COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Governor Mike DeWine along with other state and health officials spoke in Columbus this afternoon, providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio. Below is an outline of everything that was discussed.
Ohio may have its first death from the coronavirus: a 76-year-old attorney from the Toledo area was waiting for test results when he passed away… There are 119 documented cases in Ohio as of 2 p.m. yesterday , with 5 in Stark County.
COVID-19 is now in 24 different counties. 33 people have been hospitalized. The cases range from ages 2 through 91 with the median age being 49.
Governor DeWine is asking Ohioans today to put their American flags out. “Just as in a time of war, we’ve been attacked by this virus and we have to pull together,” DeWine said. “It’s going to be the small acts of each and every Ohioan that will make all the difference in the world.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor spoke on what the state court system will be doing during the Coronavirus pandemic. O’Connor says courts must be open to address emergency and time-sensitive matters. However, courts can be closed to the public for non-essential purposes.
Local courts were encouraged to use their own judgement and authority on how they continue operations. The Supreme Court will release grants for all court rooms to have video conferencing capabilities.
Governor DeWine says that there should be no worry on the grocery supply chain in the state of Ohio. “I want to assure everyone that the grocery supply chain is going well,” said DeWine. “The food is not going to run out at the grocery store.”
Yesterday, Governor DeWine requested the National Guard to help transport, package, and distribute food to those serviced by food banks in 12 Counties (Allen, Butler, Clark, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Hocking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery and Summit).
DeWine says that the National guard is not carrying weapons and is simply being used to help people receive food services that they depend on. He also added that the rumors about quarantining everyone in Ohio in their homes, martial law is not true.
Governor DeWine is issuing an executive order that will expand access to medical and behavioral health services using telehealth. The State of Ohio is expanding Medicaid access to these services so that patients won’t have to go to the office or the hospital. They can talk to experts over the phone or online.
DeWine says enabling services to be done remotely is a good way to take the pressure off of emergency rooms and hospitals while allowing Ohioans to continue to receive quality care and not have to leave the home.
Dr. Amy Acton with the Ohio Department of Health says one thing Ohioans can do to help during these difficult times is by donating blood. Those who are healthy are asked to go to the Red Cross website or their local blood center.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted says that Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is not seeking a new election, just to extend the voting period to June 2. This means that if citizens have already voted they will not need to do that again.
Lt. Governor Husted encourages employers to visit http://workforce.ohio.gov. “We have a list of a variety of ways you can up-skill during this time,” said Husted. “When we come out of this, the digital economy is going to be strong. This is the time to up-skill your workers.”
Husted says lawmakers are continuing to work toward making additional changes to the state’s unemployment laws. Specifically, the goal is to have plans in place that will help part time employees and independent contractors. For more information on unemployment benefits, you can head to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website.