Coronavirus: Butler approaches Level 4 alert; DeWine issues college, university guidelines

Coronavirus Pandemic: What you need to know Thursday, July 9

Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the latest health alert levels for counties connected to the coronavirus pandemic in the state. Butler County is now on the watch list for Level 4 purple level, but remained at a Level 3 red level. Mercer and Clinton counties rose to the Level 2 Orange level Greene County lowered to the Level 1 Yellow level. All other counties remained the same.

The following announcements have been made during today’s press conference:

  • Governor DeWine unveiled guidance for the state’s universities and colleges to include the following:
  • Each campus must develop policies and procedures for COVID-19 testing and isolation of symptomatic students, faculty, and staff members.
  • The state recommends having a dorm building or nearby residential housing that could become a housing location to isolate those with coronavirus.
  • The state is requesting approval from the state controlling board of using $200 million for colleges and $100 million for K-12 facilities from the federal CARES Act to assist in funding additional safety measures for schools to combat coronavirus.
  • The funding would be available to all public and private schools K-12 as well as 2 and 4-year colleges and universities.
  • DeWine said there is already additional direct funding coming from the CARES Act in the amount of $440 million for schools grades K-12 and $190 million for higher education.
  • DeWine announced an additional $15 million grant to COHHIO to ensure Ohioans can maintain their housing during this time. This is an effort to support homelessness prevention efforts in the state.
  • Hospitalizations are continuing to climb in the state. On June 26 there were 619 patients in hospitals and as of today there are 905 patients in hospitals for coronavirus.
  • The positive rate in Ohio has been hovering between 4 and 6 recently, but the state has seen a 6.4 percent positive rate in the most recent data release.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the launch of IMAP - the Individual Micro-credential Assistance Program - which helps unemployed Ohioans earn in-demand, tech-focused credentials, giving them a leg-up in finding a job in the increasingly tech-infused economy. Training providers who received awards will be reimbursed up to $3,000 for each technology-focused credential completed, up to $250,000 per provider. More information available at IMAP.Development.Ohio.gov
  • On July 2, the Governor signed an executive order, enabling the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to draw down federal funding authorized under the CARES Act to enhance the state’s SharedWork program. Participating employers agree to reduce the affected employees’ hours by a uniform percentage, between 10% and 50%, for up to 52 weeks. In return, those employees receive SharedWork compensation (which is a prorated unemployment benefit). Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has approved 909 employers have participated in 1,680 SharedWork Ohio plans, benefiting 46,352 participating employees.
  • People who have been fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating plasma at your local blood donation center that offers plasma donation, which includes the Blood Center in Dayton. The plasma is rich in antibodies that could possibly attack the virus that causes COVID-19. It shows promise to lessen the severity or shorten the length of COVID-19.

Newly released Public Health Advisory System Levels by county:

  • Alert Level 1 (Yellow): This level means a county has triggered zero or one of the indicators, and there is an active exposure and spread. Currently, Miami, Greene, Auglaize, Logan, Champaign, Darke, and Shelby counties are at this level.
  • Alert Level 2 (Orange): This level means a county has triggered two or three indicators and there is an increased risk of exposure and spread. Counties at this level are seeing cases that are growing in the last two weeks. Currently, Preble, Mercer, Clinton, Warren and Clark Counties are at this level.
  • Alert Level 3 (Red): This level means a county has triggered four or five indicators, and there is a very high exposure and spread. Risk is very high. Currently, Butler and Montgomery Counties are at this level.
  • Alert Level 4 (Purple): The highest level means a county has triggered six or seven indicators, and there is severe exposure and spread. Officials say to stay home as much as possible when in this level. There are no current counties on this list but Hamilton and Butler counties are on the watch list.
  • With Butler County on the Level 4 watch list, the following information was released:
  • Between Jun. 24 and Jun. 30, Butler County had 181 cases reported, the largest number of COVID-19 weekly cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic. From June 16 until July 3, the average new cases per day doubled from 15 to 29.
  • From June 16 and July 4, visits for COVID-19 symptoms to the ER tripled from an average of 2 per day to 7. Between June 16 and July 7, the average outpatient visits more than doubled from 15 to 38 visits per day.
  • Butler County also hit a new threshold for the overall utilization rate for regional Intensive Care Unit beds, which exceeded 80% during 5 of the last 7 days.

Things you should know today, Thursday:

More things you should know today, Wednesday:

  • Beginning July 20, nursing homes will be permitted to have outdoor visitations, as long as all safety standards are met. Nursing homes should consider the status of cases in their communities and in the nursing home, staffing levels, access to testing for residents and staff, PPE supplies and hospital capacity when deciding to reopen for outdoor visits.
  • Testing Clinics: July 15, the second of three community testing clinics will be offered, courtesy of the The Clark County Combined Health District and the city of Springfield, The clinics operate noon until 6 p.m. and the tests are free. No insurance, doctor’s order or appointment needed. The locations and times are as follows: July 15: Perrin Woods Elementary School, 431 W. John St.; July 22: La Condesa Grocery #1, 440 S. Burnett Road (Burnett Plaza Shopping Center).

LATEST STATE DATA: As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 61,331 confirmed or probable cases in the state, 3,006 deaths, and 8,570 hospitalizations, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Of Ohio’s cases, 42,111 cases are presumed recovered, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of the cases.

Ohio has an estimated population of approximately 11.7 million, census records show.

Of the state’s positive cases, 8.8% are from Ohio’s prisons.

The state reported that a total of 911,905 people have been tested in Ohio.

In the state, 7,799 cases are health care workers, which is 13 percent of the cases.