Columbus Public Health

Clinton Elementary school was closed when COVID-19 hit in March.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU Public Media

Columbus Public Health says that with the proper protocols, schools can safely host students in their classrooms this fall.

BrewDog in Franklinton offered carryout food when bars and restaurants were closed, but has since reopened for service.
David Holm / WOSU

Story updated Tuesday, July 28 at 4:15 p.m.

A Franklin County judge has blocked a Columbus rule requiring bars, restaurants and nightclubs to close by 10 p.m. nightly.

Mayor Andrew Ginther tours the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Greater Columbus Convention Center

Columbus leaders want to limit hours at bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Columbus City Council will take up the measure Monday.

A sign on face mask requirements at Sierra Trading Post in Easton.
Darrin McDonald / WOSU

Mayor Andrew Ginther signed an executive order requiring masks this month, and Columbus City Council passed legislation that added consequences for violators. Franklin County is also under mask mandates from both the County Board of Comissioners and the Ohio Department of Health.

But who is in charge of enforcement?

Mayor Andrew Ginther tours the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Greater Columbus Convention Center

Mayor Andrew Ginther says he will sign an executive order that requires the wearing of face coverings in public. The order takes effect throughout Columbus on Friday, July 3, ahead of the holiday weekend.

What Does Racism As A Public Health Crisis Mean?

Jun 25, 2020
Protesters in downtown Columbus on June 2, 2020.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

This episode originally aired on June 19, 2020.

Columbus City Council and Franklin County Board of Commissioners have both declared racism a public health crisis in the last month.

Even after that and after weeks of protests across the country, uncertainty remains about what that means.

Protesters in downtown Columbus on June 4, 2020.
Nick Evans / WOSU

At protest after protest in Columbus, demonstrators have waved signs with calls to action like "abolish the police," "disband the police" or "defund the police."

There's a lot of money to account for: Columbus spends more than a third of its nearly $1 billion budget on police.

A medical professional performs the COVID-19 test at a drive up testing site in Merrillville, Indiana.
Justin Hicks / Indiana Public Broadcasting

It’s a lot easier to get tested for COVID-19 in Ohio now. Gov. Mike DeWine announced that anyone in the state of Ohio can now get tested for coronavirus for free.

Crowds protesting the killing of George Floyd in downtown Columbus on Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Columbus Public Health says there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a person who showed symptoms last Thursday, May 27, but still attended protests in downtown Columbus.

Restaurants and businesses on Grandview Avenue on May 14, 2020.
David Holm / WOSU

Ohio bars and restaurants finally got to let customers back inside their businesses Thursday, more than two months after closing to limit the spread of coronavirus. 

Standard Hall in the Short North was cited multiple times over the weekend for violating state health guidelines.
Standard Hall / Facebook

In Columbus, nine bars and restaurants were cited for violating social distancing requirements after patios were allowed to reopen Friday.

Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Christopher has been struggling with addiction since he was 14. He uses heroin, and he says things have been hard since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Dawn at Bicentennial Park in downtown Columbus.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

Franklin County has recorded 1,837 COVID-19 cases and 48 deaths as of Friday. But ZIP code data shows smaller racial disparities in those numbers than in the rest of the state. 

Inside the Greater Columbus Convention Center, hundreds of makeshift hospital rooms have been set up for coronavirus patients.
Greater Columbus Convention Center

In a large convention hall, hundreds of makeshift hospital rooms are lined up in rows like curtained off cubicles. This pop-up sick ward is meant to backstop local hospitals if cases of COVID-19 surge.

Taylor Williams, left, and other shoppers what in line to enter a Traders Joes store, Monday, April 6, 2020, in Woodmere Village, Ohio. Only 25 customers are allowed in the store at one time.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

In a newsletter this week, Columbus City Council president Shannon Hardin had a prediction: “Coronavirus may not discriminate, but underlying health and economic disparities mean that the impacts of COVID-19 will hit neighborhoods like the Near East Side and Southfield the hardest.”