Coronavirus In Ohio: May 26-July 4

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

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

  • 2,911 COVID-19-related deaths, 250 of those probable 
  • 57,151 cases of COVID-19, 3,693 of those probable 
  • 8,172 people hospitalized, 2,058 in ICU
  • 865,069 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

Saturday, July 4

2:18 p.m. Dublin, Grandview Heights and Whitehall are now requiring facemasks.

  • Dublin's order will go into effect on Monday, July 6. Dublin's order applies to public spaces throughout the city.
  • Grandview Height's order requires masks while in businesses, indoor public spaces and when on public transportation.
  • Whitehall's order, which went into effect on Friday, July 3, requires masks in businesses, restaurants and bars except for when seated at a table, areas of offices that are open to the public, and personal care and grooming businesses.

Thursday, July 2

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine's coronviues press conference.

  • DeWine announced Ohio's guidelines for K-12 schools to reopen in the fall.  
  • Anyone with temperature over 100 degrees and with COVID-19 symptoms stay home or be sent home. Schools must contact local health department if there is a coronavirus case in the school. Schools must work with local health departments to have a testing plan.
  • Schools should provide ample opportunity to wash and sanitize hands throughout the day and have hand sanzitizer in high-traffic areas.
  • DeWine says Ohio will make “strong recommendation” that third grade students and up should wear face masks. Although the governor said some schools would be comfortable at starting masks as early as kindergarten.
  • All school staff in Ohio will be required to wear face coverings to reduce spread of COVID-19, unless it’s unsafe or interferes with learning process. Face shields may be allowed in cases where masks aren’t feasible, including for students with disabilities or students learning a foreign language.
  • Schools should strive to maintain six foot social distance between students, staff and volunteers as often as possible.
  • DeWine said some schools may stagger lunchtimes or require students to eat lunch in classrooms.
  • Ohio schools must conduct daily disinfecting of school buildings and surfaces.
  • DeWine said he’s working with Ohio General Assembly to give schools some financial assistance through CARES Act to help pay for building altercations and hand sanitizer.
  • All orders relating to social distancing and masks will remin in place.
  • The state is creating the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System to provide local health departments and community leaders data to help combat flare-ups as they occur in different parts of the state.
  • The system has 4 levels indicate the severity of COVID-19 cases in counties. The levels are determined by 7 data indicators that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.
  • The 7 indicators are: New cases per capita, Sustained increases in new cases, Proportion of cases not from congregate settings, Sustained increases in ER visits, Sustained increase in outpatient visits, Sustained increases in new COVID-19 hospital admissions, and ICU bed occupancy. More indicators will be added to the system in the future.
  • The alert systems levels are: ALERT LEVEL 1 (YELLOW): A county has triggered zero or one of the seven indicators, and there is active exposure and spread. Today, we have 53 Ohio counties at Alert Level 1. ALERT LEVEL 2 (ORANGE): A county has triggered two or three of the seven indicators, and there is increased risk of exposure and spread. We have 28 Ohio counties in this category. ALERT LEVEL 3 (RED): A county has triggered four or five of the seven indicators, and there is very high exposure and spread.  There are currently 7 Ohio counties at Level 3. ALERT LEVEL 4 (PURPLE): A county has triggered six to seven of the indicators, and there is severe exposure and spread. No counties are in purple right now, but Franklin County is on the watchlist.

1:35 p.m. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has announced that Columbus will require people to wear face masks in public, beginning Friday, July 3. Ginther signed an executive order that mandates both employees and customers to wear masks in stores, restaurants, salons, public transit, day camps and daycares, but has exemptions for medical conditions, disabilities and children under 6.

6:47 a.m. The city of Bexley is is requiring people to wear masks in public as cases surge. The change starts Friday. Dayton, Cincinnati and Montgomery County are also considering mask mandates.

