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Governor DeWine’s Weekly Press Conference Updates

April 15, 2020

Below are the updates from yesterday’s press conference with Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Dr. Acton. Today’s press conference is scheduled for 2:00 PM.  You can watch this on the Ohio Channel, Ohio Public TV (PBS stations), and other Columbus-based outlets.

Here’s the news from today:

  • Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is below:
    • 7,628 confirmed cases
    • 163 probable cases
    • 7,791 total cases
    • 2,237 hospitalizations
    • 346 confirmed deaths
    • 15 probable deaths
    • 361 total deaths
    • 677 ICU admissions
    • More data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard HERE.
  • Governor DeWine announced an expansion of Ohio’s partnership with Battelle and the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) to extend their sanitization services to law enforcement agencies and EMS providers.  Beginning this Friday, local law enforcement and EMS agencies can bring their packaged N-95 masks to any Ohio State Highway Patrol Post in the state. The patrol will then bring those masks to Battelle for sanitization. Battelle is providing this service for free.
  • Pursuant to an overcrowding statute in Ohio law (ORC 2967.18) and agreement from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC), Governor DeWine approved the release of 105 inmates in Ohio. Each inmate will be tested to determine if they have COVID-19 before they are released. The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) has been authorized to continue using the criteria previously set forth to identify other inmates that may qualify for release under the limited overcrowding statute. Additionally, we are sad to announce that there were two more COVID-19 inmate deaths at the Pickaway Correctional Facility.
  • Health systems worldwide have struggled due to a critical shortage of test kit components, including the swabs used to collect samples and the sterile solution needed to transport the swabs, called viral transport media (VTM). Governor DeWine announced that a team of Ohio State University researchers created an in-house “recipe” to make the crucial VTM. The Ohio Department of Health and Ohio State will continue to work on eliminating swab manufacturing and design constraints through a rapid product development cycle, including clinical testing.
  • Governor DeWine asked the Ohio Hospital Association to begin developing a plan to resume treating patients whose non-COVID-19 elective procedures were delayed or deferred due to the ongoing pandemic. Governor DeWine requested that the plan be completed within one week.
  • Lt. Governor Husted announced that by the end of next week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will be able to begin processing the additional $600-a-week payments authorized by the federal CARES Act. ODJFS also plans to launch an online tool that will allow self-employed, 1099 workers to get in line early, so that as soon as they have the technological ability to process their claims, they will already have their paperwork in and be in line for review. The department expects to be able to begin processing those claims by May 15, 2020.
  • Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans to complete the 2020 Census. Right now, Ohio’s response rate of 52.2% is higher than the national average and higher than all neighboring states, except Michigan which has a response rate of 55%. For more information, visit 2020Census.gov or call 844-330-2020.   
  • Attached is the Executive Order for nursing home and residential care facilities to notify residents, guardians, and sponsors, of positive or probable cases of COVID-19. 
  • Ohioans can 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.