COLUMBUS, Ohio —

Sunday

The Ohio Department of Health issued a statewide stay-at-home order Sunday for all Ohioans effective 11:59 p.m. Monday night, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.  

DeWine said there isn't anything in that order that he hasn't asked the public to do in the past week. 

He explained the order consists of three parts. The first is leaving home will only be allowed for essential activities regarding safety and health, getting essential supplies, and outdoor activities, such as going to the park or walking the dog. However, playgrounds will be closed. 

The second is for work that is deemed essential; a list of businesses that can stay open was drafted by the state government. And lastly, people can still take care of others. That includes neighbors, a family member or a pet in another household. 

The governor also addressed essential businesses allowed to stay open, which will have to follow safety guidelines, such as making sure people can stay at least 6-feet apart, having hand sanitizer readily available and instituting separate operating hours for vulnerable customers. 

The order will stay in effect until April 6, when the government will reassess the situation.  

DeWine also announced that The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy approved a malaria drug that can be prescribed for its intended purpose and for those who test positive for COVID-19. 

Additionally, Ohio will forego all state-mandated testing for schools.  

Essential Services

Essential business and operations are defined in the order as:

  • Stores that sell groceries or medicine. 
  • Food, beverage, and licensed marijjuana production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Religious entities
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick up services
  • Educational institutions
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants offering carry-out or delivery services
  • Businesses that sell or manufacture items needed to work from home
  • Transportation
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services including lega, accounting, insurance, real estate
  • Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain of critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services
  • Anyone who works at businesses or operations listed on the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security CISA list

For more details on what are considered essential businesses see the complete stay-at-home order above.

Daycares

The state government also issued new guidelines for daycares. Those include making sure there are no more than six children per room, one teacher per six children and limiting parent interaction at the dropoff location. 

The order goes into effect on Thursday and will be effective until April 30, which can be extended. 

DeWine also added the number of children in daycare has dramatically gone down. At the beginning of the virus outbreak, there were 117,000 children enrolled in state-subsidized daycares. Now, that number has gone down to about 17,000. 

New numbers 

The health department also updated the number of coronavirus cases in the state Sunday. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped to 351 while the number of hospitalizations went up to 83. Three people have died from the illness. 

Forty counties in the state have recorded confirmed cases. Those include Ashland, Ashtabula, Belmont, Butler, Carroll, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Franklin, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Huron, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Miami, Montgomery, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Warren, and Wood Counties.

Saturday

Gov. Mike DeWine ordered that all adult day centers for individuals with disabilities close in Ohio. The governor said there are provisions in place to ensure that every adult who relies on these services continues to receive care. 

The Ohio Department of Health confirmed the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio reached 247 Saturday. 

"Our case numbers are a history snapshot of the past. They are not telling the full data and the full story of what's happening here. And I need you to look at what's going on the ground to understand the full impact of what's going on here," Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said.

Acton added the state is conserving all available testing for the most high-risk, hospitalized and front-line workers. 

So far, 33 Ohio counties have reported cases. Those include Ashland, Belmont, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Franklin, Galia, Geauga, Hamilton, Huron, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Miami, Montgomery, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union and Warren. 

Statewide, there are 58 hospitalizations and three people from Lucas, Cuyahoga and Erie Counties have died. 

Economy

In regards to the impact on the economy, Lt. Gov. John Husted said the state is having on-going conversations with multiple chambers of commerce as well as other organizations in order to protect Ohio businesses.

Husted announced the Bureau of Workers Compensation is going to make sure that businesses can forego payments for March, April and May and defer them until June 1, 2020, at which time further consideration will be given based on the pandemic.

The lieutenant governor added the administration has received multiple complaints regarding the supply chain. 

"We have grocers and people who deliver medical supplies ask if they can have a waiver from the department of transportation in seeking the weight and size waivers that they need to provide larger loads of these vital products to the health care and the food supply chain community," he said. 

Husted announced the Ohio Department of Transportation will be granting those waivers for haulers carrying essential goods and that the permit fee for oversized loads will be waived. 

