Coronavirus In Ohio: Live Coverage

WOSU is providing updates about the coronavirus and COVID-19 in Ohio. Find the most recent news and information below.

Gov. Mike DeWine's daily cororavirus press conference will start just after 2 p.m. Watch below, on WOSU  TV or listen on 89.7 NPR News. Puedes ver la conferencia de prensa del gobernador traducida al Español.

Ohio by the numbers, according to the Ohio Department of Health (based on limited testing ability):

  • 1,038 COVID-19-related deaths, 81 of those probable
  • 19,914 cases of COVID-19, 820 of those probable
  • 3,769 people hospitalized, 1,078 in ICU
  • 149,346 total tests administered

All of WOSU’s coverage of the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.

If you think you have coronavirus, or have questions about the disease, Ohio's coronavirus call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Has your job been impacted by the coronavirus? You may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Visit unemployment.ohio.gov to learn more and apply.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus. Here are the latest numbers on the outbreak in the United States.

Latest Updates

Friday, May 1

4:36 p.m. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reports 4,072 cases of COVID-19 among state prison inmates, and 437 among staff. As of Friday, 33 inmates and 2 staff have died.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine gives his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • DeWine announced the new Stay Safe Ohio order with many of the same requirements of the previous Stay At Home order but with guidelines for opening businesses. It expires May 29.
  • Many businesses will begin to reopen Monday. Retail can resume on May 12 but stores can schedule appointments and curbside pickup tomorrow.
  • DeWine said he hopes to reopen other sectors soon and has a restaurant advisory group and a barbershop/salon advisory group working now. Advisory groups for libraries, tourism, sports, outdoor recreation, gyms, theater, childcare, and adult daycare are also in the works.
  • DeWine emphasized that the public should continue to follow social distancing precautions and said that if Ohioans do their part, the state can start reopening quicker.

12:47 p.m. Ohio's new stay-at-home order will allow retail businesses can open under certain conditions almost two weeks earlier than previously stated. Currently closed establishments can begin offering curbside pickup or delivery on Saturday. The order also says stores that restrict operations to 10 customers on an “appointment-only” basis can reopen. 

10:38 a.m. Ohio has paid out $1.5 billion in unemployment benefits to 500,000 claimants since last month. 

  • Since the portal opened, 150,000 self-employed and 1099 workers have pre-registered for jobless claims, although the system to pay them is still being built.

7:23 a.m. The 2020 Marion County Fair has been canceled what would have been the 170th edition of the fair. The fair board is making plans for junior fair participants to show off their projects during single-day events tentatively scheduled to take place from July 18-25.

6:49 a.m. Ohio's stay-at-home order has been extended by a month until May 29. The current order was scheduled to expire on Friday at midnight.   

  • Today, health care facilities are again allowed to offer elective procedures that don't require an overnight stay or excessive PPE. Dentists and veterinarians can also reopen.

Thursday, April 30

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine gives his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • Gov. Mike DeWine says of the 4.1 million of personal protective equipment that state has distributed in the last week, more than 1.1 million pieces of equipment has been distributed to Ohio’s prisons for the inmates to wear. That includes 108,000 N95 masks, 256,000 gloves, 684 procedure masks, 10,000 provider gowns and 10,000 cloth masks.
  • Ohio prisons director Annette Chambers-Smith said the state’s prisons no longer charge a co-pay for inmates wanting a checkup on flu-like symptoms. She said there are several ways the prisons are tracking potential cases of COVID-19, encouraging checkups and looking through health records.
  • DeWine said it would be a mistake for non-essential retail stores to open before May 12. DeWine said that date was picked to reopen retail stores to help phase in the easing of restrictions and buy time so that the “curve doesn’t go straight up.” He urged stores considering opening up early to instead spend time implementing safety protocols required to be open on May 12.
  • Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton said that she is hopeful the antiviral drug Remdesivir could be used to help treat coronavirus patients. Acton said she is keeping a close eye on it but doesn’t want to get too far ahead until more research is done on the drug.
  • DeWine said the state’s stay-at-home order, which is set to expire on at 11:59 p.m. on May 4, will be extended, with the exception of the opening of the manufacturing and retail sectors on May 4 and 12, respectively.