Wednesday, July 1

4:48 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement support the move by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and the Montgomery County Commissioners to require people to wear face masks in public. "It's an appropriate and welcome response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 in their area," DeWine wrote, adding that he encourages other communities to follow their lead.

2:04 p.m. Ohio continued to see a surge in coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, the state reported:

  •  1,076 new cases of COVID-19 for a 21-day average of 633 cases
  • 13 new deaths from COVID-19 for a 21-day average of 20 deaths
  • 72 hospitalizations from COVID-19 for a 21-day average of 58 hospitalizations
  • 14 ICU admissions for a 21-day average of 14 ICU admissions

12:59 p.m. Health officials in the Toledo area say there's a spike in coronavirus cases at Put-in-Bay. According to the Toledo Blade, local leaders are asking people who visited several Put-in-Bay bars to self-quarantine after six people from Lucas County and one from Ottawa County tested positive for COVID-19. Photos circulating on social media over the weekend showed overcrowded bars, restaurants and pools.

Monday, June 29

2:00 p.m. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine give a coronavirus update:

  • Ohio nursing homes will be allowed to have outdoor visitations beginning July 20 as long as all safety standards are met.
  • Hospitalizations increased last week after declining for two months. Last week, the state had between 500-550 hospitalizations and 650 this week. Increases have been the biggest in Cleveland, Dayton and Cincinnati. DeWine said the state overall still has adequate hospital capacity.
  • DeWine said there is particular concern about Hamilton and Montgomery counties.
  • Hamilton County cases have increased drastically, with the rate of new cases more than tripling. The number of COVID-positive patients in hospitals has doubled from the low of 65 on June 11 to more than 130 this weekend.
  • In Montgomery County, daily new cases have increased fourfold and the number of medical visits for COVID symptoms grew from an average of about 7 visits per day to 27. For the hospitals in the region, the number of COVID-positive patients in standard hospital beds, ICUs, and ventilators have also doubled since the first week of June.

11:25 a.m. Columbus Metropolitan Library will require all patrons to wear face masks inside buildings beginning Tuesday, June 30. The library will provide free face masks to patrons who don't have one, and the requirement does not apply to children under 2.

11:23 a.m. The 2020 Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon and half-marathon have been canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. All registrants will be issued a full refund. The races were scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.

9:05 a.m. Republican officials in Warren County are accusing Gov. Mike DeWine of having “grossly mishandled” this year’s primary election and not having “reacted appropriately” to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • In a resolution signed Monday, the Warren County GOP called on DeWine to open Ohio to “all commerce” and allow residents “to make lawful decisions regarding their own well-being and safety.” DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney defended the governor’s response to the pandemic, saying it “has kept Ohioans healthy and safe.”

Thursday, June 25

2:36 p.m. The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an effort by Ohio ballot campaigns to win access to more flexible signature-gathering rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The high court denied the campaigns’ application without comment Thursday. That leaves in place a decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals blocking relaxed restrictions on the signatures ordered by a lower court. Ohio's deadline for ballot campaigns to collect over 440,000 signatures is June 30.

2:09 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine is giving an update on Ohio's coronavirus response.

  • Ohio saw a "big increase" in cases, DeWine said, continuing an upward trend of the last week. The state reported 892 new cases in the last day, the highest daily increase Ohio has seen since April, and the highest overall outside of mass testing in prisons.
  • Almost 60% of those new cases are people in the range of 20-49 years old.
  • Dr. Rick Lofgren, president and CEO of University of Cincinnati Health, says that Hamilton County was able to contain the coronavirus until the last 10 days, when it's seen an uptick in new cases.
  • Ohio's R0 number (indicating how many new people a single person infected) declined from 2.4 at its peak to below 1. However, after social distancing measures were relaxed, the R0 increased again to 1.5 – doubling over the last 10 days.
  • At the same time, Ohio has also seen a "modest but real" uptick in both hospitalizations and ICU patients. Lofgren says that because there are more coronavirus cases among younger people, who may not have symptoms or as severe complications, they're more likely to spread in the community and to older adults.
  • DeWine said he told the Trump administration about the importance of continued federal support for coronavirus testing. However, DeWine said he won't comment on everything President Trump says.
  • DeWine is asked if his message on encouraging face masks is being undermined by Republicans in the Ohio legislature, who have mostly refused to wear masks inside the Statehouse. "Everybody needs to wear a mask if they're out in the public," DeWine said. "But this is a separate arm of government, I do not intend to tell them what to do."
  • DeWine says he will have further news about state guidelines for reopening schools, and an update on the effort to hire contact tracers, next Tuesday.

