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Ohio will begin to open back up on May 1, Gov. DeWine says

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 7:50 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Ohio will begin to open back up on May 1.

“I am an optimist and am confident that Ohioans will also live up to the challenge of doing things differently as we open back up beginning on May 1st,” he said.

DeWine said as the state open backs up, they will continue to monitor where Ohio is in the curve, the amount of PPE that’s available and Ohio’s testing capacity.

“In re-opening any business, it will be essential to provide a safe environment for employees. We cannot have another large spike of COVID-19 cases,” he said.

DeWine said he wants to talk with superintendents before making a school announcement “early next week” on what the next phase looks like for them.

He asked each industry in the state to put plans together in regard to how they would protect employees and customers when they begin to open up.

In addition, the governor wants essential businesses that have been open to help come up with best practices.

He says the state has to figure out how the safest way possible for businesses, schools, and citizens to emerge from the stay-at-home order

“I’ve felt all along that, as Governor, we have to tell people what we know, when we know it. We will continue to do that. The sad truth is that we’ve won the battle, it appears we’ve flattened the curve, but the monster is still out there," DeWine said.

According to DeWine, major events, such as concerts, sports, and fairs will be the last things to come back from the shutdown.

The governor also announced he will work closely with the governors of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin to reopen the region’s economy in a coordinated way.

The states will review four factors as they reopen their economies:

  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the state and the number of hospital admissions
  • The amount of hospital capacity
  • The ability to test and trace cases of COVID-19
  • Best practices for social distancing in businesses

As of Thursday, Ohio has 8,414 total cases of COVID-19 and 389 deaths.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said face masks will be a big part of our future.

“Do not underestimate the power of donning your face mask,” she said. “The path ahead will consist of several phases and there is a lot of things that you can do to help us continue to flatten the curve, such as great hygiene and wearing a face mask while out in public.”

Gov. DeWine says there is a critical shortage of COVID-19 test kit components, including the swabs used to collect samples and the sterile solution needed to transport the swabs.

The governor says OSU is working with 3D manufacturing companies, including FormLabs, Inc. in Toledo, and academic institutes across the state to manufacture the swabs and swab kits in significant amounts.

The first order of 15,000 3D printed swabs for COVID-19 test kits will be delivered to Ohio State, with a target of 200,000 swabs and swab kits, allowing more people to be tested by the end of April.

Complete coronavirus coverage | Interactive map: Coronavirus cases by zip code in Cincinnati, Hamilton County

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