Coronavirus 4-1-1

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.

The Ohio Department of Health updates its numbers every afternoon on the spread of COVID-19. As of Sunday, March 29, 2020 ODH reports 29 Ohioans have died from COVID-19. There are 1,653 confirmed cases. The number of people hospitalized stands at 403. The state has created a new dashboard to provide people with more data on the outbreak. 

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Confirmed COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Ohio

Map credit: Sue Zake

This map will be updated daily following the release of new data from the Ohio Department of Health.

Food stamp recipients in Ohio won’t need to worry about renewals for their benefits — at least not for the next few months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week issued a waiver to the state allowing an extension for select benefit recertifications and renewals.

Any Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients whose benefits are set to expire in March, April or May of 2020 won’t need to seek recertification until six months later.

Medicaid renewals are also suspended for 180 days. Recipients won’t lose coverage during that time.

Medical personal protective equipment (PPE) is in short supply nationwide due to a surge of COVID-19 patients. Companies have shifted production to make equipment for the crisis, and individuals are stepping up to sew homemade masks.

One community highly equipped to help meet this need is the Amish.

Updated 8:13 p.m. ET

President Trump said on Sunday that federal guidelines urging Americans to social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place for another month.

"During this period, it's very important that everyone follow the guidelines," Trump said at a news conference in the Rose Garden. "The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end."

a photo of briefing

Emphatically tapping the podium, Governor Mike DeWine said sometimes "you just have to rattle it." He was referring to the bureaucracy that appears to have been holding up FDA approval of a new process developed by Columbus-based Battelle Labs. The process uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide in a pressured environment to clean N95 masks for healthcare personnel. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine provides the latest information regarding the spread of coronavirus.    

Watch the press conference live here: 

Updated, March 29, 2:27 p.m.

Several large metal shipping containers are lined up in a warehouse on Columbus’ West Side under a large American Flag. Their doors are ajar, and workers stream in and out, power tools buzzing.

a photo of a chart.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held up a cardboard chart during his briefing Saturday. The low-tech visual, he said, was due to an illness among the behind-the-scenes crew that allows the daily briefing to be televised. DeWine said they were relieved to learn that the individual, hospitalized with pneumonia, tested negative for COVID-19. 

photo of prison bars

Four of 17 Ohio prison inmates from five facilities are in isolation pending results of COVID-19 tests. Thirteen of the 17 tested had negative results. The state plans to provide a daily update on testing in prisons and youth facilities.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio had asked for those daily numbers. Spokesman Gary Daniels says many people in overcrowded jails and prisons are vulnerable.

Akron Symphony
Akron Symphony Orchestra

The Akron Symphony Orchestra has canceled the rest of its current season.

Executive Director Paul Jarrett said the orchestra’s mission, which is to enhance the quality of life in the community through music, hasn’t changed. He said the orchestra came up with some alternatives to continue its mission.


For the first time in history, people across the country have been directed to stay home.

Schools and daycares have closed. Bars and resturants are shuttered.

Elder care facilities are in lockdown. Businesses have closed their doors to all but the most essential workers.

Groups cannot gather outside homes, and everyone is expected to stay six feet apart.

Meals on Wheels of Southwest OH & Northern KY, formerly known as Wesley Community Services, is testing a phone outreach effort. Professional social workers will test a phone bank Saturday March 28. The agency is utilizing tech tools created by a company that would normally be doing phone banking and get-out-the-vote election efforts for campaigns.

With a 30 percent increase in confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 hours and a new total of 19 deaths, new projections on the spread of coronavirus in Ohio suggest the state could be seeing 10,000 cases a day by the time it peaks.

The more than 10,000 people in Ohio identified as homeless are already at a higher risk for catching communicable diseases but the coronavirus pandemic is making matters worse. 

a photo of a stark hunger task force truck

The Stark County Hunger Task Force is taking steps to make sure people won’t go hungry because of COVID-19.

Executive Director Maureen Kampman said the pantry's new drive-thru food pantry will provide people with nonperishable groceries.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday just hours after the House approved it amidst the deepening crisis over the pandemic.

"This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation's families, workers and businesses. And that's what this is all about," Trump said at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

Projections of COVID-19 cases in OHIO

Ohio's top health official delivered grim but expected numbers about the coronavirus outbreak during Friday's press conference. 

Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, said there are 1,137 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. More than 260 are hospitalized, and 16% are health care workers.

There have also been 15 deaths within the last week. Ohio's first COVID-19-related death was reported March 20. 


Here are your morning headlines for Friday, March 27: 

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.

In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.

"Lost in Translation"
Courtesy of Focus Features

While we're spending so much more time at home social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19,  it can be easy to get burnt out watching the same stuff we always binge. Have no fear — Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Culture Manager Bob Ethington gives his recommendations that we should start watching right now.