Coronavirus Pandemic: 867 confirmed cases in Ohio with 15 deaths

Today is the third day of the stay-at-home order for Ohio. People are expected to stay home until April 6. However, there are some exceptions such as essential businesses and travel for necessary supplies.

There are now at least 867 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Ohio with 15 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Of the 867, 223 have been hospitalized with 93 in the ICU.

In developments Thursday night, Gov. Mike DeWine postponed his annual State of the State Address to a later date. The address had been scheduled to occur in the House Chamber in the Ohio Statehouse on March 31. The change was mutually agreed upon by DeWine, the state Senate president and House speaker.

Also, Mercer County Health District officials announced a second person has tested positive for the coronavirus and there are 13 pending cases in the county.

On Wednesday, the Miami County Public Health reported a fourth person has died associated with the outbreak of coronavirus at Koester Pavilion and Springmeade. The death involves an 88-year-old woman who was a resident at Springmeade in Tipp City.

Heath officials caution that the number of cases in Ohio are higher than the confirmed cases because of testing availability. The age range of patients infected range from infant to 94 years old.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held his daily news conference today at 2 p.m.

The following announcements were made:

  • Weddings and funerals are permitted under the stay-at-home order, but the governor asks that large group gatherings not happen. He said many have postponed the ceremony portions of those events.
  • Dr. Amy Acton, state health department director, said 17,316 people have been tested for coronavirus.
  • She said 145 of the 867 who tested positive in Ohio are health care workers. That's approximately 17 percent of the positive cases, she said.
  • The state has decreased the impact of coronavirus on the health care system by 50 to 75 percent with the current restrictions in place, Acton said. Ohioans have to do more, though, to lower the curve, she said.
  • Unemployment pay will be retroactive to the time you qualified for it, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said.
  • The state is working to add servers and build capacity for the unemployment web site. The goal is increasing its capacity to 15 times the regular capacity.
  • Acton said the state is working with Miami County Public Health to provide a set of guidelines to assist with handling the outbreak at Koester Pavilion Assisted Living and Springmeade.
  • Acton said based on the best data the state, at the Coronavirus peak surge, could be seeing 6,000 to 8,000 new cases a day.  "The more we can push that surge off, the better hospitals can prepare their systems."

Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County and Mayor Nan Whaley held their daily coronavirus update Thursday afternoon.

Here are the key points: 

  • Dayton police will be enforcing the state social distance order, Mayor Nan Whaley said.
  • "I know this is difficult, Daytonians. Do not play basketball. What we're not OK with is gathering at the parks. Take bike ride. Talk walks. Do not play basketball. We don't want to use police resources this way, but we have to follow the governor's order" on social distancing and staying at home, Whaley said.
  • About the Ohio Primary, the mayor said: "If you voted early, you're good. The state will send out a postcard to every single Ohioan. If you have not voted, go to the board of elections website and print off an absentee voter form or call and ask for one. Fill out the form. Put 'March 17, 2020' for the date. Sign it. Send to the board of elections. The board of elections will send you a ballot. Mail it or drop it out curbside by April 27."
  • "That's a pretty fast timeline," Whaley said of the voting process.
  • The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association has set up a donation site for surgical masks, personal protection equipment (PPE) and quarter-inch long elastic to repair N95 masks. The collection site is the St. Vincent dePaul community store, 945 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. Drop off items 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 937-425-0592.
  • All donations -- homemade surgical masks, PPE, other material -- should be put in sealed plastic bags. GDAHA will launder and sanitize everything before passing the items to first responders and heath care workers, President/CEO Sarah Hackenbracht said.
  • Golf courses, car washes, vape shops are examples of non-essential businesses. They must be shut down, health Commissioner Jeff Cooper said
  • Businesses must be able to document their plans [for social distancing and whether they are an essential business] and prove their plans have been communicated with their employees, Cooper said

President Trump and the White House coronavirus Task Force are scheduled to offer an update Thursday afternoon.

Here are the highlights:

  • The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort will be leaving Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday headed for New York and could arrive at the New York City harbor in Manhattan by Monday. President Trump said he intends to be in Virginia on Saturday to see the ship off.
  • The record-high unemployment (3.3 million, according to several news reports) is "nobody's fault," Trump said.
  • The president because several companies are producing goods and materials to stem the pandemic, he hasn't had to use the Defense Protection Act. The Federal Emergency Management Agency describes the act as "the primary source of presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space and homeland security programs." The act hands Trump "a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense," according to a Congressional Research Service report on the act released this month.

The U.S. Senate has passed a $2 trillion stimulus and it now awaits a vote in the House of Representatives.

>>Coronavirus: What is in the $2 trillion stimulus bill; the $1,200 check explained

Here are some of the highlights: 

  • Under the stimulus package, independent workers and contractors would included as eligible for unemployment benefits
  • The stimulus package would include small business retention loans that would supply 8 weeks of salary and overhead, as long as workers are employed. The loans would be forgivable.
  • "Our country wants to get back to work!" Trump said
  • Trump said he will meet with the task force for a recommendation whether to reopen the country, or parts of it, by or before Easter.
  • "We want to get our country going again," the president said.

Local confirmed cases:

  • Butler - 21
  • Champaign - 2
  • Clark - 2
  • Clinton- 2
  • Darke - 1
  • Logan - 2
  • Greene - 3
  • Mercer - 1
  • Miami - 20
  • Montgomery - 14
  • Shelby - 1
  • Warren - 10

Local Stories:

  • The Cincinnati Reds will be hosting a special "Opening Day at Home" Celebration today.

>>Coronavirus: No Reds parade! No problem! Celebrate Opening Day at home

Tune in at 1 p.m. ET to catch a replay of the Reds’ dramatic 2019 Opening Day win on FOX Sports Ohio, and @Reds on Twitter and Facebook.

The state's order this week to close daycare centers unless the facility has a special pandemic child care license and have only six children in a room at a time has caused frustration for those businesses and their clients.

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