Geauga to offers COVID-19 vaccines at fairgrounds (March 29)

Geauga Public Health will be offering mass vaccination drive-thru clinics at the Geauga County Fairgrounds on Tuesdays from April 13 to the end of July, officials announced today.

That means the health department offices at 470 Center St., Chardon will be closed to the public on those Tuesdays, Health Commissioner Thomas Quade said in a written statement.

Those wishing to get vaccinated will need to schedule an appointment by visiting Only first doses will be scheduled using that application. All second doses will be scheduled at the time the first dose is given. The current plan is for the second doses to follow 30 days later at the same time and location of the first dose. Because Geauga Public Health has only received the Moderna vaccine, only those 18 years of age and older will be able to receive vaccines from the health department.

The vaccination clinics are coming to residents along with COVID-19 test kits available at public libraries in Geauga, officials said. (see story from March 26.)


Geauga libraries offer free COVID-19 test kits (March 26)


Through a partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, free COVID-19 test kits are available at all Geauga County Public Library branches through contact-free service.

Abbott’s BinaxNOW is an easy-to-use antigen test that detects the virus when people are most infectious. People perform the tests at home and digital health solutions provider eMed delivers results to the user through the NAVICA app in 15 minutes.


 The test kits, combined with the telehealth solutions provided by eMed, provide access to testing for those who may not be able to get traditional testing because of work hours, mobility or transportation issues, or caregiving responsibilities.


 "It is the goal of the Ohio Department of Health to make these kits widely available, and we are eager to help with that process," said county library Director Ed Worso. "With Easter and other major holidays on the horizon, these tests are more relevant than ever."


 To learn more about the test kits, call or stop into your local GCPL Branch, or visit


Changes in nursing home visitation, county fairs and more (March 12)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday announced changes in COVID-19 health rules including opening visitation at nursing homes, mass vaccination sites and relaxed guidelines for county fairs.

The Cleveland mass vaccination site, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency begins on March 17 at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland. As Thursday, more than 17,000 Ohioans registered to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the site.

Additional appointments will become available throughout the coming days. To schedule an appointment at the Cleveland mass vaccination site, or with a vaccination provider, visit


Gov. DeWine reviewed new federal regulations for nursing home visitation, as well as Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program. The visitation guidelines, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate visitation should be happening in nursing homes. There are a few specific exceptions that would limit visitation, such as outbreaks in the facility or an extreme number of cases in the community.  Full information on the federal nursing home visitation guidance is available at

The governor also highlighted the progress being made by Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program ensures new nursing home residents and employees, and established residents and employees who previously decided not to receive a vaccine, can still choose to receive one. Gov. DeWine emphasized the importance of every nursing home resident receiving a vaccine. 

Long-term care facility visitation status is available on the dashboard at


Gov. DeWine announced that, statewide, Ohio is currently at a rate of 155 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people during the past two weeks. Last week, statewide data put Ohio at 180 cases per 100,000 people. 

"In Ohio, we are still at a very elevated level of cases, but today's health data is certainly trending in the right direction," Gov. DeWine said. 

In an evening address last week, Gov.  DeWine announced that when Ohio reaches 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be lifted. 


Gov. DeWine reviewed initiatives that are making rapid COVID-19 tests more accessible to Ohioans:

  • Federal Qualified Health Centers
    • The state's ongoing partnership with federally qualified health centers has led to the availability of over 150,000 rapid tests at community health centers. These centers have professionals on-hand to administer the tests free of charge.
  • Local Health Departments
    • Local health departments have partnered with their communities to make at-home testing available to schools, nonprofit organizations, and first responders.
  • Public Libraries
    • The state has recently partnered with public libraries to make at-home tests available to more Ohio communities. During the first two weeks, Ohio has partnering with 120 libraries.
  • K-12 Schools
    • A new partnership launched today will bring 200,000 at-home tests to Educational Service Centers. To increase confidence and safety in schools, Governor DeWine encourages school districts to take advantage of this resource and develop aggressive testing plans.

