Friday Recap: 3,000+ Cases in Ohio, Dozens of Prisoners Could Be Let Out Early

CANTON (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Once again, Governor Mike DeWine along with other state leaders and health officials spoke in Columbus this afternoon, providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio. Here is an outline on everything that was discussed.

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health reports that 91 people have now died in the state from COVID-19. Ohio has 3,312 confirmed cases. 895 Ohioans have been hospitalized from the coronavirus; 288 have been admitted into the intensive care unit.

COVID-19 continues to spread in Stark County. The latest report shows that another person has died in Stark, increasing the counties death total to four. Stark County now has 79 confirmed cases and 14 hospitalizations.

Learning from Home

The Ohio Department of Education has created this Remote Learning Resource Guide. It’s available on the Department of Education website and on the state’s coronavirus website. 

This guide is designed to be a one-stop shop to help schools, educators, students, parents, and caregivers as they navigate a new way of teaching and learning.

The Ohio Department of Education consulted with educators across the state to discuss how they’re approaching remote learning, and this guide incorporates their best advice for not only where to find information, but also for how to use it.

Better Testing

Ohio State and the ODH are collaborating to fill a few critical holes in testing. Because of supply chain problems, Ohio can’t always get the swabs and tubes and transport liquid. DeWine says OSU and the ODH will make sure these are produced in Ohio.

Additionally, DeWine says there is a shortage in the chemicals or reagents necessary to run the tests. The state has a group working on that to make sure these are available. The testing is complex and health officials are working to ramp up testing. The Governor says that won’t be set up overnight, but the state is making progress.

Cyber Health

Major General John C Harris jr. with the Ohio National guard spoke about how Ohioans must keep an eye on their cyber protection.

Our computer networks are running at a higher capacity because more people are working from home, so it’s important to protect the network.

Change your passwords. Make sure your kids are practicing good cyber-hygiene. Update your antivirus software.

Creating Space in Prisons

Governor DeWine says he felt it was important to look at Ohio’s prison population. Ohio has almost 49,000 prisoners. DeWine says the state has started to look at different prisoners who it might make sense to send home early.

DeWine’s administration is sending letters to judges in the state about 38 prisoners who might be able to be released early. “These are not sex offenders, murderers, domestic abusers,” DeWine said. “We’ve screened out many people.”

Ohio has 23 women in its prison system who are pregnant or have a child in prison. The state will send a letter to the judge in their case to make a determination on if these women are appropriate to be released early.

The other 15 people over the age of 60 and are approaching their release date that the state believes could be released early. Again, DeWine says these are not serious violent offenders

Banks Receive Guidance

Lt. Governor Jon Husted says COVID-19 is not just a health virus, it’s an economic virus on all Ohioans.

“We’ve taken many steps to help Ohioians,” said Husted. “But I received a call this morning from a few banks who said we finally got guidance from SBA for the loans in the Payment Protection Program as part of the CARE Act.”

The banks now have guidance on how Ohioans can apply. Many are doing that today.

“In talking with businesses, many talked about how easy it was,” said Husted.

It is focused on employers with 500 employers are fewer — and the loan can be forgivable for things like payroll, interest on a mortgage, rent, and utilities. More info on this can be found here. 

More Jobs!

Yesterday Lt. Governor Husted told Ohioans that they can post open jobs to the new COVID-19 job search site. The state had 11,000 open jobs on that site yesterday and today there are 21,000.