Governor DeWine Releases Latest Update on COVID-19
The administration is taking new measures to protect Ohioans
Ohio is experiencing a more intense surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions across the entire state. In September, Ohio averaged under 1,000 cases a day. Today, Ohio reported its second highest number of cases at nearly 5,900. Some believe that the only reason the state is seeing more cases is because more testing is being done. While the state has more testing available in all the zones, testing has not yet doubled; yet, cases have almost quadrupled.
Last week, Ohio had just under 2,000 COVID patients in hospitals throughout the state. But, today, one week later, Ohio is approaching 3,000 patients. A month ago, 240 patients with COVID were in the ICU receiving critical care. As of today, more than 700 Ohioans are in the ICU.
"We know how to beat this virus," the governor said. "We need to stick to the basics: wash your hands; wear your mask even when you're with friends and family; stay socially distanced; work from home when you can; and stay at home when you are sick. We cannot pick and choose when we follow this guidance. We have to follow it every single day if we want to beat this virus.
While most businesses are doing a good job ensuring that COVID-19 safety guidelines are being followed, it is clear there are some businesses where mask-wearing is lacking. The administration believes that it and Ohio's businesses have a responsibility to employees and customers to ensure that Ohio's businesses are as safe as possible.
Thus, DeWine will ask the Ohio Department of Health to reissue the mask order that's been in place since July 23 to include the following new provisions:
- Each business will be required to post a face covering requirement sign at each public entrance. Please select this link to download a printable sign your organization can use.
- Each business will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks.
- A new Retail Compliance Unit, led by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, will be inspecting to ensure retail compliance. A first violation of this order will bring about a written warning and a second violation will bring about closure of the store for up to 24 hours.
Once this order is finalized, OSAE will share it with our members.
In regard to social gatherings, there has been an order in place since April to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. Despite the order, there is rampant spread of the virus from banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals. It is not the ceremonies; it is at the parties afterwards.
A new order will place significant new restrictions on these social activities. According to the governor's office, open congregate areas can no longer be open. The new order requires everyone to be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks and prohibits things such as dancing and games.
Once this order is available, OSAE will share it with our members.
If the trend continues and cases keep increasing, the administration says it will be forced to close restaurants, bars and gyms on Nov. 19. These are locations where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing. Mask wearing is the chief way of slowing down the spread of the virus.
The vast majority of our K-12 schools are doing a fantastic job. However, a surge in communities threatens a districts’ ability to keep teachers in the classroom.
The state's colleges and universities have taken strong action to keep their cases low and their campuses safe. Many have agreed to not return to in-person learning after Thanksgiving for the remainder of the semester. Unless the state can dramatically slow the community spread of this virus, higher education institutions may have to remain virtual when classes begin in January.