Gov. DeWine expects rapid testing next week in Ohio

Gov. DeWine, health officials give update on Ohio's coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - On Wednesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said the state could see rapid testing for coronavirus in the state next week.

He says Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will issue orders to increase testing turnaround time and hospitals without their own testing will be required to send to another hospital that is doing rapid testing.

In Ohio, there are 65 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 2,547 confirmed cases. A total of 679 have been hospitalized and 29,191 people tested, DeWine said.

According to DeWine, the Ohio National Guard is continuing to work to expand the capacity of hospitals. The possibilities for expansions include college dorms, convention centers, closed hospitals and unoccupied medial options.

DeWine established the “Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19," which asks manufacturers to provide healthcare workers and first responders with PPE.

If you are a manufacturer and you have the capability to create any of the products needed, you’re asked to go to repurposingproject.com and determine if you have the ability to provide.

“Please look at this to see if you can help us move forward. Some items: Swabs, ventilators, goggles, gowns, etc. Please go to the website, it is an extensive list. The money will be there - just let us know what you think you can do and how long it will take,” DeWine said.

He also signed an executive order for small businesses with a plea to lenders and landlords to suspend payments for at least 90 days.

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted said the goal of the order is to prevent foreclosures.

“But there is a connectivity problem - if someone can’t pay their rent and we’re not evicting them, then the person who owns the complex isn’t getting the money they need to pay their commercial loan. So we are creating a 90-day pause,” he said.

DeWine said he is planning to announce changes to a state order on Thursday.

During the briefing, many people had questions about businesses not enforcing the stay-at-home order.

“Everybody has to follow the law," DeWine said. “This is a national emergency. What people do in their lives is normally their own business. But when what you do endangers other people, we have to take action. Local authorities do have the ability to enforce the order when a non-essential business refuses to close.”

Acton said the recovery from coronavirus will be gradual and “not a switch you flip where you can go back to normal.”

“I wish I could give you hope about your summer, but the truth is if the curve peaks in May - it will be a slow process to get to the end of the curve,” she 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.

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.”

Gov. DeWine also signed an executive order Wednesday that seeks to provide some assistance for small businesses with mortgage and rent payments.

The order asks lenders and landlords across Ohio to work with their small businesses and suspend payments for at least 90 days in an effort to avoid foreclosures.

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

  • Hamilton: 154
  • Butler: 41
  • Clermont: 11
  • Warren: 23
  • Clinton: 4
  • Highland: 2
  • Brown: 2
  • Preble: 1
This map shows the number of coronavirus cases by county in the Tri-State
This map shows the number of coronavirus cases by county in the Tri-State (Source: WXIX)

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