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Saturday Update: Governor DeWine Encourages Ohioans to Wear Masks in Public

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

There are now over 100 deaths and more than 1,000 hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the Buckeye State. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reports that 102 Ohioans have died from the coronavirus.

Ohio now has 3,739 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 1,006 people in the state have been hospitalized, 326 have been admitted into the intensive care unit. More than 41,000 COVID-19 tests have been given in Ohio so far.

Another Death in Stark County

The latest update showed that another person died from the coronavirus in Stark County. The County Health Department tells WHBC news that the Stark County’s fifth death was an 87 year old woman from Lexington TWP. The woman was in hospice care for other health issues prior to her death.

Stark County now has a total of 17 hospitalizations and 92 confirmed cases. Mahoning County has had 13 deaths from the virus, which is tied with Cuyahoga County for the most.

Expanding Telehealth

Governor Mike DeWine signed an order that expands teleHealth services in Ohio.

“We want to ensure that those who see providers for not just their physical health,but also for their mental and behavioral health are able to access to care, as well,” DeWine said.

The new executive order that will effectively allow Ohioans to more easily access telehealth services from individual counselors, social workers, and marriage and family counselors.

Normally to utilize telehealth services, one must have had a face-to-face first meeting and counselors and social workers would be required to take special training in providing telehealth services. This order will enable those requirements to be removed, so patients can more easily access providers.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health,” said DeWine. “In this time of social distancing and stay at home orders, we are trying to ensure that those who need services can access them without leaving their homes.”

Masks are a Good Thing

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people wear masks if out in public. Governor DeWine encourages all Ohioans to follow that recommendation and added that he will be doing so as well.

“For days that I’m in the public, I intend to wear a mask,” said DeWine. “Not an N95 mask, but one that my wife made. There are limitations to them, but masks help. Wearing a mask should be accepted. We won’t require them in Ohio, but I intend on wearing one and you should consider doing so.”

The masks are not perfect, but are believed to be about 80% effective, which still could make a difference. DeWine also encourages employers to allow employees to wear these masks as well.

More information on CDC recommended masks can be found here.   

Wifi “Hot spot” Locations

Lt. Governor Jon Husted spoke about complaints he has received from Ohioans about internet access and internet speed. Due to many people working from home or simply being at home more often, the internet service in numerous areas has become sub-par.

Through BroadbandOhio, the state’s office dedicated to improving access to high-speed internet, Ohio has been working with providers to find public “hotspot” locations that Ohioans can use in areas where they may not otherwise have access to internet from home.

You can find more information on public “hotspots” right here. 

Social Distancing is Working!

Dr. Amy Acton with the ODH delivered some good news on Saturday afternoon, saying that the social distancing efforts made by Ohioans are working.

However, she says this does not mean the state can ease off. Instead, Acton says Ohioans efforts should increase.

“We are flattening the curve, but we can’t let up,” said Acton. “Masks are going to be in ADDITION to what we’re doing with social distancing, not as a substitution.”

These metrics come from a mobility report done by google. The report provides a break down of each state and county. You can view the full report right here. 

Staying at Home this Summer

When asked if the Stay at Home Order that Ohio could be extended once again when it expires on May 1, Governor DeWine said at this time, he is leaving no options off of the table.

“We don’t know,” said DeWine. “We will see where we go. You’ve heard Dr. Acton explain what the modelers are telling her, so we really don’t know.”


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