Area students will not be going back to class next week.
Governor Mike DeWine has added an additional order that will close K-12 school buildings in Ohio until May 1. The earliest kids could return to school is May 4, but that will be reevaluated as the date gets closer.
“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,” said DeWine. “Schools should continue to do what they’re doing now — providing the best remote learning that they can, serving meals to students in new ways, and planning for what the rest of the year may look like.”
Also on Monday, DeWine requested that hospitals send samples to a neighboring hospital that does quick testing or send them to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
“I don’t think it is acceptable while we are in this crisis to wait five, six days. This is what we’re seeing in the outside private labs,” he said.
He said the private labs do good work but they are behind, while ODH is not.
Record numbers of people are out of work, and, on Tuesday, it was announced that there would be extended call center hours for unemployment assistance. Agents will be available to assist with PIN resets and to take initial applications Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’ve made difficult decisions, but we have to get through this,” DeWine said. “We can’t let this monster come up, we have to keep pushing it down. This is a critical time. We haven’t had anything like this for 102 years, so it has to be that type of response.”
He added that state officials want to get kids back to school and reopen restaurants and bars but they can’t yet.
In addition, Ohio is taking action to gather a statewide inventory of ventilators and other machines and devices that provide breathing assistance.
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued an order requiring weekly online reporting of these devices by any entity in the supply chain, from creation through end-use. Examples are manufacturers, producers, wholesalers, transporters, distributors, retailers, physicians, clinics, hospitals, and medical facilities.
“This will allow for the identification and re-distribution of machines from healthcare providers who are no longer performing elective procedures,” said DeWine. “It also will help our regional hospital collaboratives by giving them information on the availability of these machines in their regions.”
Updated numbers on Tuesday showed 2,199 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio with 55 related fatalities. There have been 585 total hospital admissions and 198 intensive care admissions.
In northwest Ohio, Lucas County has 133 cases, Wood County 15, and Defiance five. Fulton County remains at two confirmed cases.