(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 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.
HIGHER EDUCATION SCREENING
Governor DeWine announced today that 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.
"Some schools are already doing this, and screening asymptomatic students really gives school leaders a good idea about virus spread on their campuses," said Governor DeWine. "Our expectation is that colleges and universities will screen at least 3 percent of their at-risk population on a regular basis."
The updated ResponsibleRestart Ohio guidance will be posted to coronavirus.ohio.gov in the next few days.
Governor DeWine announced two new health orders that will allow for indoor visitation at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities in Ohio.
Intermediate Care Facilities
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
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can begin allowing indoor visitation on Monday, October 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 at coronavirus.ohio.gov where users can access facility-specific visitation information.
SPORTS ORDER MODIFICATION
Lt. Governor Husted announced that the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been removed from the current sports order, which will be available soon on coronavirus.ohio.gov.
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.
OHIO NATIONAL GUARD - PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
Following a request from authorities in Cleveland, Governor 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 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 Ohio National Guard has provided support for similar events in the past, including the Republican National Convention in 2016 and several presidential inaugurations.
CURRENT COVID-19 DATA
There are 147,744 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,715 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,051 people have been hospitalized, including 3,228 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.