COVID-19 & Ohio: Higher Ed Screening, Sports Order Modification and More
Sept. 24, 2020
Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided updates today on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeWine released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that nine counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Ashland, Butler, Delaware, Mercer, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam, Scioto and Stark. A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and Portage County dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.
A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.
Additionally, the governor announced Ohio's ResponsibleRestart guidelines for higher education will now include a recommendation that all residential colleges and universities regularly test a sample population of asymptomatic students. In the next few days, the updated ResponsibleRestart Ohio guidance will be posted to coronavirus.ohio.gov.
"Some schools are already doing this, and screening asymptomatic students really gives school leaders a good idea about virus spread on their campuses," said DeWine. "Our expectation is that colleges and universities will screen at least 3 percent of their at-risk population on a regular basis."
DeWine also announced two new health orders that will allow for indoor visitation at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities in Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Health today issued the Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and to Permit Visitation. Intermediate care facilities for Ohioans with developmental disabilities can resume indoor visitation beginning on Monday, September 28, if safety standards outlined in the order are met.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can begin allowing indoor visitation on Oct. 12. This date was selected to allow adequate time for the facilities to prepare their physical plants, adjust staffing levels, update visitation policies, and communicate expectations with residents and families. Indoor visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities should only resume if certain safety standards are met. These standards will be outlined in a forthcoming public health order.
When visitation resumes, a Long-Term Care Facility Dashboard will be added to the COVID-19 data dashboard where users can access facility-specific visitation information.
Husted announced that the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been removed from the current sports order. This change comes over a month after the most recent guidelines were published with evidence showing that events have gone on without any noticeable increase in spread.
Following a request from authorities in Cleveland, DeWine today issued a proclamation to activate approximately 300 members of the Ohio National Guard to assist the Cleveland Police Department during the presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in Cleveland on Tuesday. The deployed National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be activated as part of the National Guard Response Force and will assist police in areas such as traffic control, site security and critical infrastructure protection. The guard has provided support for similar events in the past, including the Republican National Convention in 2016 and several presidential inaugurations.