Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton shared new information Wednesday on the spread of the coronavirus in Ohio. The data included a graph showing the ages of people who've been infected by the virus. There are a number of cases among those age 40 to 50 and Dr. Acton indicated there is a fatality rate in that age group of 1 in 250.
The latest figures indicate ten Ohioans have died from COVID-19, two each in Stark, Cuyahoga, and Franklin Counties and one each in Erie, Lucas, Gallia, and Miami Counties. Of the 704 infected, 53% are female, 47% are male. They range in age from less than a year to 94 with a median age of 51. The Health Department indicates 116 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
New data released today provides the total number of tests done in Ohio: 14,764. Testing has been limited due to shortages of supplies to carry out the tests. Twenty percent of the 182 peole hospitalized are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
"It's very important as we try to take the pressure off Intensive Care Units (ICUs)," Acton said. "We're trying to double the amount of capacity we have in ICUs in the days to come."
Governor Mike DeWine again said the situation in Ohio is expected to peak May 1. The state issued a stay at home order that took effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday. It applies to all non-essential businesses in the state. But there remain a lot of questions about what is considered "essential."
"They should start by the assumption that the business is closed," DeWine said.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said businesses should read the stay at home order and prepare documentation to validate their status as essential and document what they're doing to maintain a safe workplace. "You need to use your own good judgment," Husted said.
Gov. DeWine highlighted Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble's effort to encourage people to stay home and keep their distance from others. P&G commissioned a #distancedance video by popular Tik Tok creator Charli D'Amelio.
Acton also read a note from a 9-year old Ohio girl who wrote, “I’m happy you see a bright future for us.” Acton encouraged Ohioans to "keep being a force for good."
Governor DeWine also acknowledged a need for the state to better fund public health. "We've got to do a much better job," DeWine said. He said he chose Dr. Action to be his Health Department director because he wanted to place more focus on public health. "I wanted someone who could be a spokesperson, who's articulate, and who could talk directly to the people of this state. I had no idea we'd end up with this," DeWine said, referring to the daily briefings Acton has participated in.
Many changes have been made in the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here's what has happened over the last few weeks:
Daycares must close tonight at 11:59 p.m. unless they have secured a temporary pandemic childcare license from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. There is a limited number of temporary licenses being awarded and they are intended to provide care for healthcare, emergency personnel, and other essential employees.
The state issued a stay-at-home order, which took effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 23. This means Ohioans must only leave their homes for essential needs like groceries, medicine or exercise. To view which businesses are open and closed, click here.
Ohio Medicaid will expand telehealth services to get in contact with health professionals amid the outbreak. It'll include phone calls, FaceTime and smart phones.
Barbershops, hair and nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors were ordered to close at end of business Wednesday, March 18.
More than 180 Bureau of Motor Vehicles locations have also been shut down. Five around the state will remain open to issue commercial driver's licenses. DeWine is asking the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation that will grant a grace period for people who can’t renew licenses. He's also asking law enforcement, including State Highway Patrol, to not issue tickets for someone who has an expired license.
DeWine is asking all businesses, including nonprofits, manufacturers and retailers, to check each employee's temperature before the individual enters the workplace every day. If the person's temperature is elevated, they should be sent home. He's also encouraging employees to check their own temperature every day as a precaution.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted has encouraged people to apply for unemployment benefits online. Requests have skyrocketed. The state is reducing the wait time to receive benefits to help those left without work suddenly due to coronavirus. Go to unemployment.ohio.gov to apply. He also asked small businesses who need financial relief to go to sba.gov/disaster.
Hospitals are postponing elective surgeries until further notice. The state issued the order Tuesday to conserve protective equipment for health care workers and keep beds open. Patients will receive a call if their surgery has been canceled. The Ohio Hospital Association also says that hospitals across the state are prepared for a 25% surge in COVID-19 cases if that happens.
Ohio has postponed its primaries. Not even 12 hours before polls were supposed to open, Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health issued a health emergency to shut down polling locations. The new proposed voting date is June 2 but the details still have to be worked out by the courts and/or the state legislature. Absentee ballots would be allowed until then. For more information on what happened, click here. To get anLt. Gov. Jon Husted gave an update on unemployment requests. 78,000 requests have been filed. It was 6,500 two weeks ago. He also asked small businesses who need financial relief to go to sba.gov/disaster. absentee ballot, click here.
The state has shut down more facilities, including gyms, fitness centers, recreation facilities, theaters, indoor water parks and indoor trampoline parks.
University of Akron has decided to keep classes online for the rest of the semester. The school has also asked students to leave the residence halls by 11 p.m. Wednesday.
A Kent State employee has tested negative for COVID-19 after coming into contact with a patient who has the disease. Students have been ordered to leave the residence halls by the end of the week and are eligible for a refund. The university has also announced it will start limiting operations at all eight campuses Monday afternoon.
Bars and restaurants closed down Sunday night temporarily to prevent large gatherings. DeWine said he came to the decision after he received multiple complaints about crowds over the weekend. Carry-out and delivery options are still available.
The state is implementing a COVID-19 treatment plan for individuals with an addiction or mental health issues. This includes more telehealth services that will allow patients to video chat with professionals or call a landline. The plan will also implement a service that will allow people to get their medications without having to physically go to a pharmacy. Pharmacies are making sure they have adequate supplies of medications
The Cleveland Clinic is officially offering drive-thru coronavirus testing with a doctor's order. It's in partnership with University Hospitals, which is doing the same. The testing location is in University Circle.
Summit County confirmed its first case of COVID-19 Friday. A woman in her 50s is a case of community spread, which means she didn't travel or have direct contact with other COVID-19 patients. The county and the city of Akron have declared public health emergencies. All community centers in Akron closed Monday.
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This allows the White House to get direct aid quickly from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disasters and health crises. Trump has also been tested for COVID-19 and doesn't have it.
Lawmakers plan to send a letter to Trump with 17 requests for state relief, such as having access to more protective equipment for health care workers.
DeWine issued an order that prohibits visitors in jails. The state also isn't allowing visitors in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and psychiatric facilities.
Ohio K-12 schools shut down Monday afternoon for three weeks. DeWine said he will help schools with whatever they need, but it's up to administrators to figure out how to determine details of educating students while they're at home and when they return.
A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.