Mental health 

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Lori Criss spoke on the press conference via Skype and ensured citizens that behavioral health care in the state is "open for business."

She urged those who are going under addiction or mental health treatment, to keep in touch with their providers. Those who are not sure if they should go in for their appointments can seek treatment via teleconference or phone. 

Criss also urged those who are struggling with mental health for the first time to seek help.

The director added that people can find resources here

Friday 

The first death in the state of Ohio due to the COVID-19 pandemic was recorded on Friday, and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department confirmed that a man in his 70s who traveled to California in the past month. 

During the news conference, Gov. Mike DeWine extended his condolences to the Mark Wagoner family. On Thursday, Lucas County GOP Chairman Mark Wagoner shared a Facebook post that stated his father was a presumptive positive for the coronavirus and had died on Wednesday. 

“We have now entered a new phase of our battle with #COVID19. Yesterday, #Ohio had its first death from the #coronavirus. It was someone who @LtGovHusted and I knew very well. He was very well respected by everyone who knew him. All of us extend our deepest sympathy,” DeWine also tweeted.

"He loved his country, his family and his state, and he will certainly be missed," Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said of Mark "Mick" Wagoner, whom he knew well.  

New Closures 

DeWine also ordered the closure of senior citizen centers and adult day cares by the end of business Monday. The executive order will be in effect at 5 p.m. Monday.

DeWine said that "we're not there yet" as far as ordering a closure for child day cares. He said that hospitals will be allowed to establish their own day cares if needed. 

Businesses and temperature checks/social distancing 

While no wide announcement about forced business closures came Friday, DeWine had stern words for employers who were not instituting social distancing and temperature checks. 

"I continue to received emails and texts from employees who have observed what has gone on  in businesses that have not complied. This simply must stop. I implore you. Do what is right. As I continue to balance responsibility to the people of Ohio ... with our attempt to keep this economy moving, let me make it very clear that I will err on the side of protecting people. No announcement today, but the bad behavior, the reckless behavior must stop," DeWine said. 

When asked what the next step would be, DeWine said "I think people can imagine what that next step would be. I would not hesitate to close businesses for the safety of the public. I'm going to put the safety of the people first." 

When asked what it would take before a shelter in place order was issued, DeWine said many Ohioans are already doing that. 

"It's the wisest thing to do. It's the safest thing to do. There are certain people who have to be out. Even if you were to issue an order today, there is still a whole  list of people you exempt or your not going to eat, your'e not going to function. It's not all black and white. In essence we are sheltering in place," he said. "If you can stay home, you should stay home."

Coronavirus cases in Ohio

Dr. Amy Acton also shared her deepest condolences to the Wagoner family upon the death of Mark Wagoner Sr.

On Friday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state reached 169, spread throughout 28 counties. 

The illness onset range is Feb. 7 to March 18. Females make up 69 cases and 100 males are confirmed to have COVID-19.  The age range is now 1-year-old to 91 years of age, with a median of age of 49.

According to the daily update found at the Ohio Department of Health's website: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/, the counties in which confirmed cases are found are the following: Ashland (1), Ashtabula (1), Belmont (2), Butler (12), Clark (1), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (69), Darke (1), Delaware (2), Franklin (14), Geauga (1), Hamilton (7), Huron (1), Lake (3), Lorain (10), Lucas (2), Mahoning (7), Marion (1), Medina (6), Miami (1), Montgomery (1), Richland (1), Stark (6), Summit (10), Trumbull (3), Tuscarawas (1), Union (1), Warren (2). 

Acton said we are now entering a new phase, with the first recorded death.

"I just want to share my condolences with the family. We are all going through this together. Every single life matters," she said. 

The health department says of those people with confirmed COVID-19 cases, 39 are hospitalized.

When asked why there are more male cases than female, Acton noted that same pattern in some of the data from China. 

"I'm very curious to find out. There is not a large enough sample size to draw from. It's too little data," she said. "We don't have an answer for that yet." 

