COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - A statewide “stay at home” order is now in effect for the next two weeks, until at least April 6.
A similar order will take place in Indiana at 11:59 p.m. tonight.
Ohio’s order began at 11:59 p.m. Monday as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise across the state and nationally.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed the order on Sunday, DeWine announced at his daily news conference in Columbus.
Most daycares also will be closed this week, starting Thursday. They must have a pandemic child care license to operate and no more than six children can be in a class, he said.
Ohio Department of Health | Stay-At-Home Order FAQ
DeWine and Acton say the next two weeks are a critical time as we try to curtail the coronavirus crisis.
“We have not faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years," DeWine said. “You have to go back to the 1918 influenza epidemic. We are certainly at war. I don’t know any other way to describe it other than to say we are at war.
"In the time of war, we must make sacrifices, and I thank all of our Ohio citizens for what they are doing and what they aren’t doing. You are making a huge difference, and this difference will save lives.
"Right now, we are in a crucial time in this battle. What we do now will slow this invader so that our healthcare system will have time to treat those who have contracted COVID-19 and also have time to treat those who have other medical problems. Time is of the essence.”
The "stay at home” order is similar to what many of us already have been doing, DeWine said.
Social distancing. Staying home. No large groups.
You can still go to the grocery store, walk in parks, pick up food and your prescriptions.
You can leave home to take care of others: “You can take care of your neighbor, your family, your friend," he said.
You can still go to banks, grocery stores, gas stations, post offices, laundromats, pet stores, pharmacies, big box home improvement stores and take-out windows at restaurants.
Religious entities also remains open, though some have voluntarily canceled services.
Parks are open, so you can get out and take a walk with your dog or children. Playgrounds and playground equipment are all closed and off limits.
Businesses must abide by the order as well, the governor has stressed.
The order is not designed to be punitive, DeWine said, but “it isn’t a suggestion.”
As of Monday, Ohio has 442 cases and 6 deaths, according to the state’s department of health.
Cuyahoga County continues to lead the state with 149 cases. Franklin County is second with 44, followed by Summit at 28 and Hamilton reporting 26.
Here’s of a breakdown of cases in other Greater Cincinnati counties:
The number of cases is believed to be much higher, DeWine and Actor have repeatedly cautioned, stressing that the data is not telling the whole story.
“Even the data you’ll see in the future is minimal,” Actor has said, "because we are conserving all our available testing for the most high-risk and hospitalized front line workers. There is still an incredible shortage of testing supplies in Ohio. We have to save the testing for front line first responders and those at the highest risk.”
For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.