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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

DeWine Says Testing Will Continue At Nursing Homes Without National Guard Help

An Ohio National Guard soldier watches a forklift move a load of personal protective equipment as part of a mission in April. This was one of several pandemic-related assignments the Guard has been deployed on since March.
An Ohio National Guard soldier watches a forklift move a load of personal protective equipment as part of a mission in April. This was one of several pandemic-related assignments the Guard has been deployed on since March.

Nearly three quarters of all confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Ohio have been in nursing homes. Ohio National Guard personnel have been helping with testing in long term care facilities, but the funding for them to continue that and other pandemic related missions runs out in a month.

Guard personnel have been assisting with testing at pop-up sites in communities of color and other high-risk areas, and testing of staff and residents at nursing homes.

But Gov. Mike DeWine said when the federal funding for the Guard to continue those missions runs out on August 7, testing in long term care facilities will continue.

“We’re going to work it out so the testing’s going to be done in those nursing homes on a regular basis. So we’re going to free the guard up then, because, frankly, there's a lot of other places that the guard needs to go as well. So they're very much wanted," DeWine said.

DeWine said he hopes the federal funding for the Guard continues, but if it doesn’t, he says – “we’ll have to talk about it”.

500 Guard members have also been helping at the state’s overloaded foodbanks since March, which was their first pandemic related assignment. 

Ohio Association of Food Banks executive director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt said she got a letter from Adjutant General Major General John Harris Jr. the last week of June notifying her that federal funding for the Guard's pandemic-related missions will run out on August 7.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.