Between libraries and local health departments, at-home testing is accessible in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties. Some of these areas had disproportionate access to testing earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.


Gov. DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health issued a revised order that allows for the reopening of all fair activities if certain health conditions are met. The updated order includes compliance with the statewide mask order and social distancing. Additionally, there will be a 25 percent maximum for indoor grandstand capacity and a 30 percent maximum for outdoor grandstand capacity. 

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health will issue updated order and guidance regarding festivals, parades, proms, and spring sports. For spring sports, students will not be required to quarantine because they have an incidental exposure to COVID-19 in a classroom unless symptoms develop. 

These orders and guidance will be forthcoming from the Ohio Department of Health.


In total, there are 984,934 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 17,825 COVID-19 deaths. A total of 51,323 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,255 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.


More Ohioans eligible for vaccine (March 9)

In response to the significant increase in the amount of vaccine coming into Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday [March 8] announced that more people will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine including those ages 50 and older.

On Thursday, the state will kick off Phase 1D and Phase 2B of Ohio's vaccination plan, Gov. DeWine said.

Phase 1D includes approximately 197,000 eligible Ohioans with certain medical conditions not addressed in previous phases, including type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease. 

Phase 2B will open vaccinations based on age for Ohioans ages 50 and older. This group includes approximately 1.2 million eligible Ohioans.  

Gov.DeWine announced that Ohio's centralized scheduling website is now available at The website will serve as a singular location for Ohioans to confirm that they are eligible to be vaccinated, identify nearby providers, and schedule their vaccine appointments. 

"As we continue to receive more vaccines, having a centralized scheduling website will streamline the process, reduce data lags, and provide real-time information on vaccination progress across the state," Gov. DeWine said. 

The Ohio Department of Health will continue to work directly with vaccine providers to integrate their current systems into the statewide system. Providers will be expected to use this system or another electronic scheduling system that interfaces with this portal.

The centralized scheduling website will also be used for scheduling appointments at the mass vaccination clinics, including the FEMA site in Cleveland, that were announced last week. 

Outside partners, including the Area Agencies on Aging, will be available to help Ohioans who do not have access to the internet with appointment scheduling.  

As of Monday, Ohio reported 979,725 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 17,656 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 50,965 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,223 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting


DeWine: End in sight, but safety practices still needed (March 4)

In a statewide address to Ohioans on Thursday evening, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged residents to remain committed to following COVID-19 safety practices as Ohio cases trend downward. The governor outlined the measurement needed to lift all Ohio Department of Health orders. 

"This has been a very tough year for Ohioans, yet we did what Ohioans always do, we rallied together to protect the most vulnerable," Gov. DeWine said on March 4. "The end of our fight is now in view, but we must continue pressing forward. We can set realistic goals that we are within reach for lifting health orders."  

Gov. DeWine announced that when Ohio reaches 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be lifted. Cases per 100,000 people for a two-week period is a measurement that Gov. DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health have utilized since early in the pandemic. 

Gov. DeWine also detailed the success that Ohio has seen recently in the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio's stay-at-home order and curfew have been lifted, and restaurants, bars and gyms are open. In February, Ohio vaccinated more than 200,000 educators for students to return to in-person learning. As of Thursday, nearly 95 percent of Ohio's K-12 students have returned to school for in-person learning.


Curfew lifted, school employee vaccines in progress (Feb. 13)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine this week lifted the curfew started at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and reminded school district leaders that they committed to returning to in-person learning by March 1 after the state made COVID-19 vaccines available to school personnel.

“The priorities of our vaccination program have been to save lives and to get our students back in classrooms,” Gov. DeWine said. “We know quite simply there is not enough vaccine. But we have prioritized vaccinating teachers to get students back in school, because too many are suffering academically and emotionally.

“School districts should honor the voluntary commitment they made to their students, their teachers, and their communities and open their classrooms if they chose to make vaccinations available to their staffs,” Gov. DeWine said. “By prioritizing school personnel, fewer doses are available to our older or more vulnerable Ohioans.”

