Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, April 14:
- State confirms first inmate COVID-19 death;
- Nursing homes must notify families of cases;
- Experts say coronavirus was in Ohio in February;
- DeWine restricts alcohol sales along Pennsylvania-Ohio border;
- Ohio has nearly 7,000 COVID-19 cases, 274 deaths;
- Food banks to receive $5M;
- Acton: Masks could be used for another year;
- Yost: Stimulus checks are protected from debt collectors;
- Kent State cancels events until early July;
- Cleveland Heights issues citations for violating stay-at-home order;
State confirms first inmate COVID-19 death
Ohio has reported its first COVID-19 death in a state prison. Gov. Mike DeWine said the inmate at Pickaway Correctional Institution had suffered from a chronic illness and was tested before he died. More than a dozen staff members at the prison are out sick. DeWine plans to send up to 30 members of the National Guard to assist medical staff. Nearly 15,000 prisoners at 11 facilities are under quarantine throughout the state. The only federal prison in the state, Elkton Correctional Facility in Columbiana County, has reported three deaths. Two groups are requesting a judge to release all inmates who have medical conditions at Elkton. Lawyers for the ACLU of Ohio and the Ohio Justice and Policy Center argue if they can't be released, they should be furloughed or temporarily transferred. Elkton houses around 2,500 inmates.
Nursing homes must notify families of positive cases
Gov. Mike DeWine has issued a new order requiring nursing homes to alert families within 24 hours of a positive case of COVID-19 at the facility. The state also plans to release a list of facilities that have residents or staff with the virus. Ohio’s nursing homes have seen at least 45 deaths from the coronavirus. But the overall total across the state remains unknown because many local health departments aren’t releasing that data or revealing which nursing homes have had outbreaks.
Health officials believe coronavirus was in Ohio earlier than predicted
Ohio health officials said the first known cases of COVID-19 in the state occurred much earlier than previously thought. The Ohio Department of Health said it now believes symptoms were first shown around Feb 12 instead of early March. Of the nearly 30 cases that had onset symptoms in February, one has died in Mahoning County. Ohio confirmed its first three cases in Cuyahoga County last month.
DeWine restricts alcohol sales along Pennsylvania-Ohio border
Gov. Mike DeWine is restricting liquor sales in counties along the Ohio/Pennsylvania border to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order is in place for Mahoning, Columbiana, Jefferson, Belmont, Ashtabula and Trumbull counties. DeWine said many people from Pennsylvania are crossing the border to get alcohol after their state closed more than 600 liquor stores. People buying alcohol must have an Ohio ID or proof they live in the state.
Ohio has nearly 7,000 COVID-19 cases, 274 deaths
Ohio has nearly 7,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 274 deaths. All but two counties have a confirmed case. More than 2,000 people are hospitalized and 30% have been admitted to the ICU. Although cases are being confirmed each day, Ohio's curve is flattening. The day-to-day increase has been less than 10% for the last week. Last month, daily increases were anywhere from 20% to 40%. Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton attributes the decrease to Ohioans following social distancing guidelines.
Food banks to receive $5M
Ohio’s 12 food banks will be getting $5 million in emergency state funding to help meet demand during the pandemic. $1 million will go toward the Agricultural Clearance Program, which will allow food banks to purchase Ohio-made dairy products. Another $1 million will be distributed to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. The funding comes from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant.
Acton: Masks could be used for another year
Ohio's top health official said residents could be wearing masks for about another year. Dr. Amy Acton said the masks have been instrumental in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Health officials predicted a surge in cases within the next month. Two weeks ago, Acton said Ohio could see an estimated 6,500 cases a day at the state's peak. That number has dropped to an expected 1,600 cases a day. Acton said residents need to keep following social distancing guidelines and only take essential trips. Although masks aren't required in the state, they are strongly recommended. Ohio remains under a stay-at-home order until May 1.
Yost assures Ohioans stimulus checks won't go to debt collectors
Ohio’s Attorney General wants residents to know that their federal stimulus checks are protected under state law from bill collectors. A majority of taxpayers will begin receiving the $1,200 in their bank accounts this week. Yost said the CARES Act bans stimulus checks from being garnished for debts owed to federal or state governments. It does allow for stimulus checks to be garnished in cases where people are behind on child-support payments.
To learn more about who receives a relief check and about the CARES Act, click here.
Kent State cancels events until early July
Kent State has canceled all university-sponsored events until early July due to coronavirus concerns. This includes on-campus events, summer camps and conferences. The university plans to hold summer classes until the end of June. Kent State previously canceled commencement and events relating to the 50th anniversary of May 4.
Cleveland Heights police issue 3 citations for stay-at-home order violators
Cleveland Heights police cited three people Monday for violating the state’s stay-at-home order. Cleveland.com reports police responded to a home where a fight broke out. When they arrived, around 30 people ran from the home. The citations are second-degree misdemeanors for having 10 or more people gather in one area. No formal charges have been filed.