12:34 p.m. The NFL has canceled this year's Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and is delaying the 2020 induction ceremonies for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The August 6 exhibition game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers is the first on-field event the league has canceled during the pandemic. It will be played on Aug. 5, 2021, with the same teams, while enshrinements for the 10 inductees will occur on Aug. 7, 2021.

9:02 a.m. Ohio's Department of Job and Family Services reports that 34,552 new jobless claims were filed last week, a slight increase from the week before. Since mid-March, 1,395,184 Ohioans have filed for unemployment benefits.

  • So far, the state has paid more than $4.4 billion to 716,000 people over the last 14 weeks, with a denial rate of about 30%.

Wednesday, June 24

3:56 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and First Lady Fran DeWine have all tested negative for COVID-19, after receiving coronavirus tests on live TV yesterday.

11:07 a.m. Major League Baseball and the players union have agreed on a deal to start a shortened MLB season this summer, after it was suspended due to the pandemic. Opening day is reportedly being considered for July 23 or 24.

  • Among the list of changes: It will be a 60-game season, teams will play their four divisional opponents 10 times, the National League will use a designated hitter, extra innings will begin with a runner on second base, and there will be a special COVID-19 injury list. Players will reportedly be tested every other day.

9:00 a.m. Congress may come to the rescue of hospitals facing economic pressures from the pandemic. A bipartisan bill introduced this week by Ohio's Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Rep. Bob Gibbs would forgive federal loans that will come due this fall. Ohio hospitals received $3.8 billion from the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments program that Congress approved during the emergency.

Tuesday, June 23

3:40 p.m. A group of 40 daycare centers in Ohio have filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health over the state's limits on the number of children and staffers required as facilities reopen. The case is backed by the libertarian firm 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, which previously won a preliminary injunction on behalf of closed fitness centers.

2:00 p.m. Gov. DeWine's coronavirus press conference.

  • Gov. DeWine, his wife Fran DeWine, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted were given coronavirus tests live on the air to promote testing and demonstrate how it works.
  • DeWine said that protesters have a right to free speech, but should wear masks and social distance for safety.
  • Dr. Sarah Bode of Nationwide Children’s Hospital shared concerns about children not being up to date on their vaccinations. She said vaccinations for children are down approximately 45% from last year.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said fireworks displays for July 4 are not prohibited, but should be done safely with appropriate social distancing. Large gatherings are still not allowed at this time.

11:11 a.m. The Cleveland Clinic, Ohio’s largest employer, has announced wide ranging cost-cutting measures in the wake of the pandemic-related economic slowdown. The hospital system, which has nearly 51,000 employees, faces a $500 million loss in revenue due to the pandemic. It's eliminating raises, freezing some expansion projects, and restricting travel and vacation time.

Monday, June 22

5:03 p.m. In a filing Monday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office told the U.S. Supreme Court to block a proposed change to Ohio's signature-gathering rules for ballot campaigns amid the continued pandemic.

  • Yost, a Republican, argued that the lower court judge who temporarily relaxed Ohio's ballot issue rules “rewrote Ohio’s Constitution and Revised Code.” The state also argues changing the rules now would lead to “last-minute confusion.”
  • The requirements to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures by July 1, even as Ohio encourages social distancing, prompted backers to suspend a voting-rights campaign last week. Two campaigns to raise the minimum wage and decriminalize marijuana remain.

