COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will extend the state’s stay-at-home order until May 1, and the state human services agency reported more than 272,000 jobless claims for last week.
A look at coronavirus-related developments in Ohio on Thursday:
The state reported 272,117 jobless claims for the week ending March 28, a second straight week of record numbers as businesses grapple with effects of the pandemic. The state has received 468,414 claims in the past two weeks — over 100,000 more than for all of 2019 — while paying out $45 million to more than 108,000 claimants.
Gov. Mike DeWine said the extension of the stay-at-home order, which takes effect Monday, requires retail businesses to set a specific number of people allowed in stores at a time, and creates a board to resolve disputes when similar businesses feel they’ve been treated differently county by county. Parks remain open but campgrounds, public swimming pools and day camps will be closed.
“If you are frustrated, I’m frustrated too,” DeWine said of the extension. “This is not how we want to live. This is not what we signed up for, but it’s where we are.”
Craft store company Hobby Lobby agreed to again close its Ohio stores, Attorney General Dave Yost said in a tweet late Wednesday. Yost had sent a cease-and-desist order following reports that several stores were open in Ohio, demanding proof the stores meet the “essential business” requirements under the state’s stay-at-home order.
Messages seeking comment were left with the company Wednesday and Thursday.
In Medina in northeastern Ohio, dozens of cars lined up before dawn as 1,000 food boxes were distributed through the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, according to WEWS-TV.
At Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, a cargo plane from Shanghai, China, delivered 83 metric tons of personal protective equipment, including gloves, gowns, goggles, masks and hand sanitizer. The shipment, coordinated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was not staying in Ohio but was bound for medical distributors in areas of greatest need, then to U.S. hospitals, health care facilities and nursing homes, according to the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.
More than 2,900 Ohio cases are confirmed, with 81 deaths as of Thursday and more than 800 people hospitalized, officials reported. That doesn’t reflect all cases in Ohio, because the state limits testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers.
In Alliance, Kimberly Holbrook said a memorial service will have to wait for safer times following the March 28 death of her husband, Jeffrey Holbrook, 55, from COVID-19, according to The Repository. Kimberly Holbrook urged people to take the coronavirus seriously.
At ManorCare nursing home in Parma in suburban Cleveland, five patients and nine employees have tested positive for Covid-19, cleveland.com reported. In Miami County in southwestern Ohio, health officials are looking into whether an infected health care worker inadvertently helped spread an outbreak that began in mid-March and has killed eight residents and infected close to 50 people at two nursing homes.
For most people, COVID-19 displays mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can be more severe, causing pneumonia or death.
The state asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s modified primary election plan, which extended voting by absentee ballot only until April 28.
Yost appealed a federal judge’s Monday order that found unconstitutional the state’s temporary ban on elective surgeries if it prohibits abortions from being carried out. The judge denied a request to put his order on hold during the appeal.
THE NEW NORMAL
In Barberton in northeastern Ohio, a judge married a couple who needed a “plan B” for a scheduled indoor wedding, performing the ceremony outside in a gazebo, then serenading them with an accordion, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. DeWine reminded Ohioans Thursday that the state’s stay-at-home order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people applies to weddings.
In Ohio’s Amish country, Amish women and their families are sewing N-95 mask covers, gowns and boot covers, bound for health care workers in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and New Jersey, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Yost has ordered Ohio’s police officer training academy to speed up the final examinations of about 300 cadets to allow them to hit the streets faster. He’s also working with local law enforcement agencies to help allow recently retired officers to return.