Friday Recap: Ohio Has First Confirmed Death Due to COVID-19

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

First Confirmed Death

The Ohio Department of Health confirmed reports from yesterday that 75-year-old Lucas County attorney Mark Wagner Sr was the first Ohio resident to die from COVID-19. Wagner was said to have pre-existing health conditions.

Update on Confirmed Cases

The state of Ohio now has 169 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The cases range from ages 1 to 91. 28 different counties have at least on case. Stark County has an additional confirmed case, upping its total to six. 39 Ohioans have been hospitalized.

Senior Citizen Centers to Close

Governor Mike DeWine has signed an executive order that will force all facilities providing older adult day care services and senior centers to close at the end of business on Monday, March 23.

“I’m assured that each center has taken care to ensure that those who depend on food, will get it,” DeWine said. “It will be delivered to their homes.”

More Businesses Could Close

The Governor spoke about how his primary job is to protect the citizens of the state of Ohio. DeWine first thanked businesses that have taken steps to be extra careful while remaining open.

“I want to thank the businesses who have gone out of their way to keep employees and customers safe. We have heroes out there in the business community,” said DeWine. “What you are doing every day is saving lives. There is no doubt about that.”

However, DeWine then mentioned that he has been receiving word of some businesses that are not taking the COVID-19 seriously and have continually ignored health measures and recommendations.

“I’m hearing of businesses that are recklessly risking the lives of their employees, their families, and everyone those employees come in contact with,” said DeWine. “This must stop. Please. Do what is right.”

The Governor acknowledged that some of the measures the state has taken resulted in people losing their jobs. “Each order was agonized over,” said DeWine. “We made these decisions to save lives.”

If further action needs to be taken, such as closing more non-essential businesses, DeWine says he will not hesitate.

“I will air on the side of protecting people. The bad behavior, the reckless behavior, must stop. The protection of life is the most important obligation that I have.”

Health Insurance Grace Period

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that the Ohio Department of Insurance is issuing an order to allow employers to take care of employees with a grace period for insurance premiums. Employers can defer their premium payments for health insurance for up to 2 months.

1099 Unemployment Assistance

Governor DeWine, along with the Governors of Washington, Alaska and Illionios sent a letter today asking President Trump to immediately unlock existing federal funding in the disaster unemployment account. This would make funding available for 1099 or other types of other types of employees who are currently ineligible. The President could also ask Congress to make the funding available.

Keeping Calm

In closing, the Governor had a message to all Ohioans. That message was to be patient, trust the steps that have been taken and learn to temporarily adjust to this style of life.

“We can’t panic over this because we’re going to be doing this for a while,” said DeWine. “Come up with a routine for how you want to live that is consistent with the new reality that we have to live under.”