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department on Friday confirmed the first death in the COVID-19 pandemic in the state was a man in his early 70s who traveled to California in the past month. 

Acton encouraged people to continue to Call the ODH at 833 4 ASK ODH. 

Unemployment Eligibility 

Husted said a letter was sent to President Donald Trump to unlock the disaster unemployment account to help 1099 and other types of employees who currently are ineligible for unemployment. 

This is incredibly important that the federal government step in and help us serve these people who are displaced by the actions taken to protect our health and safety," Husted said.

Insurance

The Ohio Department of Insurance is issuing an order to allow employers to take care of employees with a grace period for insurance premiums. Employers can defer their premium payments for health insurance for up to two months. 

Grocery stores 

According to Husted, "they are all hiring." The lieutenant governor said the grocery stores are essential to the supply chain and urges patience. He noted an anecdote relayed to him about a fight breaking out over toilet paper in a store.

"Come on folks. We have to be better than that. We have to treat people better than that and respect each other's workplaces," he said. "Tough times reveal our character. We can either be selfish or selfless. How do you want to remember yourself?" 

Thursday 

Highlights

  • Regarding the National Guard, DeWine said you'll see the soldiers carrying "groceries, not weapons." A call-up for food distribution aid was placed Wednesday. He put down rumors of martial law and mass quarantine lockdowns. 
  • The governor acknowledged the short supply of thermometers, especially after Wednesday's encouragement that employers check their employees' temperature. He now directs employers who do not have thermometers to ask their employees if they took their temperature and ascertain how they are feeling. He also again urged social distancing in workplaces. 
  • Regarding families who want to go on spring break or are returning, the governor said if you've been traveling you are asked to stay in your home upon your return.  "As far as anyone thinking about traveling, please reconsider that. That is a high-risk proposition," DeWine said. 
  • A PUCO directive that came out last week was brought up by the governor. A  moratorium on gas and electric shut-offs was issued last week through May 1. 
  • Local government officials have raised concerns about being able to conduct business remotely,  and DeWine said the General Assembly will take up the issue next week, but to prepare for that. He noted the media must be alerted to meetings and be given the opportunity to see proceedings - safely - as well. 
  • Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday said that the grocery supply chain is going well and sought to reassure citizens who worried that supply would run out. "Things are still moving forward. Transportation is still going. It will be a priority as we move forward," he said.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the banking system is still intact and remains strong. He encourages residents to call their banks to see if they are taking part in loan and mortgage deferrals, as some have already been doing. 

Ohio Medicaid and Telehealth

Director Maureen Corcoran spoke regarding the Ohio Department of Medicaid, and its response during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Corcoran said the governor will issue an executive order to authorize emergency rules to dramatically expand access to telehealth services. This includes simple things like telephone calls, landlines, and simple smartphones. Medicaid services will be expanded to let agents reach people using these devices. 

To be served by telehealth, the individuals do not necessarily need to have an existing relationship with a doctor, Corcoran said. You can sign up for this now, she said. It is expanded so there are no limitations on practitioners or sites where a patient can be consulted. 

"Enabling this full array of services -med and behavioral health - is an important way to take pressure of ER and hospitals while allowing Ohioans to continue to receive good quality care without leaving their houses," Corcoran said. "It allows us to protect families and health and behavioral health practitioners from contracting and spreading the virus." She noted that private insurers are also increasingly moving to expand their telehealth services. 


Ohio Courts 

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor joined the daily briefing on Thursday to discuss proceedings with the courts of Ohio. 

"This is an unprecedented time, undoubtedly. We must come together to guarantee the operation of the public's access to justice," she said.

  • To continue operating, O'Connor said the judiciary must do the following: 
  • Courts must be open to address emergency and time sensitive matters
  • Judges across each county must operate among themselves to continue essential court functions. 
  • Judges need to collaborate with local leaders to make a plan to ensure access to the courts continues. 
  • The courts can be closed to the public for non-essential functions, she said. Use of technology is urged to reduce the need for face to face interactions.

