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The current COVID wave is affecting nearly everything in Ohio right now

 "No COVID tests" sign on front doors of Powell, Ohio library
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
A sign that reads "No COVID tests" is posted on front doors of a library in Powell. Some libraries are adjusting the hours they're open to the public in response to staffing shortages.

Much of the attention in recent days has been focused on Ohio's hospitals that have been overwhelmed because of COVID patients. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently called in more than 2,000 Ohio National Guard members to help in those facilities. But it's not just Ohio hospitals that are struggling to keep up because of the most recent COVID wave.

Earlier this week, Cincinnati declared a state of emergency because so many first responders were absent with COVID. And though it’s not as bad in some other parts of the state, safety forces are short-staffed. David Bernzweig is with the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters.

“In order to cover shifts, firefighters are, in many cases, having to work mandatory overtime in order to keep the door open at fire and EMS services throughout the state,” Bernzweig said.

 Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office, Gahanna, Ohio
Dan Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
At any given time, four to five Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices throughout the state are temporarily closed. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office in Gahanna is pictured here.

Ohioans who go to their local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office might find it is closed. BMV Registrar Charlie Norman says some smaller offices have been forced to close or limit hours too because the staff is affected by COVID.

“At any given point, there’s probably four or five agencies where we have temporary closures,” Norman said.

Norman reminds everyone they can renew driver's licenses and tags online. And you can also check there to make sure your local office is open for business.

 Books at Pike County, Ohio library
Dan Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Books sit on shelves at a Pike County library. Some libraries are closing earlier or not opening on certain days of the week.

Michelle Francis with the Ohio Library Council says some local libraries are also affected by COVID staff shortages.

“We have had some libraries that have had to modify their hours. I think you have seen some announcements recently about not being open on Sundays or maybe closing early a couple of days of the week,” Francis said.

And if you plan on going out to eat today, you might want to call ahead to make sure the restaurant you want to visit is open. John Barker with the Ohio Restaurant Association says some restaurants are adjusting to staffing problems as a result of COVID.

“They’re limiting their hours and in some cases, they are closing for a day or two because that have to wait until some people are able to go through their quarantine period and go back to work,” Barker said.

 Ohio restaurant owners and Ohio Restaurant Association leaders
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio restaurant owners and Ohio Restaurant Association leaders talk about the challenges the industry faces during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of probable and confirmed COVID cases during the past couple of weeks is higher than at any point in the pandemic. Record high case numbers and hospitalizations started during the holiday season and have continued into this month.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.