2:00 p.m. Ohio today recorded its second-highest-ever daily spike in coronavirus cases. In the last 24 hours, Ohio logged 729 new confirmed cases, the largest increase since 731 cases were reported on May 21.

  • The daily case count reflects test results received by the Health Department in the past 24 hours. Those tests were typically conducted within the past 36 hours, though people could have experienced symptoms within the past two weeks.

Friday, June 19

4:46 p.m. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will begin denying unemployment benefits to Ohioans who cite lack of child care as a reason for not going back to work. 

  • An executive order allows for benefits to continue for people who can’t telework and are in a high-risk category, are over 65, those who have evidence of a health or safety violation by their employer, and those who have proof that they had to quarantine or are caring for a family member with COVID-19.

8:15 a.m. The Dayton Air Show has canceled its annual show, scheduled for June 27-28, "based on the uncertainty if the State of Ohio will permit a large gathering event due to safety concerns and if military aircraft will be able to participate." The show expected a crowd of 80,000.

  • The Dayton Air Show plans to return on July 10, 2021 and feature the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

6:30 a.m. Ohio's casinos and racinos are allowed to reopen today, including Hollywood Casino Columbus. The JACK casino and Thistledown Racino in Cleveland and Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati are also opening their doors.

Thursday, June 18

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

  • DeWine said that overall the state is seeing downward trends in the disease, with some exceptions. Montgomery, Green, Warren, and Hamilton counties are seeing an upward trend in cases. In Clark County, there is an outbreak at the Dole plant and a nursing home. The state plans to ramp up testing in Southwest Ohio.
  • DeWine announced a new hospital PPE readiness stockpile. It will store a cash of supplies at Ohio hospitals intended for future use.
  • Dr. Amy Edwards, Associate Medical Director for Infection Control at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, discussed a slight increase in the percentage of children testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced that on June 22 high school football, lacrosse and other contact sports can resume scrimmages and full training regiments as long as safety protocols are observed.

11:39 a.m. Health Department statistics say 1,860 nursing home residents have died since the pandemic began, out of a total of 2,611 confirmed or probable COVID-19 deaths. This week marked at least the fifth in a row that seven out of every 10 COVID-19 death involved long-term care residents.

  • A total of 6,404 nursing home residents and 2,977 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 since April 15.

8:46 a.m. Last week, 32,788 Ohioans filed for unemployment, a slight drop from the week before. In total, 1,360,631 Ohioans have filed for jobless benefits since mid-March.

  • Ohio has paid out more than $4.1 billion to over 700,000 claimants, and another $2.1 billion in federal pandemic unemployment assistance to 262,000 independent contractors, self-employed workers and other 1099 employees.

 

Wednesday, June 17

4:37 p.m. Ballot campaigns in Ohio have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on their legal right to relaxed signature-gathering rules during the coronavirus pandemic. Wednesday's move came after the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals declined Tuesday to reconsider its decision to block the campaigns from proceeding under less restrictive signature-gathering rules granted by a lower court.

  • Those rules would have allowed campaigns promoting minimum wage, voting rights and marijuana issues to collect signatures electronically over an extra month. The state argues “wet ink” signature requirements laid out in Ohio’s Constitution cannot be changed without a vote of the people.

2:00 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine says at least 200 employees in a Dole vegetables plant in Springfield, Ohio have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tuesday, June 16

2:00 p.m. Gov. DeWine's coronavirus press conference.

  • A correction officer at Lake Erie Correctional Institution passed away due to a COVID-19 related illness. It is the fifth death of a prison officer in Ohio during the pandemic.
  • Pop-up testing sites are increasingly available in more cities in Ohio. A map and list of testing sites is available online.
  • DeWine said that today is the first day Ohio has had to borrow money to meet its unemployment obligation during the pandemic. Ohio requested a $3.1 billion line of credit from the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic of the Cleveland Clinic said that hospitals are safe and people should return for procedures because an early diagnosis for diseases such as cancer is crucial.
  • DeWine announced $1 million in grant funding for local Family and Children First Councils that serve some of the state’s most vulnerable children by coordinating with many different agencies.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted discussed the various forms of fraud being perpetrated during the pandemic. Some criminals are filing fake unemployment claims or sending fake notices stating that the government has overpaid the recipient. He urged Ohioans to be alert.

