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

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health’s latest report shows that there are now 8,414 total cases of COVID-19 in the Buckeye State. 389 Ohioans have now died from the virus. 2,331 people have been hospitalized, 707 people have been admitted into the intensive care unit.

More than 74,000 COVID-19 tests have been given in Ohio. The state has a positive test rate of around 11%.

Update on Stark County

The state’s latest update shows four new deaths in Stark County. Stark’s death total is now at 21. There are now 204 cases of COVID-19 in the county. 51 people have been hospitalized.

“The End of the Beginning”

Governor DeWine opened his press conference this afternoon delivering a quote from Winston Church Hill.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

DeWine says the quote applies to where Ohio is at in the fight against COVID-19.

“I believe this is where we are today. At the end of the beginning stage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DeWine.

The Governor says the state will start its next phase on May 1. That phase involves the re-opening of Ohio.

While DeWine says he is proud of Ohioans efforts and excited to move forward, he reminded citizens that it will still be a long road back to normal.

“Life will not resume to normal for a while,” said DeWine. “We all have continue taking precautions and protecting the most vulnerable Ohioans- seniors and those with pre-existing and chronic health conditions.”

DeWine says as the state begins to open back up, health officials will continue to monitor where we are at in the curve, the amount of PPE the state has available, and Ohio’s testing capacity.

A large priority the state will have when the reopening begins will be reviving the economy. Howerver, DeWine says it must be done safely.

“In re-opening any business, it will be essential to provide a safe environment for employees,” DeWine. “Ohio cannot have another large spike of COVID-19 cases.”

He continued saying, “We have appointed an economic group of advisories, business men and women from across all sectors of Ohio, who are working address this economic crisis. We have learned a lot from our companies who are considered essential and are still open during the Stay at Home Order. Many safety precautions have been put into place to protect employees.”

DeWine wrapped up his opening remarks by hammering home his belief in Ohioans.

“I am an optimist and am confident that Ohioans will also live up to the challenge of doing things differently as we open back up beginning on May 1st.”

The plan for what happens after May 1 is still in the works. Governor DeWine says the state will provide outlines on what actions will be taken in regard toward many things such as what businesses can re-open, schools returning, etc. as we approach that date.