In December, 45 percent Ohio students were in fully remote schools. Today, that number is 5.1 percent, according to state statistics. The number of districts that are fully remote has moved from 219 in the first week of January to only 31 this past week.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s statewide curfew put in place in November was lifted late  Feb. 11as COVID-19 indicators continued to fall. He warned, though, the curfew could come back if numbers spike.

“We may in the future, we don’t know, have to put a curfew back on,” Gov. DeWine said. “It’s very important to continue to do what we’ve been doing. Let’s get the vaccine into our arms as quick as we can, but at the same time, we have to continue to wear a mask and continue to keep the distancing.”

DeWine imposed the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew Nov. 19. It originally was supported by the Ohio Restaurant Association. In July, he ordered bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. That order expired in November but 10 p.m. service stoppage continued under the curfew.

With last call now at either 1 a.m. or 2:30 a.m., bars and restaurants around the state used social media last Thursday night to announce longer hours.

Ohio’s nursing home COVID-19 cases fell by more than 77 percent since November, and Gov. DeWine pointed to the state’s vaccine effort for residents and staff as the key. During the week of Nov. 29, about 2,697 COVID-19 cases were in long-term care facilities. During the week of Jan. 17, there were 612.

The state’s hospitalization numbers as of Feb. 11 totaled 1,862, the 10th consecutive day with hospitalizations below 2,500.

Gov. DeWine said restaurants, bars, banquet and catering facilities and buffets can reopen with exceptions and guidelines.

Masks are required by everyone using a buffet, which must be at least 6 feet from customers and have one direction service lines. The guidelines call for areas to be cleaned regularly and monitored by staff.


Vaccine shortage slows Ohio inoculation process (Feb. 4)

Although Ohio is pushing forward with its COVID-19 inoculation program, a major shortage of vaccine doses is slowing the process, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said today.

“I can’t emphasize enough, we just don’t have enough vaccine,” Gov. DeWine said during his daily news conference.

About 7.6 percent of Ohio’s 12 million people have received the first dose of the two-part vaccine, he said. “I know there is frustration.

“We always felt we would expand,” he said.

As of Thursday, 1.7 percent of Ohioans received both doses needed to make the vaccine totally effective.

The good news is that drug companies are anticipating larger shipments to Ohio in the next few weeks. Gov DeWine said Pfizer notified Ohio that the company will likely increase vaccine shipments by 40 percent around mid-to-late February.

Shipments could increase substantially by the end of March. Pfizer currently is shipping approximately 73,000 doses to Ohio per week.

Moderna vaccine doses have increased from 73,200 two weeks ago to 105,600 doses that are expected next week, Gov. DeWine said. 

Ohio was one of the first states to draw unused doses from the long-term care program, and those 77,000 extra doses are being delivered this week to select CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, Gov. DeWine said.

Because of the uncertainty of the number of doses expected over the next months, Gov. DeWine said he will hold the current Phase 1B vaccine program at the 65 and older age group allowing more senior citizens to get inoculations.

Phase 1A started in December with healthcare workers and residents in nursing homes. Phase 1B began  Jan. 19 with people 80 years and older. The Phase 1B plan calls for rolling in age groups each week with 75 years and up on Jan. 25, 70 and up Feb. 1 and 65 and up Feb. 8.  

“It will take a while to go deep into that number,” Gov. DeWine said of the senior citizens’ group. As of Thursday, only about half of the 80-plus population had received the first dose of the vaccine even though that age group became eligible almost three weeks ago.

Gov. DeWine allowed school personnel to enter Phase 1B because of his goal to get children in classroom buildings by around March 1.  

 Ohio was one of the first states to draw unused doses from the long-term care program, and those 77,000 extra doses are being delivered this week to select CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, he said.

Ohio is among the top five states for delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses to long-term care facility residents. As a result of this aggressive effort to vaccinate those in long-term care, Ohio is beginning to see a drop in cases.

