Managers and owners of businesses that have been given the OK to reopen under Gov. Mike DeWine’s Restarting Ohio plan are working this weekend to regain some sense of the new normal as everyone prepares for the long Memorial Day weekend.
The governor is not expected to brief reporters until Tuesday on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The post-holiday week is expected to begin another busy period with several more business sectors reopening and launching the initial recommendations from the governor’s Minority Health Strike Force.
Thursday, DeWine said he was deeply concerned by information from the strike force that while African Americans make up 14 percent of Ohio’s population, they represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio.
“I am the governor of all of Ohio, and when I see something disproportionately affecting some of our citizens, I have a responsibility to do something,” he said. “To augment on the work that we are currently doing on health equity and to address the immediate threats posed by COVID-19 to our minority communities we intend to move forward with the strike force’s recommendations, and we have several additional efforts that are ready to get underway.”
Those preliminary recommendations include (final recommendations are to be issued June 11):
- Establishing culturally appropriate and accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services for communities of color.
- Expanding testing capacity and access for minorities and high-risk populations. Ohio has partnered with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, which represents Ohio’s Federally Qualified Health Centers, including 55 Community Health Centers at 378 locations. It has multiple mobile units in 68 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
- Using data to prioritize resources in the communities that have the highest need.
- Developing and launching a statewide, culturally-sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and communities of color on COVID-19, health disparities, and social determinants of health. “Stay in the Fight” is the new campaign’s name and will be focused on the need to stay informed, involved and inspired during the pandemic.
Things you need to know today, Friday:
- Wellness Kits: Ohio, through a partnership with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers and the Nationwide Foundation, thousands of community wellness kits (such as face coverings, hand sanitizer, soap) will be distributed in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19, DeWine said.
- Mental Health: DeWine’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will award $1 million in grants to provide mental health and addiction services for hard-to-reach individuals. The grants will allow faith-based and local community-based organizations to develop culturally appropriate messages that target those who may not be as easily reached by mass-media messaging efforts, such as racial and ethnic minorities, Appalachian and rural communities, older adults, and others.
- Today, specific guidelines and restrictions are to be released for bowling alleys, miniature golf, and batting cages
- Today, horse racing -- without spectators -- resumes. Casinos and racinos are not included in this
- May 26, community pools, gyms and fitness centers (low-contact or non-contact sports), BMVs get the green light to resume operations
- May 31, summer day camps and daycare facilities reopen
- June 1: Banquet centers and catering businesses, both which serve events like wedding receptions, will be allowed to reopen with similar guidelines as restaurants. The total number in the crowd size is limited to 300 people. Here are under the guidelines
Other things you should know today:
- 2020 State Fair: DeWine backs decision to cancel 2020 Ohio State Fair
- Jobless Aid: GOP weighs cuts to jobless aid to urge Americans back to work
- Trump Response: President lashes out at scientists whose findings contradict him
LATEST STATE DATA: As of Sunday afternoon, there are 31,911 cases in the state, 1,969 deaths, and 5,476 hospitalizations, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Ohio has an estimated population of approximately 11.7 million, census records show.
Of the state’s positive cases, 19.5% are from Ohio’s prisons. At those prisons, there has been an increase in testing.
There have been 305,764 people tested for coronavirus in Ohio. In the state, 4,771 cases are health care workers, which is 15 percent of the cases.
It is important to note the number of confirmed cases is not a true reflection of actual cases in the state because of the limited amount of testing available. The hope is that the number of cases will be more accurate because of the expansion of the testing standards.
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