(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS
Governor DeWine today released this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that seven counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread.
A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and 12 counties moved from orange to yellow. There are now a total of 39 counties in the yellow level, the highest number since July 2. Detailed information all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.
SCHOOL REPORTING ORDER
Governor DeWine announced details for Ohio's forthcoming case reporting order for K-12 schools.
Beginning Tuesday, September 8, parents or guardians and school staff should notify their school within 24 hours of receiving a positive test or a clinical diagnosis. Within 24 hours after receiving that notification, the school should notify other parents and guardians about that case in writing, providing as much information as possible without releasing protected health information. The school must also notify their local health department within 24 hours.
Beginning Tuesday, September 15, and each Tuesday thereafter, local health departments will report the number of newly reported and cumulative cases to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health will publish this data by school or school district, including a breakdown by students and staff, each Thursday.
"We understand there is a balance between privacy and transparency, and we do not intend for protected health information to be released in our effort to provide information to Ohioans so they can make the right decisions for their family," said Governor DeWine. "Please remember that if a school has positive cases among their students or staff, it does not mean the school did anything wrong. Schools cannot control spread in the community, so it is important to practice safety measures not only in the classroom but also when you’re out in the community."
The order will also require each school district or school to identify a COVID-19 coordinator to facilitate the reporting of case information, and upon request, schools or buildings are required to provide the local health department a copy of their pandemic plan.
LABOR DAY AND SPREAD BY YOUNG OHIOANS
Governor DeWine today once again encouraged Ohioans to take proper safety precautions over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. He stressed that citizens can still have fun, visit family, and travel, but face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing should also be part of your plans.
"It's not about where we go, but rather, what we do when we get there," said Governor DeWine. "It's about how we act when we're with family and friends and what precautions we take. The decisions we make as we celebrate the unofficial end of summer will play a major role in how we begin the fall."
Governor DeWine also reminded young Ohioans of their responsibility to follow safety precautions, especially students attending a college or university.
Case data shows that those aged 18-22 currently make up 35-40 percent of all young Ohioans who have tested positive for the virus which is a significant increase from previous months.
"In Cincinnati, multiple off-campus parties with students attending from several universities on August 17 have resulted in at least 78 confirmed cases," said Governor DeWine. "Although college students might not get seriously ill, they could spread the virus to others who could. The responsibility falls on all of us to protect each other."
WASTEWATER MONITORING NETWORK
Governor DeWine announced that information from Ohio's new Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network is now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The network was developed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the study of wastewater samples. The presence of coronavirus gene copies/fragments can be found in the waste of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and can be detected in wastewater as many as three to seven days before those infections lead to increases in case counts or hospitalizations in a community.
DEFENSE MANUFACTURING COMMUNITY
Lt. Governor Husted announced that, in an effort led by the Development Services Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense has made a commitment to Ohio’s defense manufacturers and put the state in a position to receive a $5 million grant to improve manufacturing processes and train workers for next-generation jobs.
Ohio has been designated as a Defense Manufacturing Community, which is a program designed to support long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand the capabilities of defense manufacturing.
STEP UP TO QUALITY
As of last Tuesday, all child care providers in Ohio that serve publicly funded children were required to be rated on Ohio’s child care quality rating system, called Step Up To Quality.
Governor DeWine announced today that over 4,400 providers are now rated through the system. This is more than double the number of rated quality child care providers when he took office in 2019. By 2025, all providers must be rated three stars or higher on the rating system.
H2OHIO LEAD UPDATE
Governor DeWine announced that Greater Cincinnati Water Works will receive $725,000 in H2Ohio funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to remove and replace lead service lines and fixtures at nearly 200 child care facilities in Cincinnati.
The H2Ohio initiative launched last year to address a number of water quality issues in Ohio including lead pipes feeding into childcare centers. Although lead in water is rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, it can significantly increase someone’s total lead exposure – especially infants who drink baby formula or concentrated juices mixed with contaminated water.
CURRENT COVID-19 DATA
There are 127,112 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,226 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 13,663 people have been hospitalized, including 3,003 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page.
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.