1:19 p.m. Columbus Metropolitan Library says it's "finalizing a plan to open a few locations in May with limited services," with specific timing dependant on supplies of protective equipment. All 23 locations remain closed for now.

9:38 a.m. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction yesterday reported 29 state prison inmates and two staff members have died from COVID-19. A total of 3,890 inmates and 419 staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

9:00 a.m. Ohio Dept. of Jobs and Family Services reports that 92,920 jobless claims were made during the week ending on April 25.

  • Over the past six weeks 1,057,486 claims have been filed. So far, more than 481,000 claimants have received $1.45 billion in benefits.

8:00 a.m. The Ohio Department of Health says 276 people have died from COVID-19 at nursing homes and long-term care facilities. It's the first time Ohio has revealed the number of coronavirus deaths at nursing homes.

Wednesday, April 29

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine gives his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • Dewine said that the state has shipped 4.1 million pieces of PPE to local Emergency Management Agencies across Ohio.
  • DeWine announced that Ohio Office Of Criminal Justice Services now has nearly $16 million in federal grant funding available to help local law enforcement, probation and parole offices, local courts, victim services providers, and corrections agencies.
  • After some confusion about high school graduation ceremonies, DeWine said he asked the education and health departments to work on guidelines for schools. Virtual graduation ceremonies are the preferred choice, but drive-in ceremonies or small gatherings of less than 10 are also options.
  • As businesses reopen, all employees are required to wear masks unless they qualify for an exception such as a regulation that prohibits face coverings, a violation of a company’s safety policies, or specific advice from a health professional.
  • Dr. Amy Acton said that while customers are not required to wear masks, it is the smart and courteous thing to do in order to protect each other.

Tuesday, April 28

7:30 p.m. Polls have closed in Ohio.

  • Rather than providing rolling updates of election results, Ohio's 88 board of elections will be providing a single release of results from their county Tuesday night, according to Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
  • Polls close at 7:30 p.m. and boards are required to upload their results no later than 10 p.m. However, LaRose says, "the unprecedented nature of this elections means that deadline may be unattainable in some cases and those boards will be granted an extension."

6:35 p.m. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reports that 25 inmates and two employees have died from COVID-19.

  • After mass testing in state prisons, 3,884 inmates and 393 staff have tested positive for the coronavirus. There are now 37,130 inmates under quarantine in 24 prison facilities.

5:40 p.m. In a press release, Gov. Mike DeWine clarifies that face coverings are still mandated for employees at reopening businesses "unless wearing a face covering is not advisable by a healthcare professional, goes against industry best practices, or is not permitted by federal or state laws and regulations."

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily press conference.

  • Today is the end of Ohio's primary election. Secretary of State Frank LaRose reported that 1.9 million ballots were requested and aprroximately 1.5 million have been returned so far. Ballots can still be dropped off until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at local boards of elections. 
  • DeWine said that after getting feedback, he is amending the plan for retail businesses. Now, retail customers are not mandated to wear masks, but doing so is highly suggested and part of best practices.
  • DeWine said the state is forming advisory groups for restaurants, barbers and salons to help put together recommendations on the best ways to reopen safely.
  • Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton said that there are now confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all of Ohio’s 88 counties.
  • Acton said she recommends that families start scheduling children for wellness visits with their pediatricians.
  • Acton said that as buildings reopen, it is important to flush water lines to clear out any bacteria or toxins that may have built up in stagnant pipes.
  • The CDC has updated the list of symptoms associated with COVID-19, adding "loss of taste or smell."

12:22 p.m. The Catholic Bishops of Ohio have extended the suspension of public masses until May 29.

11:54 a.m. As of Monday, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections reports that 3,878 inmates and 383 staff at state prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. Two employees and 19 inmates have died.

10:26 a.m. A competing plan for reopening Ohio immediately now has the support of 35 Ohio House Republicans. All the signees are members of the Economic Recovery Task Force, which has yet to release its official recommendations.

9:04 a.m. The Federal Bureau of Prisons is appealing a judge's order to release or transfer high-risk inmates for COVID-19 out of Elkton Federal Correctional Institution. A motion has been filed in the Sixth Circuit Court for a temporary injunction.

