DeWine says Large Crowds for HOF Enshrinement Week “Highly Unlikely” & “Very Dangerous”

COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Governor Mike DeWine spoke in Columbus this afternoon providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio. Here is a complete outline on everything that was discussed.

Latest COVID-19 State Metrics

The Ohio Department of Health’s latest report on COVID-19 shows that today’s daily case total is above the 21 day average. Meanwhile, the daily totals for deaths, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are all below the 21 day average.

Ohio now has 42,010 total cases of COVID-19. The state’s death toll is at 2,597. 7,007 Ohioans have been hospitalized due to the virus; 1,784 have been admitted into the intensive care unit.

Just over 565,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Ohio. The Buckeye State has a positive test rate of around 7.4%.

Latest COVID-19 Stark County Metrics

The state’s latest report shows Stark County is up to 881 cases of the virus. The Ohio Department of Health numbers show Stark has not seen a COVID-19 related death in the past seven days. The county’s death toll remains at 105.

Pop Up Testing Sites

Last week Governor DeWine announced that COVID-19 testing is now available for all Ohioans, not just those who are showing symptoms. Following this announcement, DeWine then spoke about the start of “pop-up” testing sites.

The sites began to open and operate over the weekend in Columbus. More sites are or will soon be opening throughout Ohio. You can check out the locations of testing sites right here.

Unemployment Assistance

Governor DeWine announced that today is the first day that Ohio has had to borrow money to meet its unemployment obligation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ohio requested $3.1 billion in borrowing authority from the U.S. Department of Labor. DeWine says that total exceeds what he thinks the state will need to pay out in benefits.

“It is essentially a line of credit, so we asked for greater authority than we currently think that we will need so that we have it just in case we need it,” explained DeWine.

Ohio is not alone. So far during the COVID-19 crisis, some other states, such as California and Texas, have also had to borrow money for their unemployment insurance obligation.

Family and Children First Council

Today, Governor DeWine announced a $1 million in grant funding to Ohio’s local Family and Children First Councils.

“Local FCFCs serve some of Ohio’s most vulnerable children who often need services from many different agencies,” said DeWine.

Right before the pandemic began, DeWine said the state planned to use $1.5 million from the current operating budget for grants and in-person training for Ohio’s FCFCs. The Governor says the state is now redeploying some of those funds to help FCFCs buy technological devices, like tablets, web cameras, and wireless hot spots.

“For many of the youth served by FCFCs, the changes to routines caused by coronavirus have been earth-shattering, especially for the ones who lack access to technology and the internet,” said DeWine. “As services moved online, some of these youth were left without a connection to their doctors.”

Meanwhile, for others, such as those in foster care and residential settings, DeWine says the pandemic separated them from their families and loved ones.

“These grants will help local FCFCs ensure that our most vulnerable kids can continue to connect with their loved ones and access medical care.”

Bad News for Pro Football Hall of Fame

During the portion of DeWine’s press conference where media members could ask questions, the Governor was asked about the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s enshrinement week festivities set for August.

Last week, Hall of Fame officials announced that no changes had yet been made toward any of the scheduled events. The Hall even spoke about embracing the opportunity for the Hall of Fame Game to serve as a “test case” for allowing fans to view live sporting events in a stadium.

While the Hall seemed optimistic about the possibility of large gatherings being permitted just seven weeks from today, DeWine says he simply can’t see that happening.

“Having a crowd that size, I think is highly unlikely,” said DeWine. “Certainly, it could not occur today. It would be very dangerous to do it today.”

DeWine continued saying that even as the state reopens, large gathers still remain a risk.

“These are the things that we have talked about all the way through this, as we open Ohio up, and we get back to work and get back to doing the things that we like, probably the last things that are going to be able to reopen are the big crowds,” said DeWine.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted added that the state has been in consistent talks with the Pro Football Hall of Fame where alternative plans have been discussed.