provided an update on Ohio's plan for increased COVID-19 testing. 

A new partnership announced last week between the state of Ohio, Thermo Fisher, and ROE Dental Scientific will allow for a steady supply of testing reagent and swabs. With Ohio's new increased testing capacity, Ohio will prioritize testing in the categories, available HERE

OHIO BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES REOPENING PLAN: 

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced today that, although opening dates for individual locations have not yet been finalized, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) deputy registrars around the state may begin reopening as early as later this month.

Upon reopening, every deputy registrar will offer online the Ohio BMV's Get In Line, Online program that was launched by Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted as a pilot project last year. A partnership between InnovateOhio and the Ohio BMV has been expanding the project to locations statewide. There are currently 48 deputy registrars that had been offering Get in Line, Online, and all other locations that had not yet offered the service will offer it to customers upon reopening. 

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 4 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group. 

  • Governor DeWine today provided an update on Ohio's plan for increased COVID-19 testing.  A new partnership announced last week between the state of Ohio, Thermo Fisher, and ROE Dental Scientific will allow for a steady supply of testing reagent and swabs. With Ohio's new increased testing capacity, Ohio will prioritize testing in three groups. Here is more information: Covid 19 Testing Guidance 05.04.20 
  • Lt. Governor Husted announced today that, although opening dates for individual locations have not yet been finalized, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) deputy registrars around the state may begin reopening as early as later this month. Upon reopening, every deputy registrar will offer online the Ohio BMV's Get In Line, Online program that was launched by Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted as a pilot project last year. In preparation for reopening, deputy registrars are also reactivating and hiring staff, making accommodations to their facilities to ensure social distancing, and ensuring that safety measures are in place, such as cough/sneeze shields, at customer-facing workstations.  
  • HERE are recommendations for water supply flushing for reopening of buildings under the statewide COVID-19 transition plan, and guidance for premise plumbing water service restoration

 

May 1

Governor DeWine Announces 'Stay Safe Ohio Order'

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that the Ohio Department of Health has issued a "Stay Safe Ohio Order." The new order, which incorporates the openings of businesses and services announced as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan, will replace the previous "Stay at Home" order, which expires at 11:59 p.m. tonight.

The "Stay Safe Ohio Order" is available on Ohio's Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

COVID-19 Update: Advisory Groups on Restaurants, and Personal Services

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ADVISORY GROUPS ON RESTAURANTS AND PERSONAL SERVICES

Governor DeWine announced today the members of two separate advisory groups for recommendations and best practices when reopening dine-in restaurants, and personal service locations throughout the state. 

Members of the two advisory groups were identified by relevant business association, along with Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder, Senate President Larry Obhof, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko.

The restaurant advisory group will develop and recommend best practices for reopening dine-in restaurants throughout the state and balance the need to protect the health of employees and customers.  A listing of individuals serving on the restaurants advisory group can be found here

The personal services advisory group will also develop and recommend best practices for reopening hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, massage therapy locations, and tanning facilities throughout the state.  A list of individuals serving on the personal services advisory group can be found here

Notes from Remington Road Group from May 1 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group. 

 

Helping Businesses Get Assistance

Ohio’s small businesses are experiencing significant challenges and frustrations as a result of COVID-19, but the businesses that have reached out to Ohio Small Business Development Centers are finding the help they need.

The Ohio SBDC regularly surveys clients who have utilized the services offered by the trained advisors who staff the centers. In the past two months, the Ohio Small Business Development Centers received their highest rating on their client satisfaction survey since it was launched in 2016.

Between March 1 and April 22, 470 small business respondents gave the program a 99.2 percent satisfaction rating with 82 percent of clients giving the program the highest possible rating of “Extremely Satisfied.” While this is just a small sample of the businesses that have received support through the Ohio SBDC, the survey results show the effectiveness of services being provided by our partners around the state.

Your small business also can benefit from SBDC services. To learn more, visit SBDC.Development.Ohio.Gov.

The Development Services Agency also offers other business assistance programs:

 

April 29

PPE Delivery, Employee Face- Covering Exceptions, Criminal Justice Grants, Class of 2020 Graduation

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PPE DELIVERY:

Governor DeWine announced today that the state of Ohio has shipped 4.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local emergency management agencies (EMA) across Ohio. 

Although this is not the first shipment of PPE, this is the largest one-time distribution of PPE from the state of Ohio to the local EMAs in Ohio history.

The shipment includes: 

  • 500,000 N95 masks
  • 850,000 face shields
  • 750,000 surgical-type masks
  • 2 million non-medical gloves

The PPE was secured through the work of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

EMPLOYEE FACE COVERING EXCEPTIONS:

Lt. Governor Husted today reemphasized that face coverings are required for employers and employees while on the job. Exceptions for employers and employees include when:

  • An employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job
  • Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices
  • Wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes
  • If wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies
  • An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace
  • There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee

If any of these exceptions apply to a business or employee, written justification must be provided upon request.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE GRANTS:

Governor DeWine announced that nearly $16 million in grant funding is now available for local law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, local courts, victim service providers, and adult, juvenile, and community corrections agencies. 

This funding was awarded to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as part of the CARES Act and will support agencies in:

CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATION:

Governor DeWine reminded Ohio educators that they must ensure social distancing during any and all graduation ceremonies. 

The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Health today issued the following suggestions for local schools and health departments: 

  • Virtual graduation ceremonies (preferred)
  • Drive-in ceremonies where students drive to a designated location at a designated time to get their diplomas
  • Outdoor ceremonies with 10 people or less who are socially distanced

Additional guidance can be found on the Ohio Department of Education's website

Read more...

Notes from Remington Road Group from April 29 Press Conference. 

Attached above are notes from the Governor's daily press conference from Remington Road Group. 

  • Governor DeWine announced today that the state of Ohio has shipped 4.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local emergency management agencies (EMA) across Ohio. The shipment includes: 500,000 N95 masks, 850,000 face shields, 750,000 surgical-type masks, and 2 million non-medical gloves.
  • Lt. Governor Husted today reemphasized that face coverings are required for employers and employees while on the job. Exceptions for employers and employees include when: An employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job; Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices; Wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes; If wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies; An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace; There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee. If any of the exceptions apply to a business or employee, written justification must be provided upon request.
  • Governor DeWine announced that nearly $16 million in grant funding is now available for local law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, local courts, victim service providers, and adult, juvenile, and community corrections agencies. This funding was awarded to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as part of the CARES Act. OCJS will accept applications on a continual basis while funding is available, and there is no cap.  For more information, please visit www.ocjs.ohio.gov. 
  • The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Health today issued suggestions for local schools and health departments. Suggestions include virtual graduation ceremonies (preferred) drive-in ceremonies, or outdoor ceremonies. Governor DeWine also stressed that graduation parties cannot exceed 10 people in one space. Additional guidance on graduation ceremonies can be found HERE.
  • Below are the following documents: