Friday Update: Ohio Sees Biggest Jump in Cases to Date, More Details Provided on Next Phase

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

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health’s latest report shows the biggest jump in cases to date. Ohio now has 9,107 cases of the coronavirus, which is an increase of 693 from yesterday’s total. There are 418 total deaths in the state. 2,424 Ohioans have now been hospitalized, 740 were admitted into the intensive care unit.

More than 77,000 COVID-19 tests have been given throughout the state. Ohio has a positive test rate of around 11.7%.

Update on Stark County

The latest report shows one more death in Stark County, increasing Stark’s death toll to 22. There are now 210 cases in Stark County, with 51 hospitalizations.

Spirit of Columbus Award

Governor DeWine opened his media availability this afternoon by honoring Dr. Amy Acton as this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Columbus Award.

Restarting Ohio

Governor DeWine went into more detail about the big news he delivered yesterday, which is his intention to start reopening the state of Ohio on May 1.

“We’re trying to get Ohio back to work,” DeWine said. “At the same time, we’re trying to protect Ohioans. Because of what you’ve done, we’re now in a much better position to do this. We’re going to have to slowly do this.”

The Governor says the state’s main goals of reopening Ohio businesses are to protect employees and customers. Businesses won’t be able to attract workers or customers if they feel they aren’t safe there. DeWine says a lot of this will be common sense. Taking what we’ve learned so far and putting it into effect.

“Distancing. There is no substitute for distancing. More distancing is always better. I’d expect to see people wearing masks. This is going to become common in public places. You’ll see barriers where barriers are appropriate. You’ll see surfaces cleaned frequently.”

What You Might See

Governor DeWine mentioned that once Ohio starts to reopen, there will be many different sites and practices citizens will be exposed to each day. Those things include:

  • People wearing gloves while at work
  • Staggered arrival times for employees entering work
  • Staggered lunches for people at work
  • Employees who can work from home will continue to work from home
  • Temperature checks of employees who can’t work from home.
  • A limited number of people who can be in a retail store

“After May 1, things will change some, but the essential reality is that this virus will remain out there, so our lives must be guided by that,” said DeWine. “We want to make sure every individual has as much info about their own condition and what risks there are.”

The Governor says Ohioans should continue to interact with others by assuming that each one of us is carrying the coronavirus.

Risk of Second Outbreak?

With Ohio taking steps to reopen in just a few weeks, some have concerns that the state might be moving forward too early. When asked what the state is doing to help avoid falling right back into the hole it is currently in, Dr. Amy Acton emphasized that each step back to normal will be a slow, calculated and cautious one.

“Each decision we make going forward has to be made with the best science,” said Acton. “We have to look at all aspects of all health problems. As a society we will have to inch our way forward.”

Acton said it is important for Ohioans to understand that this recovery will be phased approach.

“I hope no one at home thinks (the state) will be wide open on May 1,” said Acton. “It is really hard to hear that but we are not going back to six months ago. That is not the reality we all face. We are building that possibility moving forward. We are doing that in the best way possible, telling you everything we are doing, as we are doing it.”

Acton says the full plan for the next phase hasn’t been revealed yet because it is constantly developing. She says they want to use the latest information to help them make their decisions on what can be done next.