"The need for uniform buy in among judges is paramount," she said.

Lower bonds are encouraged as well to reduce jail populations, as are continuances for nonessential court appearances; temporary stays on eviction proceedings , minor misdemeanors, nonviolent misdemeanors; and traffic violations. 

Also, O'Connor called for the release of people in jail who are in a high-risk category of being infected.

"This is to safeguard those who are in jail and to offer the individual who may be at risk the opportunity to be isolated. This is up to local courts to do," she said. 

The website of the Ohio Judicial Conference sc.ohio.gov contains orders issued by local courts and has the response from the judiciary. 

Flying the flag 

DeWine started the daily news conference with a nod to the change of seasons, and asked Ohioans to display hope and a sense of community. 

"This year's spring comes early. Later tonight is when spring comes in. Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, and always a time of hope," DeWine said. 

The governor asked residents to fly the flag as a sign of solidarity during this time of crisis. 

"I ask all my fellow Ohio citizens to do that. We will get through this. Spring will come," he said. 

Coronavirus cases in Ohio

On Thursday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state reached 119, spread throughout two dozen counties. 

According to the daily update found at the Ohio Department of Health's website: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/, the counties in which confirmed cases are found are the following: Ashland (1), Belmont (2), Butler (8), Clark (1), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (53), Darke (1), Delaware (2), Franklin (10), Geauga (1), Hamilton (1), Huron (1), Lake (2), Lorain (6), Lucas (1), Mahoning (5), Medina (5), Miami (1), Montgomery (1), Richland (1), Stark (5), Summit (6), Trumbull (2), Tuscarawas (1). 

The illness onset range is Feb. 7 to March 18. Females make up 43 cases and 76 males are confirmed to have COVID-19. 

The health department says of those people with confirmed COVID-19 cases, 33 are hospitalized.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of health, urges people, "Please heed the warning, time is of the essence." 

She is urging young people to take this seriously, as young people are getting ill.
Dr. Acton also asks that Ohioans donate blood if you are healthy. 

Presumptive case 

Also on Thursday,  Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Mark Wagoner released a statement about the death of his father, 76-year-old Mark Wagoner Sr., who he said was presumptively diagnosed with COVID-19. 

According to his Facebook post, Wagoner said, "We are well aware of the rumors surrounding his condition, so we’ll address them. Our Dad was diagnosed with presumptive COVID-19, although the final test results have not yet arrived. We have been working closely with the Lucas County Health Department and other entities over the last week to ensure that proper notice to those who may have been impacted was being provided. Our Dad would’ve wanted us to be looking out for others even as he was fighting for his life."

 


WEDNESDAY 

At Wednesday's daily coronavirus briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine outlined new orders for closures - including BVMs and hair salons - and touched on what he said has been a frequent question regarding the National Guard's future role in helping to address the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Temperature tests

Employers are asked to take the temperature of every employee who reports to work every day, DeWine said. Businesses are also to aggressively implement cleaning practices. 

If an employee has a temperature, the employee is to be sent home, he said. 

"It's not perfect, but it is a way to screen employees," DeWine said. 

National Guard

"Let me be very, very clear: When the National Guard is going to do something, you will know about it," DeWine said.

He said the way the NG is usually used is to help us and assist us, not necessarily in a military manner. 

He said the Guard will help hospitals erect tents for isolation and checks of patients. Food banks also are needing assistance, the governor said, and the Guard will assist the food banks as needed. 

"This is civilian work. We can take the equipment and expertise the Guard has to help with this," DeWine said. 

New closings

At the end of the day, most of Ohio's bureaus of motor vehicle locations will close. Five facilities will remain open to issue commercial driver's licenses and renewals, as DeWine noted commercial transit is vital. The 52 driver's examination stations will close, he said. 

The General Assembly will be asked to permit a grace period for people who do not get to renew their licenses. Tickets will not be issued for people with expired licenses that stem from this closure. 

All barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors and spas are to close at the end of the business day March 18. 