  • The Bureau of Prisons has identified more than 800 prisoners who fall under high-risk categories. Following a lawsuit from the ACLU of Ohio, a federal judge gave the prison two weeks to determine what to do with the inmates, such as early release or home confinement.

9:00 a.m. Kent State University president Todd Diacon has announced steep budget cuts to offset a projected $110 million loss because of the pandemic.

  • Diacon said Kent must reduce its budget by 20%, or $32 million, for the next fiscal year. Nonunion employees who make more than $38,000 will receive pay cuts. Diacon and his staff will also take pay cuts, and a hiring freeze will remain in effect until next year.
  • The University of Akron made similar cuts last week.

7:34 a.m.The Central Ohio Transit Authority is now only operating from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. COTA says the changes are to reduce demands on drivers and other operators. They're also reducing frequency on some lines. COTA announced over the weekend that three more operators had tested positive for COVID-19.

6:00 a.m. Today marks the end of Ohio's coronavirus-delayed primary election, the first major test of an almost completely vote-by-mail election during a pandemic. Turnout is expected to be just half of the last presidential primary.

  • Mail-in ballots had to be postmarked by Monday, April 27. But voters can still drop their ballot off at their county board of elections until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Ohio law also guarantees that voters who don't receive a ballot they requested by the legal deadline can vote in person.

Monday, April 26

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily press conference.

  • DeWine said there's a downward trend when looking at five-day reported averages for new COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations.
  • DeWine said the state is in the process of funding and training a contact tracing workforce with the goal of getting up to 1,750 workers by June 1 at the state and local level.
  • Starting May 1, more medical procedures will be allowed. All health procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital will move forward. Dentists and veterinarians can also reopen.
  • On May 4, manufacturing, distribution, and construction business will be able to open. All businesses will be required to follow strict guidelines on how to reopen.
  • Also on May 4, office workplaces can also reopen with the same guidelines but working from home–when possible–is still preferred.
  • On May 12, retail  and service businesses can reopen with protections in place, including that all employees and customers must wear masks.
  • The general stay-at-home order will remain in place, and gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited for the time being.
  • Dine-in restaurants, barbers and salons are not currenlty scheduled to reopen.

11:14 a.m. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services say that 82,000 people have pre-registered for unemployment benefits under the newly eligible self-employed and 1099 worker categories. The state has distributed $1.24 billion in jobless compensation payments for 447,000 Ohioans so far.

9:44 a.m. A Baldwin-Wallace University poll released Monday morning shows that 85% of Ohio voters approve of how Gov. Mike DeWine is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. In comparison, just 50% of Ohioans approve of President Trump's handling of the crisis.

9:24 a.m. As of Sunday, Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reports 3,853 inmates and 379 staff have tested positive for COVID-19. The state says 18 inmates have died.

Saturday, April 25

11:00 a.m.  The ACLU of Ohio has sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on behalf of immigrants detained in Morrow County and Butler County jails, which have both seen positive COVID-19 cases. The ACLU is demanding ICE release immigrants at high risk of illness or death.

  • Earlier this month, ACLU sued ICE on behalf of immigrant detainees in Geauga and Seneca counties, in northern Ohio. The organization said it secured the release of three at-risk detainees from those jails.

Friday, April 24

4:30 p.m. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reports 3,837 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and 17 have died. In addition, 358 employees have tested positive. There are 23 state prison facilities, covering 33,000 inmates, currently under quarantine.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily press conference.

  • Over 200 youth will turn 18 and “age out” of the foster care system in the coming months. DeWine said the state will cover the cost for them to stay in care until the pandemic ends.
  • Last week, Ohio prisons released 336 inmates to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • DeWine said the state’s testing shortage is due to a lack of testing reagent and a shortage of swabs. A new agreement with the company Thermo Fisher means more reagent will soon be available. Also, ROE Dental Lab of Cleveland will manufacture up to 1 million swabs to increase testing capacity.
  • Next week, the state’s testing capacity should rise to 7,200 tests per day, and increase to 15,000 by May 6, 18,800 by May 13, and 22,000 by May 27.
  • DeWine says that new testing will allow for effective contact exposure tracing. The process works to notify individuals who may have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. This tracing is one of the strongest tools to keep communities safe, but it will be voluntary.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said that there are 1.7 million Ohioans who have requested a ballot to vote by mail, but less than one million of those have been turned in. Voters have until Monday to have it postmarked. Ballots can also be dropped at local board of elections until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

9:41 a.m. A federal judge on Thursday extended his order blocking Ohio from banning abortions during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the Ohio Attorney General from enforcing the state's essential surgery order against abortion providers.