In total, there are 910,847 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 11,509 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 47,110 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,800 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting


Quade explains vaccines to correction officers, inmates (Jan. 24)

Geauga County Health Commissioner, Tom Quade, was asked why he made the decision to hold a vaccination clinic at the Geauga County Correctional facility for correction officers and inmates before one was held for residents 80 years old and older. Mr. Quade pointed out that officers were included in the first phase of the state's COVID-19 rollout.

A combination of 38 correction officers, the sheriff, and inmates were vaccinated on Jan. 13 as members of the group Mr. Quade said he understood to be eligible as a congregate setting. Prior to conducting that clinic, Geauga Public Health had been conducting clinics for other congregate settings, including people served by Ravenwood Health, Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, an assisted living facility that did not register to be part of the pharmacy program, the women’s shelter as well as EMS providers spread over multiple fire houses. Those clinics collectively served to vaccinate more than 350 people.

It was not until six days after the Geauga County Corrections clinic that the 80+ year old residents of the county became eligible under the state's plan to receive the vaccine. Had the vaccine not been used for the correctional facility, it still would not have been available to the older residents as they were not yet eligible, Mr. Quade explained.  Geauga Public Health scheduled three clinics within four days of their eligibility which will collectively vaccinate another 600 residents, many of whom are 80 years and older.

Mr. Quade said he considered the Geauga County corrections facility to be a congregate setting for several reasons. At the time it was planned, jails were not excluded in the written guidance from the state. The description of congregate settings included psychiatric hospitals and rehab residential treatment centers. According to Mr. Quade, psychiatric hospital patient populations, those in residential drug rehabilitation and incarcerated populations have much in common with regard to overall physical health and age distribution of the residents. What puts them at risk is their close living quarters, hesaid.

“There is no evidence-based public health science supported justification to provide vaccine to those who reside in a psychiatric hospital or drug rehab residence but deny it to those who are incarcerated. In fact, we only need to look back to April of 2020 at the state’s largest outbreak in a prison setting to see the stark evidence supporting their inclusion in a vaccination campaign," Mr. Quade said. “If I had the benefit of hindsight I would have done it sooner and maybe we could have prevented the current outbreak involving a dozen or so correction officers and inmates at Geauga County corrections.”

Mr. Quade said he understands the public’s general frustration and likens it to how a lifeguard can be drowned by the very person they are trying to save. “The public is desperate to get vaccinated and I am committed to make that happen as quickly as possible. It would be easier to do that without all the personal attacks but that venting will not deter me or my team from the task at hand.”


Call today for vaccine appointment in Geauga (Jan. 19)

Geauga Health Commissioner Thomas Quade this morning announced a transition to a system where residents who qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine under state guidelines call on their own to area providers for an appointment.

Those currently eligible for the vaccine include all people ages 80 and older, individuals living in group homes, staff members who provide routine direct care in group quarters, emergency medical service technicians and healthcare providers to patients with COVID-19.

If you are eligible, call one of the following providers for an appointment to get the vaccine:

Geauga Public Health clinics with various locations at 440-279-1940. Appointments will be scheduled starting at 9 a.m. today (Jan. 19) and will stop once all available appointments are full. 

Discount Drug Mart, 12575 Chillicothe Road., Chester. 440-729-2400.

Giant Eagle Pharmacy, 15400 West High St., Middlefield. 440-632-5587.

Giant Eagle Pharmacy, 351 Center St., Chardon. 440-286-8680.

Giant Eagle Pharmacy, 12692 Chillicothe Rd., Chester. 440-729-5457.

Giant Eagle Pharmacy, 8515 Tanglewood Square, Bainbridge. 440-708-1277.

In Cuyahoga County, residents have been directed to sign up through various websites including Univeristy Hospitals of Cleveland. The provider will then call individuals once they qualify for a vaccine and provide the phone number of a scheduler. The resident then calls the scheduler for an appointment.

The Cleveland Clinic is contacting eligible people through the MyChart system.