Libraries will remain open, DeWine, and this will be up to each individual library to determine. He asks that libraries implement social distancing practices. 

Testing 

"I want to clear up any confusion Ohioans may have on whether they should get tested or not. ... This is true all across the country - testing is limited," DeWine said. "Testing capacity is limited and in likelihood will remain limited. If you're worried about a family member or yourself and you feel like you need to get tested, I understand that concern. However, the vast majority of Ohioans do not need to be tested. If you have symptoms, treat yourself like you have it and stay home. 

"The most patriotic thing you can do is to stay isolated at home. The vast, vast majority of people who get this will be able to stay home - they won't need to be hospitalized. If your symptoms worsen, call your health care provider." 

The governor said testing must be done in a methodical, calculated way so doctors and scientists can monitor and make progress.

"We must be at war with it. We are at war with a very, very dangerous and lethal enemy. This virus' mission is to reproduce. For it to go person to person, it needs our help. It cannot do its damage without us. We become its enablers. ... We have it within our own control how fast this spreads and how wide it spreads. ... This enemy is dangerous, it is relentless and it is using us as its host and it is using us to survive, to multiply, to go form person to person. We have it within our ability to fight back. When you stop moving, when I stop moving: It stops moving. We must stop enabling this enemy," DeWine said. "Every one of us is in this fight. We don't need to go into the battlefield ourselves - we simply need to stay home." 

The governor encouraged residents to stay socially connected, but physically separated.

Schools 

When asked if it was possible if students would not be back in the school buildings for the rest of the school year, DeWine said it was possible. 

He also noted state testing is "the least" of our problems right now.

"If it goes into the summer, schools will continue to everything they can by remote learning. We will do everything we can to make sure kids who were eligible to graduate do graduate. We'd waive testing," DeWine said. "Parents should not be worried about that. Students need to focus on their education. Kid who were going to graduate are going to graduate." 

Families and staying home 

DeWine appeared for the daily coronavirus update on Wednesday and introduced his wife, Fran, to share with Ohio families what the DeWine family is doing as they observe the social distancing that is prescribed to help prevent the spread and spike of COVID-19 in the state. 

"This really is no ordinary time for families. But I see Ohioans coming together all across the state to help each other. When it was announced that schools were closing, I was concerned about how those kids were going to eat. Withing 5 days 350 schools opened doors to provide food," she said. 

The DeWines have eight children and 24 grandchildren. 

"One of the things that we love is do, and what I encourage families to do, is to read to their kids," Fran DeWine said. "One thing I've been concentrated on is setting up Imagination Library in Ohio. I encourage you that if you haven't signed up for it, go to ohioimaginationlibrary.org." 

The state has about 75 counties it's available in, she said, and more coming online soon. 

She also encouraged cooking with children, and even making homemade molding clay and included her recipe for it on her Facebook page. 

"I showed my granddaughters how to make noodles. It's something my grandmother taught me to make years and years ago. I'll put the recipe up and you can make them with your kids and make chicken and noodles, fettucine. Little things like that I think can help bring families together," Fran DeWine said. 

She said she is also helping her mother, who's in her 90s, to FaceTime with her grandchildren to help her from feeling isolated, as she still lives in her own home. 

Coronavirus cases in Ohio

The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Ohio is now 88, according to the Ohio Department of Health's website. Twenty-six of those people are hospitalized.

The health department says there are 333 people under investigation in 19 counties, including one confirmed in Lucas County.

The confirmed coronavirus cases are in 19 counties: Ashland has 1, Belmont has 2, Butler has 8, Coshochton has 2, Cuyahoga has 38, Darke has 1, Delaware has 1, Franklin has 7, Geauga has 1, Huron has 1, Lake has 2, Lorain has 6, Mahoning has 3, Lucas has 1, Medina has 4, Stark has 3, Summit has 4, Trumbull has 2, and Tuscarawas has 1.

The age range of confirmed cases is now 2 years old to 91 years of age with a median age of 48.5 years. Of the confirmed cases, there are 33 females and 55 males with 26 hospitalizations. There are zero deaths that we are aware of, Dr. Amy Acton said. 