Thursday, April 23

3:15 p.m. Honda has extended the halt of production at North American plants through May 8. In addition, the majority of salaried and support associates at Honda operations in the U.S. will be furloughed for an additional week and will return to work on May 8 or 11 depending on location. This is an extension of the current two-week furlough period that started in late April..

2:14 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily press conference.

  • DeWine clarified Wednesday’s announcement that hospitals will be able to resume non-essential surgeries on May 1. The governor said he wants doctors and health care providers to reach out to patients who had postposed procedures and reassess the patient’s case meets requirements for surgery to count as essential.
  • DeWine said he will make an announcement on Monday about reopening Ohio. The governor also will make an announcement on Friday about “one of the boxes we need to check” to follow federal guidelines on reopening the state’s economy.

2:06 p.m. The Ohio House staff will return to work at the Statehouse on May 4, House Speaker Larry Householder announced in a memo. However, only half of the House will come into work on any given day.

11:22 a.m. University Hospitals in Cleveland has reduced the hours of more than 4,000 employees, and reduce their pay by 20%, because of the financial impact of COVID-19. The hospitals says it was hit by the costs associated with preparing for the predicted coronavirus surge, and the "sharp decline in revenues from the suspension of non-essential surgeries and procedures."

10:31 a.m. Ohio's Dispute Resolution Commission has ruled that discount retailer Gabe's can remain open as long as it implements precautionary measures. The ruling comes a few weeks after the Summit County Public Health Department said it was nonessential and must close. Gabe's argued it carries everyday items Ohioans need, like disinfectant wipes and toothpaste. The decision is final.

9:10 a.m. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family services reports that 109,369 jobless claims were filed last week. In the last five weeks, 964,556 people have filed, which is more than the combined total for the last two years. In that time, the state has distributed more than $926 million to 376,000 people.

Wednesday, April 22

6:11 p.m. Ohio now reports 12 state prison inmates have died of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, 3,792 inmates and 331 staff have tested positive, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

3:58 p.m. A judge has ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to identify at-risk inmates at the Ekton federal prison in Ohio, and either release or transfer them due to the coronavirus threat. Six inmates have so far died of COVID-19 at the facility, where 2,400 men are incarcerated.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily press conference. 

  • The Ohio Department of Youth Services have their first positive case of COVID-19 among the juvenile corrections population.
  • DeWine says he is asking doctors and hospitals to re-evaluate surgeries that were postponed under the Health Department order on elective procedures to see if they can now take place. Patients must be informed of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the potential impact during the recovery process.
  • Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services director Lori Criss announced the new COVID CareLine, a free and confidential emotional support helpline: 1-800-720-9616
  • Dr. Amy Acton said that as Ohio’s testing capacity increases, she is issuing new guidelines on who is tested.
    Credit Ohio Department of Health

11:42 a.m. Ohio has seen a 172% increase in the number of people applying for SNAP, compared to the same time last year. During the second week of April, 29,334 Ohioans applied for food stamps.

9:00 a.m. After widespread testing in Ohio prisons, 3,762 inmates and 319 staff have now tested positive for COVID-19. Ten inmates and one corrections officer have died, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 21

2:00 p.m.  Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily press conference.

  • A chemical reagent needed for testing has been in limited supply. The FDA has recenlty approved a new reagent for the Thermo Fisher testing machines, which should expand Ohio’s testing capacity by mid-May.
  • DeWine announced the formation of a Testing Strike Team led by former Gov. Richard Celeste and former Gov. Bob Taft. Their mission will be to find ways to improve and expand testing in the state.
  • Ohio’s county fairs usually have to find matching funds to qualify for state grants, but with the future of fairs unknown and the challenge of raising those funds, the Ohio Department of Agriculture will waive that requirement for Agricultural Societies to receive $50,000 grants.
  • JobsOhio is partnering with two Ohio-headquartered financial institutions to help small businesses. They have committed up to $50 million to assist Peoples Bank and First Federal-Home Savings Bank to increase loan availability to eligible businesses for payroll, rent, mortgages, utilities and other bills.
  • The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation board of directors approved $1.6 billion in dividends to employers to ease the economic impact of COVID-19. About $1.4 billion will go to private employers and $200 million will go to local municipalities.

