COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton held their daily update on the spread of COVID-19 in the state, at 2pm, Thursday.
As of Thursday, a total of 18,027 cases have been reported in the state, leading to 3,533 hospitalizations and 975 deaths.
On Thursday, Gov. DeWine said that more than 1.1 million pieces of PPE will be directed to correction facilities in the state.
Director of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Annette Chambers-Smith says Ohio’s correctional facilities have been planning for a pandemic since the H1N1 outbreak more than a decade ago.
Chambers Smith says they are now applying their plan to COVID-19.
When asked, DeWine announced he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order but did not announce a specific date for the extension. However, a release on the Ohio Department of Health’s website announced the order will be extended until May 29.
“We want to open up, but we must protect the public. It’s why we have specific protocols, and it’s why we are layering the openings,” said DeWine.
Back on April 2, Gov. DeWine extended Ohio’s stay-at-home order until May 1. The orders were scheduled to expire Friday at midnight.
On Wednesday, Gov. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted addressed confusion regarding the wearing of masks in the workplace.
Husted said there have been many questions about what is required for face coverings. Husted said the business group was unanimous in saying face coverings should be required for customers. They have since heard that would be impractical.
Husted said customers in a business should wear a face coverings. They are not required, however.
For employees, and employers, face coverings are required while on the job. There are exceptions for employees prohibited by law from wearing a face covering, when against industry best practices, when it violates safety policies and when its not advisable for health reasons. There is also an exception for employees alone in a closed work environment.
The governor addressed the issue of graduation ceremonies after his comments Tuesday caused a stir. He says due to the coronavirus, everything has to be different.
Governor DeWine said the guidelines are:
- First and most preferred is a graduation is virtual
- Second is a drive-in ceremony
- Third is an event with 10 people or less at a time where a graduate can receive their diploma.
- Each school must stay within public health guidelines
DeWine said when we look at whether or not to hold a graduation ceremony, social distance must be first and foremost. Mass gatherings can not be held for this reason or any other.
Timeline for phase one of reopening Ohio:
- May 1 – Health care procedures that do not require an overnight hospital stay in Ohio can move forward.
- May 4 – Manufacturing, distribution and construction will be opened up.
- May 4 – General offices will be able to reopen. Companies are asked to have employees work from home if possible.
- May 12 – Retail businesses, with employees and customers wearing masks.
- Businesses like salons, gyms and restaurants will have to wait to see how the first reopenings go.
Despite the May 1 date of a gradual economic reopening, K-12 school buildings in Ohio will stay closed for the remainder of the academic year, and graduations are to be held as virtual commencement ceremonies.