TUESDAY

In Tuesday's daily press briefing regarding COVID-19 in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine looked back on the rapid progress of the coronavirus in the state, and expressed hope that next St. Patrick's Day would look vastly different. 

The governor has taken sweeping decisions that affect all of Ohio - action that other states likely will emulate in hopes of "flattening the curve" and stopping the spread of COVID-19 and stressing the health care system. 

"It was just two weeks ago today that we discussed the Arnold. That's an idea of how quickly things moving," Gov. Mike DeWine said. 

He also acknowledged that the state delegation itself is adhering to new guidelines limiting the number of people in a single gathering. 

"Our setup is different today. We are working to comply with the suggestion from the president in regard to not having more than 10 people in the room," he said. "We have our media in two different rooms and we are here in a separate room. This is what is called the State Room in the Capitol building in Columbus."

Dr. Amy Acton was asked when and if Ohioans would be asked to shelter in place. 

"It would be a very complicated set of factors. You will be able to get food ... we're going to keep the stores stocked and you can get medicine now. 'Shelter in place' is used in the emergency management system. In effect, that's kind of what we are doing, in a very gentle way. If we see that beginning rise on our health system and demand on our ICUs, it would be an amalgam of factors and we would ask for a more strict application." 

I know people who are already doing that, DeWine said. "They are voluntarily doing that. We recommend anyone who can do that to really, really limit the number of people they come into contact with. We are all in this together. If you have a neighbor with a health issue, get them some food, help them out. We've got to take care of each other." 

DeWine also noted that the rainy day fund that is held in Ohio could be used to help with this crisis and it's under consideration.

DeWine, Dr. Acton, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said they have not been tested for COVID-19. 

"If and when we exhibited any signs of COVID-19, we'd go immediately to be tested," Husted said. 

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Coronavirus cases in Ohio

The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Ohio is now 67, according to the Ohio Department of Health's website, with just one still in Lucas County. Seventeen of those people are hospitalized.

The health department says there are 333 people under investigation in 16 counties, including one in Lucas County.

The confirmed coronavirus cases are in 12 counties: Belmont has 2, Butler has 6, Coshochton has 2, Cuyahoga has 31, Darke has 1, Franklin has 4, Geauga has 1, Lake has 1, Lorain has 4, Lucas has 1, Medina has 3, Stark has 3, Summit has 4, Trumbull has 2, and Tuscarawas 1.

With those 67 cases in Ohio, the illness onset range is the earliest was Feb. 7 and the March 16 latest onset. The ages of people infected range from 14 to 86, with a median age of 48. There are 26 females and 41 males. There are 17 hospitalizations, including more ICU hospitalizations. The county data includes people from other counties who traveled to a different county's hospital for testing.

Primary Election Delay

Regarding the order to delay the March 17 primary election, DeWine said the goal is that everyone who wants to vote, will vote, and won't choose between their health and their constitutional rights. He said the order to delay was in the best interest of the health of Ohioans. 

"You'll find those poll workers are 65 years of age and older and some much older than that. Our goal was to  not expose them (to COVID-19). A person in all good conscience could go vote and show no symptoms and spread it. Conversely, we could have had poll workers who had the virus and unknowingly spread it."

Moving forward, the governor said there are good solutions out there that the General Assembly or the courts can come to. 

"We are entering a more difficult time. We are going to have more and m ore of our citizens who become ill. We need to allow those citizens to have the opportunity to at some time vote," DeWine said. "We presented a plan that we feel will preserve people's rights by setting the election at June 2." 

Caregivers and Future Hospital Capacity 

DeWine also praised caregivers who are still on the job during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I want to thank our fellow Ohioans who continue each day to serve our most vulnerable Ohioans. They provide essential, direct care to our citizens who are developmentally disabled as well as our elderly community. They continue to show up and this is essential care. 

A challenge the governor said is coming is the issue of hospital capacity and being ready when this hits hard. He discussed "flattening the curve" to avoid the spike seen in Italy and to prevent hospitals from being overrun and out of equipment. 