10:53 a.m. The Ohio High School Athletic Association has canceled spring sports seasons and tournaments after Gov. Mike DeWine announced schools would remain closed for rest of academic year.

Monday, April 20

4:19 p.m. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reports that 3,312 inmates and 302 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at state prisons. Nine inmates have now died.

2:00 p.m.  Gov. DeWine holds his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • DeWine announced K-12 schools will be closed through the end of this school year but will continue remote learning. No decisions have been made about the new school year in the fall.
  • DeWine said he is particularly concerned for four groups of students as districts plan for the future: children with special developmental needs, children with health challenges, children with limited internet access, and children without a supportive home life.
  • African Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and the state is forming a Minority Health Strike Force to focus on this issue.
  • Private commercial labs have cleared a backlog of testing and the state will now allow hospitals to send their tests to private labs if they wish. 
  • DeWine gave an overview of the new data that will be available online, but said the state must balance the release of that information with protecting patient’s right to privacy.
  • Health Department director Amy Acton said the current spike in COVID-19 case numbers is due to an increase in testing. Widespread testing in prisons confirms that many who test positive do not show symptoms.

8:52 a.m. As of Sunday, Ohio's state prisons have 2,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates and 244 confirmed cases among staff. Six inmates and one employee have died, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

  • The department is currently mass testing all staff and inmates at the Marion Correctional Institution, Pickaway Correctional Institution, and the Franklin Medical Center.
  • Twenty state facilities, covering 30,000 inmates, are under full quarantine.

7:50 a.m. A federal judge will hear arguments Monday morning over the Ohio Department of Health director's stay-at-home order. A downtown Columbus bridal shop filed a lawsuit claiming the order is unconstitutionally vague and deprives businesses like hers of due process.

7:00 a.m. Coronavirus cases in Ohio topped 11,000 over the weekend, with Marion County leading among COVID-19 cases.

Sunday, April 19

5:45 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Ohio hospitals doing coronavirus testing lack needed chemicals known as reagents. He said help from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would allow him to “probably double, maybe even triple testing in Ohio virtually overnight." DeWine later reported “a very positive phone call" from the agency.

Friday, April 17

2:00 p.m. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily coronoavirus press conference.

  • DeWine described what businesses should look like when they gradually start to open up after May 1. He said physical distancing, masks, increased sanitization, staggered work days, checking employees temperatures, limiting customers in retail spaces, among other precautions should be expected.
  • More specific details about the plan to reopen businesses will be released next week.
  • DeWine said he is making 7 commutations of prisoner’s sentences, but denying 84 commutation requests.

1:53 p.m. The state prisons agency says Ohio National Guard members are being trained to help at a second prison as coronavirus cases among correctional workers increase.

  • A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Friday that guard members will assist with “mission critical functions” at Marion Correctional Institution, where more than a quarter of employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

9:29 a.m. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections reported yesterday that 489 inmates and 184 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Four inmates and one corrections officer have now died.

  • There are now 20 state prisons under quarantine, spanning an incarcerated population of 32,000.

Thursday, April 16

3:30 p.m. Seven Midwestern states announce they will coordinate on how to reopen their state economies, after similar pacts were made earlier this week in the Northeast and on the West Coast. Ohio will work with Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky on a "fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protects families from the spread of COVID-19."