Monday, June 15

2:33 p.m. The Bellweather Music Festival in Southwest Ohio has canceled its 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic. The three-day festival was originally scheduled for August 6-8. Last week, the festival organizers sued the Ohio Department of Health over the continued ban on mass gatherings.

11:03 a.m. Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center will once again allow limited visitation for hospital patients beginning Tuesday, June 16. Mount Carmel Health System and Ohio Health are making similar policy changes, as the state relaxes hospital restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Each patient can have one visitor per day, except for COVID-19 positive and suspected patients unless in end-of-life situations.
  • No visitors under 18 will be allowed, and all visitors must wear face masks.
  • Visitation is still not permitted in the emergency department or out-patient facilities.

9:13 a.m. Members of the men's and women's basketball team can return to voluntary workouts at the Schottenstein Center on Monday. Coaches for those teams, as well as women's volleyball, men and women's soccer and field hockey all return to work at their respective centers today. 

7:29 a.m.  Today the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium reopens to the general public, but all visitors including members have to make reservations.

6:28 a.m.  The Columbus Metropolitan Library system contuinues expanding its curb side pickup program. Starting today, people can pickup reserves materials outside the Canal Winchester branch from 11 am to 3 pm. The service is already available at at least 13 other locations.

Friday, June 12

4:00 p.m. Organizers of the Bellwether Music Festival in southwest Ohio and the Country Fest in northeast Ohio have filed a lawsuit against former Health Department director Dr. Amy Acton, arguing their events should be allowed to take place.

9:00 a.m. State Rep. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) has been fired from his job as a physician after asking if the "colored population" were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 because they did not wash their hands as well as other groups.

  • Huffman issued a statement saying his question was "unintentionally awkward" but did not apologize, and the ACLU and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus have called on Huffman to resign from the legislature.

Thursday, June 11

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

  • Health Department director Dr. Amy Acton is stepping down from her position, but will remain as an advisor to DeWine. "Dr. Acton’s extraordinary bedside manner and wise counsel have helped us all get through this pandemic," DeWine said.
  • Lance Himes, who served as Health Dept. Interim Director in the past, will serve in Acton's place.
  • DeWine announced that as of today anyone who wants a COVID-19 test can get one whether they have symptoms or not. Testing locations can be found online. Additional short-term pop-up testing sites will start tomorrow in Columbus. Other cities will have similar sites soon.
  • The state has put together a guide with best practices for religious services. These suggestions include having families sit together with space between groups and using face coverings.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services received a $8.5 million federal grant to help rehire workers who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

9:30 a.m. Another 35,430 Ohioans filed for unemployment last week, according to the Department of Job and Family Services, bringing the total number of jobless claims over the last 12 weeks to 1,327,843.

  • Ohio has already paid out $3.8 billion in unemployment compensation to 686,000 claimants, and another $1.5 billion in pandemic unemployment assistance (for independent contractors and self-employed workers) to 204,000 claimants.

Wednesday, June 10

10:10 a.m. Major League Soccer announced that it will hold a new tournament with all 26 teams, including the Columbus Crew. The "MLS Is Back" Tournament will take place from July 8 to August 11 in Orlando, FL.

  • The league's regular season will continue with a revised schedule after the tournament, concluding with the playoffs and the 25th MLS Cup.

Tuesday, June 9

4:36 p.m. A panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a judge's order that required the Bureau of Prisons to transfer vulnerable inmates out of Elkton Correctional Institution due to a coronavirus outbreak.