Registration for COVID-19 vaccine begins (Jan.  15)

Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Ohioans will be able to search by county and ZIP codes on the state website for the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a Thursday press conference.

Visit for the information.

During Phase 1B, 750 locations across Ohio will administer the vaccine on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with Individuals scheduling their own appointments, he added, to avoid people standing in long lines as seen in other states.  The second vaccine phase is set to begin on Jan. 18 for people 80 years old and up.

Gov. DeWine said providers will begin receiving the first allotment of vaccines on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Each provider will begin administering shots the day after receiving the shipments. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

The Inoculation program for Phase 1B will add those 75 and older on Jan. 25, residents 70 and older on Feb. 1, 65 and older on Feb. 8.

“When a new age range opens, that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine. “Vaccinating Ohioans in Phase 1B will take a number of weeks given the limited doses available.”

University Hospitals of Cleveland began accepting pre-registrations today on the system’s website. Residents will be called when they qualify for the inoculations according to the state’s timeline. Visit to pre-register. The current vaccination site is 3605 Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights. UH is looking to open other clinic sites. 

UH officials said when appointment times become available for a particular patient, UH will contact that patient via text or email and provide a phone number for the patient to call a scheduler. COVID-19 vaccines will only be given to people with appointments.

Other providers will be reaching out with their pre-registration sign-up links soon, state officials said.

UH officials said vaccine appointments for people in Phase 1B will be scheduled as soon as this coming Tuesday.

Gov. DeWine said older people are being taken first because they are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

In Geauga County, the health department is no longer using its online survey, according to Public Health Director Thomas Quade. Individuals who already used it will receive a call or email from the county when they are eligible to schedule an appointment, he said.

Starting next week there will be additional providers of vaccine available to the public in Geauga County all by appointment. Those providers are: Discount Drug Mart in Chester; Giant Eagle Pharmacies in Middlefield, Chardon, Chester and Bainbridge and Genoa Healthcare in Chardon.Registration for COVID-19 vaccine begins

Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Ohioans will be able to search by county and ZIP codes on the state website for the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a Thursday press conference.

Visit for the information.

During Phase 1B, 750 locations across Ohio will administer the vaccine on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with Individuals scheduling their own appointments, he added, to avoid people standing in long lines as seen in other states.  The second vaccine phase is set to begin on Jan. 18 for people 80 years old and up.

Gov. DeWine said providers will begin receiving the first allotment of vaccines on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Each provider will begin administering shots the day after receiving the shipments. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

The Inoculation program for Phase 1B will add those 75 and older on Jan. 25, residents 70 and older on Feb. 1, 65 and older on Feb. 8.

“When a new age range opens, that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine. “Vaccinating Ohioans in Phase 1B will take a number of weeks given the limited doses available.”

University Hospitals of Cleveland began accepting pre-registrations today on the system’s website. Residents will be called when they qualify for the inoculations according to the state’s timeline. Visit to pre-register. The current vaccination site is 3605 Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights. UH is looking to open other clinic sites. 

UH officials said when appointment times become available for a particular patient, UH will contact that patient via text or email and provide a phone number for the patient to call a scheduler. COVID-19 vaccines will only be given to people with appointments.

Other providers will be reaching out with their pre-registration sign-up links soon, state officials said.

UH officials said vaccine appointments for people in Phase 1B will be scheduled as soon as this coming Tuesday.

Gov. DeWine said older people are being taken first because they are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

In Geauga County, the health department is no longer using its online survey, according to Public Health Director Thomas Quade. Individuals who already used it will receive a call or email from the county when they are eligible to schedule an appointment, he said.

Starting next week there will be additional providers of vaccine available to the public in Geauga County all by appointment. Those providers are: Discount Drug Mart in Chester; Giant Eagle Pharmacies in Middlefield, Chardon, Chester and Bainbridge and Genoa Healthcare in Chardon.


DeWine shares goals of next vaccine phase (Dec. 23)

Gov. Mike  DeWine on Wednesday announced the goals of Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution are to save lives and for schools to be fully open by March 1st.