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine gives his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • DeWine said the state is looking to start the process of reopening businesses on May 1. DeWine received a verbal report from his panel of economic and business experts on Thursday morning, with recommendations on how to gradually restart the economy.
  • DeWine said that washing hands, wearing masks in public, and sanitizing surfaces will be a "new reality" for businesses until there is a vaccine, DeWine said. The governor said he strongly encourages wearing a mask in public, especially at essential retail locations, but won't require it like other states.
  • As the state's economy starts to reopen, DeWine said they will continue track the disease's spread, hospitalizations, equipment capacity, and testing capacity.
  • DeWine said young people must continue to remember that they can be a carrier of the illness and "be very responsible and worry about others."
  • DeWine said he was not ready to make an annoucement on the reopening of schools starting on May 1, but will be talking about it next week after consulting with some superintendents. 

1:42 p.m. Officials say the percentage of beds available in Ohio hospitals is unchanged since before the coronavirus pandemic began, and facilities set aside to take extra patients aren't being used so far.

  • Ohio Hospital Association spokesman John Palmer says hospital bed use in the last four weeks has remained steady between 50-60%, which is the average in normal times, and credits the state's stay-at-home orders and cancellation of elective surgeries.

11:07 a.m. The Cleveland Indians are among 27 major league teams taking part in a study testing players for coronavirus antibodies.

  • The study is led by Stanford University, the University of South Carolina and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory. It'll consist of self-administered tests, which are optional for club members. Major League Baseball officials said they won't pick a date to start the season until everyone feels safe

10:29 a.m. The city of Toledo is placing 326 city employees on temporary emergency leave, the Blade reports.

9:28 a.m. The Memorial golf tournament in Dublin, Ohio, will be rescheduled for July 13-19, 2020. Tournament organizers say they hope to allow spectators, but will make a final decision at a later date.

8:44 a.m. Ohioans submitted 158,678 jobless claims during the week ending April 11, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reports. Over the last month, 855,197 Ohio residents have filed for unemployment - more than the number who filed during the previous two years combined.

  • ODJFS says it's distributed $227 million in unemployment benefits to 271,000 claimants.

Wednesday, April 15

5:18 p.m. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections reports that 273 inmates and 159 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ohio's state prisons. As of Wednesday, three inmates and one corrections officer have died. There are over 21,000 inmates now in quarantine at 15 state institutions.

2:05 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine gives his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • Due to protests, reporters at the Ohio Statehouse have been moved from the atrium to a lower level space for the daily press conference.
  • DeWine announces expansion of state partnership with Battelle to expand its PPE decontamination services to EMS and law enforcement agencies across Ohio, for free. Beginning Friday, local law enforcement and EMS agencies can bring packaged N-95 masks to any Ohio State Highway Patrol station, which will take it to Battelle in Columbus, which will sanitize them and send it back.
  • Ohio State University has developed an in-house solution for coronavirus testing kits, and designed swabs that can be 3D-printed out of Toledo.
  • DeWine encouraging residents to fill out 2020 Census, where the deadline to respond has been extended to August 14. Ohio's response rate is currently about 52%.
  • Two more inmates have died at the Pickaway Correctional Institute, likely due to COVID-19.
  • DeWine approved early release of 105 inmates under emergency overcrowding statute. Those inmates were within 90 days of their scheduled release, and didn't fall under a list of categories making them ineligible. Each of those inmates will be tested for COVID-19.
  • DeWine is instructing the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to continue screening inmates who could be early released under his criteria.
  • DeWine asked the Ohio Hospital Association for a plan of how medical centers should phase back in "delayed health care." Procedures deemed non-essential or elective remain banned by the Ohio Department of Health to save capacity and PPE. That plan is due next week.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says more unemployment claims were filed in the last month than in the last two years. Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services plans to onboard 347 additional staffers, and introduce an interactive voice recognition system, voice-to-text functions and a virtual call center.
  • By end of next week, ODJFS will launch online tool for 1099 and self-employed workers to apply for unemployment benefits, although those won't be processed until May 15. Workers filing because of the pandemic should use the mass layoff number: 200180.
  • Ohio now has documented coronavirus cases in 87 of 88 counties.

1:05 p.m. Six federal inmates at a federal prison in eastern Ohio have now died from a COVID-19 outbreak. Just this week, three inmates died at the Elkton Correctional Institution.

  • Both inmates and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus at the prison that houses 2,400 low-level offenders. Last week, members of the Ohio National Guard went to the prison to assist with medical needs.

