DeWine extends school closures to May 1, reports 55 total deaths

Gov. DeWine gives update on state’s coronavirus response

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order to create a statewide inventory of ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The order will allow machines to be redistributed from elective procedures to places that need them.

“Along with mechanical ventilators, other devices to be reported are C-PAP and B-PAP machines commonly used to treat sleep apnea, as well as anesthetic machines and various treatment masks and tubing,” Governor Mike DeWine said.

In Ohio, there are 55 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 2,199 confirmed cases. A total of 585 have been hospitalized and 29,191 people tested, DeWine said.

According to DeWine, the goal of the testing system is to be able to process more than 1,000 coronavirus test swabs per day.

DeWine started off the Tuesday briefing praising Ohioans for their practice of social distancing.

“In regard to the physical distancing. We have to keep this up. Most people are doing great - it’s buying our medical community additional time to get ready. It makes a difference,” he said.

On top of Acton’s order, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director signed a statewide order to maintain public water service during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

“It prevents a water system from shutting off someone’s water service due to non-payment during the declared state of emergency,” DeWine said. “If someone previously had their water shut off dating back to January 1st, the water system is required to reconnect. This will help us assure that as many people as possible have safe water during the state of emergency.”

JobsOhio announced they are providing a $2 million growth fund loan to Appalachian Growth Capital (AGC). This is part of their new strategic initiative to provide more economic development funds to areas of Ohio hardest hit by the economy.

“The JobsOhio investment is a long-term, low interest loan that will boost AGC’s ability to provide low interest funding to businesses in the Appalachian community,” he said. “The lending support is intended to sustain small southeast Ohio businesses during this COVID19 outbreak and create sustainable growth beyond the crisis.”

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted acknowledged the many people having problems getting a claim through the unemployment system and promised those will not miss out on days of benefits.

“So, for all of you who have had challenges with the unemployment systems, your voices are being heard and they’re being acted on. Even if you have trouble, your benefits will be backdated to the date that you became eligible,” he said. “I was assured that they are putting 180 new people in the call center - they must first be trained.”

Lori Criss, the director for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and addiction services, said keeping your mental health strong during these times is very important.

“Checking on neighbors and friends who live alone is very important right now. Call them and talk, help decrease the isolation,” she said. “School is the community for the young people in our lives - developmentally, friends are a primary importance to kids, especially teenagers. Please create opportunities for your kids to connect with classmates in new ways.”

She reminded anyone who is feeling helpless or hopeless to call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

“Remember that you are not alone. We’re all in this together Ohio,” Criss said.

On Monday, DeWine extended the closure of all K-12 schools to May 1.

“There is the real possibility that our schools could stay closed longer than this, but we want to give parents and teachers as much notice and flexibility as we can," he said.

The governor’s previous order was set to expire on April 3.

School districts adjust to governor DeWine's new guidelines to reopen

According to Dr. Acton, they are working to double the current PPE needed in hospitals. She says they need all of the increased equipment, staff and locations they can get.

“No hospital system in this world has ever faced what we’re facing now. Our planning will go through the surge and after the surge. We are learning a lot as we go through this,” she said.

DeWine said the state will have a new order in the next few days.

Here’s a current breakdown of coronavirus cases in Greater Cincinnati counties:

  • Hamilton: 124
  • Butler: 36
  • Clermont: 10
  • Warren: 21
  • Clinton: 3
  • Highland: 1
  • Brown: 2
  • Preble: 1

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