Below are the updates from the May 21st press conference with Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and State Health Commissioner, Dr. Amy Acton. The next press conference is currently scheduled for Tuesday, May 26th.
- Ohio’s COVID-19 case data:
- 28,174 confirmed cases
- 1,993 probable cases
- 30,167 total cases
- 5,295 hospitalizations
- 1,653 confirmed deaths
- 183 probable deaths
- 1,836 total deaths
- 1,397 ICU admissions
- Governor DeWine announced initial findings from his Minority Health Strike Force. The team was formed in April in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans who make up 14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio. The Minority Health Strike Force’s preliminary report will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Final recommendations will be issued on June 11.
- Examples of these recommendations include: establishing culturally appropriate and accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services for communities of color; expanding testing capacity and access for minorities and high-risk populations; using data to prioritize resources in the communities that have the highest need; developing and launching a statewide, culturally-sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and communities of color on COVID-19, health disparities, and social determinants of health.
- A new position will be created within the Ohio Department of Health dedicated to social determinants of health and opportunity. This person’s work will build on several existing efforts to respond to health inequity by working directly with local communities on their specific long-term health needs and Ohio’s response to COVID-19.
- To expand access to testing, Ohio has partnered with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers which represents Ohio’s Federally Qualified Health Centers, including 55 Community Health Centers at 378 locations. It has multiple mobile units in 68 of Ohio’s 88 counties. For testing, individuals should contact their Federally Qualified Health Center or community health center for information and direction about how to be tested.
- Ohio is partnering with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers and the Nationwide Foundation to distribute thousands of Community Wellness Kits that contain COVID-19 protection-related items, such as face coverings, hand sanitizer, and soap.
- To support both the state and local health departments in efforts to fight COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on people of color, Ohio will significantly increase the number of public health workers who can help notify Ohioans of possible exposure to the virus. The hiring of these public health workers is in progress at both the state and local levels
with the goal of hiring individuals who represent and reflect the make-up of their own communities.
- Governor DeWine’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will award $1 million in grants to provide mental health and addiction services for hard-to-reach individuals. The grants will allow faith-based and local community-based organizations to develop culturally appropriate messages that target those who may not be as easily reached by massmedia messaging efforts, such as racial and ethnic minorities, Appalachian and rural communities, older adults, and others.
- Lt. Governor Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:
- Beginning Tuesday, May 26, miniature golf, batting cages, and bowling alleys may resume operations if they can meet required safety protocols.
- Beginning Tuesday, May 26, skills training for all sports, including contact sports, may resume if required safety protocols can be met. Tournaments, games, and competitions for contact sports are still prohibited.
- Beginning Monday, June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.
- Click here for guidance on baseball, golf, general non-contact sports, and skills training. Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
- For the week ending May 16, 2020, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 46,062 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last nine weeks (1,215,756) is more than the combined total of those filed during the last three years. Over the last nine weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $2.8 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 619,000 claimants. Of the more than 1 million applications the agency has received, more than 92% have been processed, with less than 8% pending. Pursuant to an order from the U.S. Department of Labor, Ohio will release unemployment numbers on a weekly basis as soon as the national report is released on Thursday.
- Ohioans may apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 9AM to 1PM. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.
As always, Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov and the Department of Health hotline, 1-833-4-ASK-ODH are great resources for those who have questions.