  • As of Tuesday, Elkton reports nine inmates have died from COVID-19, while 439 inmates and seven staffers have tested positive.

2:00 p.m. Gov. DeWine's coronoavirus press conference.

  • DeWine announced that as of last week, the state has distributed over 30 million pieces of PPE. Of those, 27.8 million pieces were shipped to county EMAs (Emergency Management Agencies) for local distribution. Sources include donations, FEMA, and state purchases.
  • The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation's "Protecting Ohio's Workforce - We've Got You Covered” program has also sent over 1.5 million face coverings to small businesses to support workforce safety.
  • The state has provided PPE to state institutional agencies to ensure they have a 90-day supply.

1:02 p.m. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced that in-car driver testing will resume at six locations by appointment only beginning June 12. All exam stations will resume in-car testing by appointment on June 16. Those who had tests canceled during COVID-19 will receive a call from the BMV for priority scheduling.

9:04 a.m. Eight bars and restaurants have sued Gov. Mike DeWine and Health Department director Amy Acton over rules implemented for reopening restaurants, which they say are unconstitutional. 

7:00 a.m. King's Island amusement park announces that it will reopen to season passholders on July 2, and daily ticket buyers can visit beginning July 12.

  • Cedar Point says it will open to season passholders July 9-10, and daily ticket buyers on July 11. Hotel and RV sites will be open June 12-27.

 

Monday, June 8 

6:15 a.m. Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Northside and Shepard branches will begin offering curbside pickup today. The library now has 13 locations offering curbside pickup.

Friday, June 5

2:00 p.m.  Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference.

  • Gov. DeWine said the state is working with retailers and community health centers to provide more testing sites. He said that anyone with symptoms can get tested. A map and list of testing sites is available online.
  • DeWine said that casinos, racinos, amusement parks, and water parks can open two weeks from today on June 19. Each category of business has developed specific plans on how to open safely that have been approved by the state.
  • DeWine said the Memorial Golf Tournement has submitted plans to go forward and the state has approved them.

9:22 a.m. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday put a hold on the transfer of 120 inmates out of Elkton Correctional, the state’s federal prison where nine inmates have died from COVID-19. The high-risk inmates were supposed to be moved Friday following a federal judge’s order. 

  • The order seeks to have the issue put on hold as the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati hears additional arguments at a hearing scheduled for Friday. 

Thursday, June 4

5:08 p.m. As of Thursday, 80 state prisons inmates and four staffers have died from COVID-19 in Ohio. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reports that 4,815 inmates have tested positive, along with 696 staffers.

4:17 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a slate of entertainment facilities that can reopen June 10: Aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, ice skating rinks, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor sports facilities, laser tag facilities, movie theaters, museums, playgrounds, public recreation centers, roller skating rinks, social clubs, trampoline parks and zoos.

11:26 a.m. The Ohio Senate yesterday rejected a proposal from the House that would require people with COVID-19 give written consent to begin the contact tracing process, which is already voluntary.

9:17 a.m. More than 1,600 nursing home residents have died from the coronavirus. Ohio Department of Health data shows that accounts for nearly 71% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state.

  • There have been nearly 6,000 positive cases among residents and 2,700 among staff.

8:45 a.m. Another 34,575 Ohio residents filed for unemployment last week. Over the last 11 weeks, almost 1.3 million Ohioans have filed jobless claims, more than the combined total of the previous three years.

  • According to the Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio has paid out more than $3.5 billion to over 668,000 claimants, while around 77,000 claims are still pending.
  • Another $1.1 billion in "pandemic unemployment assistance" has been paid to 166,000 self-employed workers, independent contractors and other 1099 employees. 

7:44 a.m. The Columbus Public Health says there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a person who showed symptoms last Thursday and attended protests in downtown Columbus. The department is urging anyone who attended the protest to monitor for symptoms and get a free test if they develop.

Tuesday, June 2

2:00 p.m. Gov. DeWine held a press conference to discuss the coronavirus and protests around the state.

