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COVID-19 Update: Public Awareness Campaigns, Fireworks, Criminal Justice Grants

June 23, 2020

Today, Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided updates on the state’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. As of today, there are 46,127 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,735 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 7,379 people have been hospitalized, including 1,876 admissions to intensive care units. Ohio is offering free COVID-19 testing for all residents at pop-up testing sites across Ohio, which can be accessed by selecting this link.

Additionally, today, DeWine announced two public awareness campaigns aimed at spreading awareness of COVID-19 prevention measures that impact the well-being of Ohioans and the Ohio economy.

“The messages of these ads are clear,” said DeWine. “Ohioans, by continuing to practice good prevention, can do two things at once, help stop the spread of COVID-19, and responsibly and safely get back to work.”

The first campaign, called “I Believe,” focuses on real Ohioans and the prevention measures they take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These 15-second ads, provided by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), will air for three weeks on broadcast, cable and social media across the state. The PSAs feature two Ohio healthcare professionals. 

The second campaign, called “Up to All of Us,” focuses on the importance of taking proper preventative precautions, such as maintaining social distance and washing hands, to get Ohioans back to work and Ohio's economy working again.  The ad, provided by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, will air for three weeks on broadcast and cable television and features an emergency room physician and a local restaurant owner and operator.

Laura Espy-Bell, MD, MHA, FACEP is a board-certified Emergency physician and a native of Columbus, Ohio. She is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 2003. Espy-Bell received her Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005. In 2011, Espy-Bell graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine; she has been an active member of the OhioHealth medical staff for the past 6 years as an emergency medicine attending physician with Mid-Ohio Emergency Services (MOES) and has provided quality healthcare in several OhioHealth emergency departments.

Gary Callicoat is the president of Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern, which he first opened in 2002. Reflecting a long record of giving back to the hospitality industry, Callicoat serves on the board of the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) and is equally committed to supporting charitable causes of the communities in which he does business. He is also on the board of the ORA’s Education Foundation.

Husted noted today that Independence Day fireworks shows can proceed, but that large gatherings are still prohibited at this time. He encouraged any community that plans on holding a fireworks event to do so safely. Spectators are encouraged to find ways to celebrate the nation’s birthday in small groups, such as by watching displays from their porches, backyards, or cars. 

The governor also announced the first round of funding being distributed to local criminal justice entities as part of the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant. Approximately $2.1 million will be awarded to a total of 65 local criminal justice agencies including law enforcement, probation/parole offices, corrections agencies, courts, and victim service providers. The funding can be used toward COVID-19 expenses such as cleaning supplies, PPE, and medical supplies like thermometers. The funding will also be used to pay for technology upgrades that are needed for teleworking or other virtual services.

A total of nearly $16 million was awarded to Ohio's Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) for this program as part of the CARES Act. OCJS continues to process other grant applications they’ve already received and are still accepting new applications from agencies that have not yet requested funding.

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