Monday Update: Additional Measures Taken to Help Nursing Homes, Prevent Out-of-State Liquor Sales

COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – After taking the weekend off, Governor Mike DeWine and other state leaders spoke in Columbus this afternoon, providing updates on COVID-19. Below is a complete outline of everything that was discussed.

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) latest report shows that the state now has a total of 6,975 cases of COVID-19. 274 have now died from the coronavirus.

2,033 Ohioans have been hospitalized; 613 were admitted into the intensive care unit. Over 65,000 were tested for COVID-19 in the Buckeye State. Ohio has a positive test rate of around 10.7%.

Stark County is up to 167 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 42 people have been hospitalized so far in Stark County, while 12 have died from the virus.

Anti-Body Testing

Governor DeWine says the state has hve heard that some companies in Ohio are purchasing rapid anti-body tests to begin testing their staff and, in some cases, their customers. His message to those companies: proceed with caution.

“Anti-body testing is one piece to the puzzle on determining when employees can return to work,” DeWine said. “However, I wanted to caution all companies looking at this option to ensure they are only buying FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approved anti-body tests. Without this FDA Emergency Use Authorization approval, there is no way to know if the tests are valid.”

Many of these testing companies are legitimately in the queue at the FDA for approval, which will help expand the use. However, DeWine recommends that you only use companies that are listed on the FDA website.

Additionally, companies should ask for a letter of authorization from the FDA on their anti-body test kit, which is proof they have been approved. The website and list of new vendors is updated daily.

Prison Update

The Ohio National Guard will begin providing assistance to the medical staff at Pickaway Correctional Institution. There are a number of medical staff out sick due to COVID-19. The National Guard will provide triage support, taking temps, and helping with non-COVID-19 cases.

An inmate housed at Pickaway Correctional has died. DeWine says the inmate had a long-term chronic illness and was tested for COVID-19 before his death. The test results returned positive today. This the 1st death of a state inmate who has tested positive for the virus.

Nursing Homes

Governor DeWine asked Dr. Acton to issue an order that will require long-term care facilities to notify residents and families within 24 hours of a resident or staff member becoming infected.

The Ohio Department of Health had been strongly encouraging facilities to notify families before this. However, this is now required.

Further, the state will be providing a list of long-term care facilities where an associated individual has tested positive its COVID-19 website.

Liquor Update

In compliance with the Ohio Department of Health orders designed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the in-person sale of liquor in these counties will be restricted only to Ohioans:

  • Ashtabula
  • Trumbull
  • Mahoning
  • Columbiana
  • Jefferson
  • Belmont

Sale of liquor to a person with a valid non-Ohio photo ID may only occur with additional information showing that the person resides in Ohio, including mail with the person’s name and Ohio address on it a bill with the person’s name and Ohio address on it, or a letter from an employer placing the person in Ohio as an essential employee.

Helping Food Banks

On Friday, Governor DeWine signed an Executive Order to provide nearly $5 million in emergency funding from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant to support Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks and the statewide hunger relief network.

Of this, $1 million is earmarked for the Agricultural Clearance Program, where the Ohio Association of Foodbanks will purchase Ohio-made commodities, such as milk, to distribute to foodbanks across the state.

An additional $1 million has been granted to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio to help Ohio’s homeless shelters purchase needed cleaning supplies and also provide homelessness prevention and housing services.

“Just because we’ve been able to identify these dollars, it doesn’t mean all of the problems are solved in the long-run,” said DeWine. “Please continue your generous donations to food banks.”

More Jobs!

Lt. Governor Jon Husted says as of today, there is still a growing need for those who can work in essential positions. There are 40,000+ jobs on the Ohio’s COVID-19 job portal from 642 employers.