"One of the things we worry about is not having enough beds, not having enough ventilators, not having enough personal protection equipment for doctors," DeWine said. He noted health care personnel are already delaying nonessential surgeries to preserve equipment. 

Dr. Amy Acton said an order is being issued today regarding surgeries and other activities in hospitals to preserve needed equipment as coronavirus cases mount. 

"Thank you to our vets and our dentists for donating their personal protective equipment for this cause," Acton said. She said that PPE, nasal swabs, latex gloves are all needed and should be brought to county emergency management agencies to help prepare hospitals for the surge. 

Acton cited a study on modeling and data regarding COVID-19 that was the basis for the 10 people or less in a room social distancing recommendation that shows if people did nothing, a very steep climb of infection is seen. However, by closing schools and universities and all other activities, Acton showed a much less steep rate of infection and shorten the time that the spread occurs. 

"I know this is so much for everyone to take in, and I'm going to go over that tomorrow. Please know we will get through this together," Acton said. "You need to know what you're doing is really making a difference."

Acton said that modeling showed that 2.2 million Americans would die if nothing was done, Acton said. By the study example, taking the actions the state is under now would decrease the surge by two-thirds, Acton said.

 

MONDAY'S DEVELOPMENTS

Ohio's primary election is postponed, following Gov. Mike DeWine's recommendation to push it back.

His recommendation was in light of trying to contain the COVID-19 spread. 

"It is clear that tomorrow's in-person voting does not conform with the CDC guidelines. We cannot conduct the in-person voting tomorrow and conform to those guidelines," Gov. Mike DeWine said. 

"We should not force people to make a choice between their health and their constitutional rights and their duties. Further, we should not be in a situation where the votes of these individuals who are conflicted are suppressed. It is therefore my recommendation that voting be extended until June 2, 2020." 

"I do not have the power to push an election back legally," DeWine said. "There will be a lawsuit filed in common pleas court in Franklin County today by individuals who are in that position to the classes of people who would be affected. We anticipate the judge would  hold a hearing and we would move on from there. 

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said the situation arose quickly. 

"The advice of our public health officials has evolved with this public health emergency. There is only one thing more important than the integrity of our elections and that's the health and safety of our Ohioans," LaRose said. 

LaRose said he'd be asking Attorney General Dave Yost to not contest the lawsuit that will be filed to permit Election Day to be postponed until June 2. 

New closures

The governor said other orders also will be in effect at the end of the business day.

"We have some orders we are issuing today that Dr. Acton will be issuing," Gov. Mike DeWine said. 

The following will all be closed at the end of the business day

  • Fitness centers and gyms
  • Bowling alleys
  • Public rec centers
  • Movie Theaters
  • Indoor water parks
  • Indoor trampoline parks

Unemployment

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted spoke to changes in the unemployment availabilty in the state. He urged employers to send home sick employees to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Details can be found at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at unemployment.ohio.gov 

"One Sunday ago, we had 562 applications. The past Sunday, we had 12,000," Husted said. 

If you have been put out of work by closures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus or if you have been medically quarantined, you can immediately receive unemployment benefits without the usual 1 week waiting period. Apply online at unemployment.ohio.gov or call 877-644-6562.

If you are a small business owner in need of assistance, you can apply for a low-interest federal loan to help with fixed debts, payroll, and other bills. Go to sba.gov/disaster or call 800-659-2955 to apply.

The state will also provide relief to bar and restaurant owners who stocked up for St. Patrick's Day or March Madness through a one time buy back of high-proof, unopened liquor. Go to com.ohio.gov/liqr or call (877) 812-0013 for more info.

Coronavirus cases in Ohio

The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Ohio is now 50, according to the Ohio Department of Health's website.

The health department says there are 333 people under investigation in 12 counties, including one in Lucas County.