11:36 a.m. Columbus City Attorney Zach Kleins has asked Columbus Police to issue citations to people who are violating the state's ban on gatherings over 10 people, saying he's heard a lot of complaints about house parties. Violating the state order is a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of probation, up to 90 days in jail and/or a $750 fine.

10:16 a.m. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and dozens of other small-city mayors are calling for $250 billion in direct aid from the federal government to help weather the coronavirus crisis. A recent national survey by the United States Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities found nearly nine in 10 cities expect to see budget shortfalls this year as a result of COVID-19.

9:10 a.m. The University of Cincinnati has eliminated its men’s soccer program as other colleges weigh cutbacks because of budget problems resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Colleges are grappling with revenue losses from spring sports cancellations, including the NCAA basketball tournament.

9:05 a.m. OneFifteen, a Dayton addiction and recovery facility, will expand its services and be available 24/7 in an effort to help those struggling with stress and isolation during the state’s stay-at-home order.

  • After 37 people in Montgomery County died last month from accidental overdoses, OneFifteen announced a new hotline that will be answered around the clock by a team of nurses and intake specialists.

7:08 a.m. COTA is requiring bus riders to wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19 starting today.  

Tuesday, April 14

2:00 p.m. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • The state is submitting a Medicaid waiver application to the federal government. This waiver will allow Medicaid to increase telehealth services for health assessments, waive signature requirements, ease obstacles to access nursing home care, allow services to be provided at alternative locations, and remove staffing level requirements to give providers more flexibility.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted reported on the Dispute Resolution Commission that rules when conflicts arise on which businesses are deemed “essential” by different local health departments. There have been 194 total inquiries, 142 did not meet criteria, 27 are under review, 15 had conflicts resolved at the local level, and 10 were investigated and ruled on by the commission.
  • Health Dept. Director Amy Acton is issuing a new order to share positive COVID-19 case name and address details with emergency dispatchers so that first responders can prepare properly when responding to calls. This information will be kept confidential.

11:00 a.m. Major League Soccer says it is "extremely unlikely" that the 2020 season will return in mid-May, as previously planned. "While we currently have enough dates to play the entire season, we recognize at this time that it may become difficult to do so," the league said in a statement.

9:41 a.m. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost alerted creditors and financial institutions that federal stimulus checks to residents are protected under state law from debt collectors. A majority of taxpayers will begin receiving the $1,200 in their bank accounts this week.

  • Yost said the CARES Act bans stimulus checks from being garnished for debts owed to federal or state governments. It does allow for stimulus checks to be garnished in cases where people are behind on child-support payments. To learn more about who receives a relief check and about the CARES Act, click here

Monday, April 13

5:19 p.m. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections reports that 146 inmates and 119 staff have now tested positive for COVID-19. The state has tested 435 inmates so far, with 213 results still pending.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine holds his daily coronavirus press conference.

  • DeWine thanked the Ohio General Assembly for approving almost $250 million in mostly federal dollars for the state’s response to COVID-19.
  • The Ohio National Guard is being sent to help medical staff at the Pickaway Correctional Facility. Twelve of the prison’s medical staff are out with COVID-19 and one inmate has died.
  • A new order for nursing homes will require facilities to notify residents and families within 24 hours when a resident or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.
  • A new order for liquor stores will require an Ohio ID for in-person sales in six counties along the Pennsyvania border: Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana, Jefferson, and Belmont.
  • DeWine signed an order to provide nearly $5 million to support Ohio’s foodbanks and the statewide hunger relief network. $1 million is earmarked for the purchase specifically  of Ohio-made commodities. Another $1 million is going to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.
  • The Ohio Hospital Association says that 898 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized.

11:14 a.m. A bipartisan task force of Ohio House members is meeting this afternoon to discuss how to reopen Ohio's economy. The group is meeting remotely at 3:30 p.m., and will broadcast live on The Ohio Channel.

6:47 a.m. State prison officials say 67 Ohio inmates have now tested positive for COVID-19. Another 100 staff members have the respiratory illness. More than half of those staff infections come from the Marion Correctional Institution where one corrections officer has died. No inmates at staff prisons have died.

  • At a federal prison near Youngstown, 24 inmates and 14 staff members have tested positive and three inmates there have died.

Read Previous Updates From March 24-April 11