38 of 41 cumulative COVID-19 cases have recovered

Ohio intends for schools to reopen in fall

By Ryan Carter - and The Associated Press

Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) reported Wednesday that out of the 37 confirmed and four probable cumulative COVID-19 cases in the county, 38 of those individuals have recovered.

There have been zero deaths in the county from COVID-19 and there are currently no hospitalizations, according to FCPH.

Confirmed cases are lab-confirmed, and probable cases are individuals experiencing symptoms who have either traveled to an area experiencing community spread or who are a contact of a confirmed case.

“Recovered” means an individual has been isolated for at least seven days, fever-free for at least three days, showing no other symptoms, and released from monitoring.

FCPH is working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to conduct contact tracing to determine if any of the close contacts of the confirmed or probable individuals are sick. All of these close contacts are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath. FCPH is highly committed to maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality. If you are not contacted, you did not have close extended contact with the cases.

Statewide developments

Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday the state “fully intends” for schools to reopen this fall in an announcement coming almost exactly two months after he shut down schools for what turned out to be the remainder of the spring semester.

“The goal is to have kids back in the classroom,” the governor said at a news briefing that covered both the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and protests across the state over racism and police violence against minorities.

DeWine’s comment didn’t order schools to reopen, and he also said the date for starting was entirely up to local education boards.

The state would provide districts with broad health guidelines ahead of time, “fully recognizing that over 600 school districts are very different, and have very different needs and very different situations,” the governor said.

Dr. Amy Acton, DeWine’s Health Department director, issued an order March 30 that closed all K-12 schools for three weeks, though it was later extended for the remainder of the year.

DeWine also said Tuesday that health care providers can resume all procedures and surgeries postponed during the coronavirus pandemic, including ones that require overnight stays.

Although Acton began her own remarks Tuesday running through Ohio’s latest COVID-19 statistics, she grew emotional as she discussed the health disparities faced by minorities.

“It is unacceptable that your ZIP code on average can predict how long you will live,” Acton said. “There are things we can’t control. But there are things that are in our control. And even in the times when we’re on our knees and reeling is this pearl of hope that we can do more.”

She also made a direct appeal to Ohioans to fight both disparities in health care and racism.

“I am begging of you. Please use your voice. Speak. Most importantly listen, please listen to one another,” Acton said. “But I beg of you not to hurt one another. We cannot see the other person as that, as ‘other.’”

Ohio had more than 36,000 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, and 2,258 confirmed and probable deaths, according to Health Department data.

On Monday, DeWine’s budget director said she’s seeking pay freezes and cuts for state employees as the coronavirus pandemic continues to depress tax revenue.

Updated forecasts for the budget year beginning July 1 show an even deeper hole of $2.5 billion in state funding, according to Kimberly Murnieks, DeWine’s director of the Office of Budget and Management.

In response, Murnieks said her office will ask lawmakers to freeze pay and step advancement increases for non-union employees beginning in July. A hiring freeze will also continue except for employees providing a direct response to the pandemic.

Murnieks also ordered pay cuts of 3.8% for non-union workers and 4% for cabinet directors, which would include her own salary. The office is also asking unions beginning June 15 to discuss ways to reduce personnel costs for the employees they represent.

Ohio’s unemployment rate hit nearly 17% in April, the highest since the state’s current record-keeping system was developed almost 50 years ago. In the past 10 weeks, about 1.3 million people have filed for unemployment, more than the total in the past three years.

Ohio intends for schools to reopen in fall

By Ryan Carter

and The Associated Press