(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 announced today that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 19 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System
New counties upgraded to Red Alert Level 3 will be mandated to begin wearing masks in public beginning at 6 p.m. on July 17, 2020. Mask mandates will remain in effect in all counties continuing in Red Alert Level 3. Residents in Trumbull County are no longer required to wear masks in public, however, they are strongly encouraged to do so.Athens County is also on Ohio's Watch List because it is closely nearing Purple Alert Level 4. Butler, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton counties were removed from the Watch List but the threat of exposure and spread remains high.
"As of tomorrow night at 6:00, nearly 60 percent of Ohio's population will be under a mask order, and I strongly encourage citizens living in other counties to wear masks in public as well," said Governor DeWine.
Detailed information on each Red Alert Level 3 county can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators.
Governor DeWine today signed an executive order to extend and improve emergency rules that will provide additional flexibilities to allow health care professionals to deliver services via telehealth.
Through the emergency rules, the executive order permits the use of audio, video, and even text messaging to allow people to access critical health care services while remaining socially distant and safe. This rule will apply to a variety of healthcare services, including critical mental health and addiction services.
PPE RETOOLING AND RESHORING GRANTS:
Lt. Governor Husted announced today that Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $20 million in grants to 68 Ohio manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and help ensure the safety of Ohioans during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring grants provide up to $500,000 to small and medium-sized manufacturers to expand production or convert their facility to start producing PPE including cleaning and sanitizing products, community dividers, components for ventilators, masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, nasal swabs, surgical masks, and thermometers.
The projects are expected to create 829 new jobs and retain 1,133 existing jobs. More than half of the awards will help small businesses with less than 25 employees. Grant funds can be used to retool or expand existing facilities in Ohio, construct new facilities, purchase equipment, or upgrade technology. Projects must be complete by December 31, 2020.
Ohio small businesses can learn more about other resources available through Office of Small Business Relief and Development at www.Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp.
The Lt. Governor also announced that to date, Ohio has procured approximately 65 million pieces of PPE. This includes various types of face masks and shields, gloves, gowns, coveralls, and thermometers. Though not PPE, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) also ordered 1,000 ventilators. This includes purchases by the Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, DAS, and the Department of Health.
As of today, more than 50 million pieces of this PPE have been distributed across the state.
In addition to large and small companies, groups, and citizens who donated PPE, JobsOhio has been a consistent partner in this effort, allocating nearly $70 million for more than 40 million units of lifesaving PPE.
Next week, in an effort to help Ohio’s small businesses and their workers operate in a safe environment, JobsOhio and its six network partners will distribute 15,000 PPE toolkits, for a total of 1.5 million 3-ply masks, 150,000 KN95 masks, and 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. This initiative brings together partners at the local level as well as partners in the chamber of commerce and urban leagues across the state. These kits have already been allocated to small businesses across the state.
CURRENT COVID-19 DATA:
There are 70,601 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,103 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 9,324 people have been hospitalized, including 2,280 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.