The state’s “stay at home” order takes effect at midnight, cases top 440, and lawmakers prepare for a mid-week session to address everything from school testing to elections. A look at coronavirus-related developments locally and in Ohio on Monday:
Ohio has more than 440 cases and six deaths across 46 counties. The total cases involve a wide age range, from younger than 1 year old to 93. Two nursing homes, in Troy and Tipp City, have confirmed coronavirus cases, while Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton confirmed its first case over the weekend.
A laboratory confirmed a case of COVID-19 in Clinton County, it was announced Saturday morning by the Clinton County Health District, Board of Health and County Commissioners. A day later, Gov. Mike DeWine issued a “Stay at home” order for Ohioans.
The Clinton Countian with coronavirus is in their 30s and currently isolated at home. Out of respect for the patient’s privacy, no additional identifying information has been released, the CCHD stated, and they will monitor the patient during their isolation period.
CCHD will be in daily contact with this individual and in conjunction with its partners at the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). They are taking every precaution to stop the spread of this virus. CCHD is identifying close contacts of this confirmed case, all of whom will be advised to self-quarantine.
Close contacts may include family members, co-workers, medical providers and others.
Highland County also has its first confirmed case of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, according to Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner.
The Highland County Health Department and the Highland County Emergency Operations Center reported Highland County’s first case of the virus Monday.
The infected person is a female in her 60s, who is recovering well at home, according to a news release from Branden Jackman, public information officer, Highland County Emergency Operations Center. He said no information on where the woman resides is being released by local authorities.
“The current case is not associated with travel outside of the state, and has no known ties to other COVID-19 cases. This is an example of community acquired Coronavirus COVID-19, which indicates that other unknown cases are in Highland County,” the news release said. “The Highland County EOC has been working with community partners, government agencies, state and federal responders, and to prepare the community for the potential impact of a Coronavirus outbreak.”
The state is limiting testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers. The Ohio Department of Health said people with suspected symptoms should call a medical provider first, but seek immediate help if symptoms are serious, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
There were still zero cases in Fayette County as of Monday.
Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) has been working non-stop with other local agency partners to bring the most accurate information to the community’s citizens regarding the coronavirus pandemic, according to Leigh Cannon, the deputy health commissioner.
“We are urging all residents to adhere to Governor DeWine and State Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton’s orders. The sooner everyone complies to the ‘Stay At Home’ order, the sooner we can all return to normal,” said Cannon. “Social distancing saves lives and slows the spread of the virus. I am begging you all to take these orders seriously and be part of flattening the curve. We are in this together. Dr. Acton urged Ohioans (Monday) to please follow these orders so your local health department can focus on saving lives, not policing the ‘Stay At Home’ order. FCPH appreciates everyone’s efforts to keep yourselves and your neighbors safe. The time is now! I need everyone do the right thing!”
A few Fayette County facts, according to Cannon:
1. There were zero cases in Fayette County as of Monday.
2. Testing is only occurring for those cases who meet a certain criteria as testing kits are very limited. This criteria is a direct procedure set by the Ohio Department of Health. (Keep in mind testing will not change the course of treatment. If your symptoms are mild to moderate, you will still be asked to stay home.)
3. Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue home isolation under the following conditions: At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and, at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
BUDGET AND TAXES
Gov. Mike DeWine announced an immediate freeze in state government hiring and ordered state agencies to identify immediate budget cuts of up to 20%. He also has frozen new contract services. “The earlier we start slowing down the spending, the more impact obviously it’s going to have,” he said Monday. He expects state lawmakers will act to align the state’s income tax deadline with the adjusted federal deadline of July 15.
Beginning Thursday, all child care centers in Ohio must operate under a temporary Pandemic Child Care license and follow guidelines including no more than six children in a class and one teacher to no more than six children. Available slots will go to the children of health, safety and other essential workers first.
Last week, nearly 140,000 Ohioans filed unemployment insurance claims in one week. State officials say these numbers dwarf any previous unemployment claims. The previous high for a month came during the recession in December 1981, when 205,159 claims were filed for the entire month, according to the Department of Job and Family Services.
Over the weekend, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose proposed a plan by which postage-paid absentee ballots would be sent to every Ohioan who hadn’t already voted in the March 17 primary, along with postage to return the form. LaRose also wants continued discretion to allow in-person voting on June 2 if Gov. Mike DeWine’s “stay at home” order is no longer in place.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy passed a new regulation this weekend to prevent hoarding of a malaria drug that President Donald Trump has suggested could treat people with the coronavirus.
The fate of the remaining school year, including graduation requirements and state-mandated testing, are among the top issues before lawmakers planning a return to Columbus this week to address challenges posted by the coronavirus.
THE NEW NORMAL
DeWine’s “stay at home” order permits outdoor activities such as walking, running, biking or hiking, but shuts down playgrounds because of the risk of spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Wilmington News Journal, the Hillsboro Times-Gazette and the Associated Press contributed to this article.