Coronavirus in Ohio update: 8,414 cases, 389 deaths; DeWine working to reopen some businesses May 1


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton held their daily update to discuss the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the state at 2pm, Thursday.

As of Thursday, there are 8,414 cases reported in the state, leading to 389 deaths. A total of 2,331 hospitalizations have been reported.

On Thursday, Governor DeWine said an economic advisory board has provided information and guidelines to him that will help some businesses to reopen by May 1.

DeWine stressed that reopening businesses must be done correctly in order to prevent a relapse in a large spread of the coronavirus, but it was something he is actively pursuing.

“It’s a plan but the plan’s not done yet,” DeWine said. “During the stay at home time, the companies that were allowed to continue have learned a lot and we’ve seen them put in place some very, very stringent measures. In a sense, this has been a trial period where we can see some of the things that work.”

Dr. Acton added continuing to wear a mask will be essential during this new phase.

“Do not underestimate donning your mask and donning your cape,” Acton said. “I still very much need you to keep doing this and doing it better than ever because we know as we slowly return to activities, it will increase slightly our chance of spreading infection.”

The Ohio Department of Health has launched a portal showing the amount of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in each of the state’s long-term facilities. Across the state there are more than 700 cases in long-term facilities. 

Acton emphasized that the numbers at long-term facilities shouldn’t be seen as an issue with the way those locations are operating.   

“A lot is made of this, but we shouldn’t be surprised by this data,” said Acton. “It’s not that hospitals, or nursing homes are doing something wrong, it’s just as the governor said, these are very high-risk places where more populations are exposed.” 

When asked about big events like county fairs, sporting events or concerts, DeWine said it would be tough to have those gatherings, but he hopes to have answers to do so soon.

“We got to take this a few weeks at time, to see where we are. Big events, where we are mixing together, are pretty problematic, as long as this monster is out there.”

DeWine said Wednesday, although the curve has been flattened, there are still concerns regarding PPE. He has asked the Hospital Association to come up with a plan that will allow them to start moving forward the healthcare that has been delayed while still preserving the needed equipment.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted discussed problems and delays with the state’s unemployment system. He says the system is outdated as far as technology goes. It is using a 2004-era mainframe, not a cloud-based system.

“We’re in this battle with the system we have,” said Husted.

Husted said pre-pandemic, 42 people worked in the call center. Now, it’s 1,194 and it’s still not enough. More claims have been filed in the last month than the last two years.

Husted says they are in the process of bringing in an additional 337 staff.

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