  • DeWine reiterated that he expects K-12 schools to be open in the fall and that the start dates are up to local districts. The state is working on broad health guidelines for schools to follow.
  • DeWine announced that all surgeries and medical procedures can now go forward after previously being delayed. Guidelines for health care providers include maintaining supplies of PPE, routinely testing staff and patients, and using telehealth when possible.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said that the state controlling board has approved three new programs for businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program will help manufacturers to retool existing facilities to make PPE or reshore PPE production to Ohio. It will provide $20 million with a maximum of $500,000 to each facility.
  • The Ohio Micro-Enterprise Grant Program will focus on small minority-owned and women-owned businesses and offer $10,000 per business.
  • The Appalachian Growth Capital Loan Program will offer low interest loans to small businesses in the Appalachian region in Ohio.   

1:25 p.m. Kent State University on Monday released its blueprint for resuming classes in the fall. The plan calls for a mix of in-person and online classes and a staggered return for residence halls.

  • Fall break will be eliminated, and the last two weeks of the semester will be held remotely. The staggered return for staff will begin June 8, while students will begin returning August 17.

11:30 a.m. Gov. Mike DeWine is seeking pay freezes and cuts for state employees as the coronavirus pandemic continues to depress tax revenue. Kimberly Murnieks director of the Office of Budget and Management, said Monday that updated forecasts for the budget year beginning July 1 now show a $2.5 billion hole in state funding.

  • Murnieks said her office will ask lawmakers to freeze pay for non-union employees beginning in July. Murnieks is also ordering pay cuts of 3.8% for non-union workers and 4% for cabinet directors, which would include her own salary.

10:00 a.m. The Ohio House passed a bill Monday that requires local health departments to get written permission before beginning the process of contact tracing, which allows officials to determine how the coroanvirus is spreading.

Monday, June 1

9:00 a.m. WOSU has found that Battelle's Critical Care Decontamination systems, a first-of-its-kind technology to clean and reuse hospital gear for coronavirus treatment, has been met with a mixture of gratitude and concern as it deploys around the country. Hospitals say the decontamination process degrades the quality of the masks.

Friday, May 29

4:15 p.m. The Ohio Health Department reports that at least 13 cases of the coronavirus have been traced to beginning in January. The state’s data show none of those first cases resulted in any deaths or hospitalizations. But they do indicate the virus was established in Ohio earlier than initially thought. 

2:30 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to give a press conference about Thursday night's protests in downtown Columbus, which were spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Watch the briefing here.

1:29 p.m. Dozens of current and former law enforcement leaders across the U.S. are urging for the release or transfer of high-risk inmates from the Elkton federal prison in Ohio. In a brief to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the officials, including former attorney general James Petro, said the process must speed up before the prison's coronavirus outbreak worsens.

1:00 p.m. Thirty-four drive-through coronavirus test sites are opening at CVS locations across the state Friday. Patients must register online to receive a self-swab test, and CVS said it will follow CDC guidelines to determine who can get tested.

9:59 a.m. The University of Cincinnati is furloughing 360 employees for the summer amid funding shortfalls. Those affected are mostly in auxiliary and athletic operations.

7:11 a.m. The Dublin Irish Festival, which was set to be held July 31 - August 2, has been canceled. The city of Dublin also announced a proposed plan to reopen its recreation center, pools and limited summer day camp programs.