The confirmed coronavirus cases are in 12 counties: Belmont has 2, Butler has 6, Cuyahoga has 24, Franklin has 3, Geauga has 1, Lorain has 3, Lucas has 1, Medina has 2, Stark has 3, Summit has 2, Trumbull has 2, and Tuscarawas 1.

Dr. Amy Acton noted that one week ago was the first confirmed case of COVID-19, illustrating the rate of the spread. 

Symptoms of the cases were shown from Feb. 7 to March 15. The range in age is from 14 to 86, and gender breakdown is 20 female and 30 males. Fourteen of the people with confirmed cases are hospitalized.

"Everyone is moving full-court press into this next stage," Acton said. 

High risk groups, including those 65 and older, have an up to 15-times fatality rate based on models she's observed, Acton said. She urged older Ohioans: If it is not essential, do not do it. 

"We are working very hard to keep those lifelines open (such as grocery stores and banks)," Acton said. 

Other high risks include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, existing lung disorder, and also concerned are those being treated for cancer and other diseases who are on drugs that suppress their immune system.  

If you have protective personal equipment (PPE) that you will not be using, you are asked to get those medical supplies to local emergency management agencies because those supplies are very needed, Acton said.  

 

RELATED: 1st Lucas County COVID-19 case tied to international travel; patient is a man in his 70s

SUNDAY

Executive order closes bars and restaurants

Governor Mike DeWine announced on Sunday afternoon that he is ordering that bars and restaurants will be closed starting on Sunday evening at 9 p.m..

DeWine stressed the importance of staying ahead of the virus in his decision.

It's unknown how long the order will be in effect. 

Carry out and delivery food is not affected by the order. 

DeWine says he is aware of the number of people who this will effect, including business owners and employees who work at bars and restaurants and will work to alleviate the economic pain that the order might cause.

Dr. Amy Acton with the Ohio Department of Health said, "we have to act like this is a war."

Dr. Acton said it was important to take action now, even when the number of confirmed cases is relatively low.

Dr. Acton called it "a civic duty" for people to keep first responders safe by doing your part to keep the spread of coronavirus low as anyone could be carrying the virus even if they aren't showing symptoms. 

"This is not a drill. This is a once in a life pandemic and everything that each and everyone of us does, matters," said Dr. Acton.

Lt. Governor John Husted also said Gov. DeWine will be signing an executive order allowing restaurant workers to access unemployment compensation for the duration of the order. 

Husted also said there would be changes to the way unemployment will be is administered which can be seen at unemployment.ohio.gov

Small businesses will also be able to apply for a low interest loan of up to $2 million for expenses that businesses may incur during the coronavirus outbreak.

Governor DeWine also said if people are able to conceivably take children out of daycare they should do so. 

In a news conference on Saturday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says it was expected that both the confirmed cases and those under investigation would go up.

Gov. DeWine urges all Ohio residence to be careful, as COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the flu and 20 times more deadly.

"Some people don't know that have it, and will never know they have it," DeWine said.

But the governor said we will get through this.

"It's all going to work out," DeWine said.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump and members of the Coronavirus Task Force provided an update, saying President Trump has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting results of the test.

The test was prompted after the president was near to Brazilian president's Jair Bolsonaro's communications director, who tested positive for the virus.

Vice President Mike Pence also said all travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland has been suspended, effective midnight on Monday.

On Thursday, Gov. DeWine banned mass gatherings of 100 or more people in the state of Ohio to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

This excludes shopping malls, airports, typical office environments, and schools, as those are defined as areas where 100 or more people may be "in transit."

However, all Ohio schools K-12 will be closed for three weeks as children are potential carriers of the virus. Daycare facilities will remain open.

Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo have both moved classes to online.

Officials say washing your hands and practicing good hygiene is imperative to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

If you have questions or concerns, you can call the COVID-19 call line at 419-251-4000 or 419-291-5359. The line is staffed by ProMedica and Mercy nurses.

You can also go online to the Ohio Department of Health's website.

Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context

WTOL 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit wtol.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 419-248-1100.

Protect yourself from coronavirus

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined can. 
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. 
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. 
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

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