Thursday, May 28

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

  • DeWine announced that the Ohio Board of Pharmacy has updated rules to make COVID-19 tests available at retail pharmacies and community health centers. The state will be adding a map of locations at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
  • DeWine says Ohio is expanding the criteria of who qualifies for a COVID-19 test. People can now get tested if they have symptoms - even if they're not hospitalized, health care workers or in congregate living facilities.
  • Starting June 8, the state will allow outdoor visitation at intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities as well as assisted living facilities. DeWine said nursing home visitation is still not allowed, but this is the first stage in allowing visitations at care facilities.
  • The state has developed guidelines for county fair boards to work with local health department for junior fair participates to take part in limited activities and events. The guidelines include social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of those involved and animal care and welfare. DeWine says decisions on county fairs must be made locally and is asking fair boards to comply with the current Ohio Department of Health regulations.
  • The Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation will allow will allow business to defer payments for June, July and August. The state had previously deferred allowed employers to defer payments for March-May.
  • DeWine said he will try to address the reopening of amusement parks and zoos next week.
  • DeWine said he has had conversations with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians as well as  Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred about playing games starting in July without fans, but those conversations took place over two weeks ago. Baseball owners and players are still trying to agree on a plan for starting the season.
  • DeWine says he has talked with the mayors of the state’s major cities about performing studies on sewage to try and track the potential spread of coronavirus.

11:30 a.m. An Ohio Senate committee is reviewing a bill that would limit the power of Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton to issue extended health orders. The bill would limit any health order to no more than 14 days, similar to a provision in an Ohio House-approved bill, but Gov. Mike DeWine said he would veto any such legislation.

11:27 a.m. Youngstown State University is the latest college to announce sweeping budget cuts during the pandemic.

  • All employees in two unions will be required to take 26 days of unpaid leave in the next fiscal year, equaling a 10% pay cut, while about 70 employees will be laid off through the end of July. YSU will also cut $2 million from the athletic budget, eliminating 22 coaching and administrative positions.

9:17 a.m. Ohio nursing homes saw an additional 159 deaths from COVID-19 in the last week, a 22% increase from the week before.

9:00 a.m. An additional 42,082 Ohioans filed jobless claims the week of May 17-23, not including independent contractors and 1099 workers, according to the Department of Jobs and Family Services.

  • In the last 10 weeks, 1,257,838 Ohioans have filed for unemployment, more than the total number of claims in the previous three years.
  • Ohio has paid more than $3.1 billion to 644,000 claimants so far, and another $647 million in "pandemic unemployment assistance" to self-employed workers and independent contractors. Currently 7% of claims are pending, while 28.5% of claims have been denied.

Wednesday, May 27

9:46 a.m. Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson has extended his civil emergency proclamation for the coronavirus crisis through June 30. It was set to expire on Sunday. Cleveland has nearly 1,500 COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths as of Tuesday.

8:10 a.m. Columbus is on a shortlist of cities that could host part of a 24-team NHL tournament when the league returns to play. Under the plan, Columbus Blue Jackets will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in a playoff qualifying series.

Tuesday, May 26

4:22 p.m. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed a lower court ruling, pending appeal, that allowed Ohio ballot issue backers to collect petition signatures electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic. That means voting rights and minimum wage advocates will have to collect over 400,000 valid signatures, in person, by July 1 to qualify for November's ballot.

2:30 p.m. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s request to stop a judge's order to move hundreds of inmates out of Elkton federal prison because of the COVID-19 outbreak. In the prison, nine inmates have died and a quarter of all inmates are infected.

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

  • DeWine announced a new Congregate Care Unified Response Team that will target nursing homes with increased testing with the help of the Ohio National Guard. He said all staff members in all Ohio nursing facilities will be tested.
  • DeWine also announced increased testing of all residents and staff members of the state’s eight developmental centers, as they are congregate care settings and important to monitor.
  • Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton said that they’ve seen a slight uptick in the R0 number, which tracks how infectious each infected person could potentially be.

6:20 a.m. The reopening of Ohio's economy continues. Starting today, gyms and fitness centers, public swimming pools and non-contact sports leagues can resume business. Also reopening today are more than 180 BMV offices that closed in mid-March.

6:10 a.m. Columbus Metropolitan Library is expanding its curbside pickup program to four additional branches on Tuesday. Patrons can pick up reserved materials and drop off previously checked out items at the Northern Lights, Whetstone, Southeast and Dublin locations.

Read previous updates from May 3-May 25.