“Ohioans in the 65 and older category make up just under 87% of COVID deaths. This is a stunning number, and it’s critical that we protect our older Ohioans,” said Gov. DeWine.

In the next phase, vaccines will be available to those who choose to receive them who are 65 years or older or those living with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additionally, adults working in Ohio's schools will have the option to receive the vaccine. This is intended to assist schools in returning to in-person learning. 

Additional details about the next phase are forthcoming.

The following Phase 1A members are currently receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  This phase includes health care workers and personnel, nursing homes residents and staff, assisted living facilities residents and staff, psychiatric hospital patients and staff, people with developmental disabilities and those with mental illness who live in group homes or centers and staff at those locations, Ohio veterans homes residents and staff, and EMS responders.


The local health departments and hospitals will assist with managing mass vaccination clinics as more vaccines are shipped to Ohio.

"Ohio's public health departments and hospitals are experts at managing mass vaccination clinics, and I am thankful we can turn to them to begin vaccinating Ohioans against COVID-19," said Governor DeWine. 

Christina Conover, director of nursing for the Clark County Combined Health District, joined today's public briefing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and encouraged other first responders and health care workers to do the same. 

Dr. Kevin Miller, emergency department physician, chief of Sugarcreek Fire Department and Tuscarawas County EMS director, and Dr. Jeffrey Cameron, Tuscarawas County coroner and emergency room doctor, both received their COVID-19 vaccine at the public briefing. Both doctors discussed their experiences in the emergency room throughout the pandemic and why they chose to receive the vaccine.

Additionally, advanced EMTs and paramedics will assist in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Carol Cunningham, an emergency room physician and Ohio’s State Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services, received a COVID-19 vaccine administered by Dan Samf, a paramedic with the Kirtland Fire Department.

Also Charles Shepherd, a therapeutic program worker at Twin Valley Psychiatric Hospital, joined today’s public briefing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and discussed the impact the vaccine will have at state psychiatric hospitals. .

“At the beginning of August, we were at about 12% statewide, or 1 in 8 patients in the ICU was a COVID patient,” said Gov. DeWine. “Now, we’re at 31% or about 1 in 3 patients in the ICU are a COVID patient.”

Both maps will be updated weekly on Thursdays at


Lt. Gov. Jon Husted today announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is distributing another 23 million Ohio-made masks to help support the state’s workforce.  Shipments began in November and are expected to continue through June 2021. In October, the BWC contracted with Buckeye Mask Company, in Cleveland, for 10 million masks, and with Career Development and Placement Strategies, also in Cleveland, for 13 million masks.

Today’s announcement marks the second round of mask distribution launched by the BWC, which sent out nearly 23 million masks over the summer and fall to assist in weakening the spread of COVID-19.


With Christmas days away, Lt. Gov. Husted reminded Ohioans to consider “shopping local” this holiday season to help Ohio retailers and small businesses. In addition, to support local restaurants, many Ohio food establishments offer delivery and take-out options.

For ideas on how to support local, visit


First Lady Fran DeWine encouraged Ohioans to consider donating to The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which serves all 88 counties.

More information about how to donate can be found at


Since reopening child care at the end of May, Ohio has participated in two significant research studies on the spread of COVID in child care settings. The results of both studies found that child care did not lead to an increased risk for contracting COVID.

In October, Yale University released their findings from a survey of nearly 100,000 child care educators across the nation, including more than 5,000 in Ohio. This study found the work of child care providers to sanitize, wash hands, stay masked, and social distance greatly impacted the safety of children in their care.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation also commissioned a study of Ohio child care facilities through Case Western Reserve University. The results of this study will be released soon, confirming the findings of the Yale study.

Through parent and child care worker surveys and interviews; symptom tracking of workers, children, and parents; and hundreds of COVID tests of child care workers and families from August to November, researchers from Case Western found no link between child care and an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. In fact, just 2 asymptomatic positives were found among the nearly 400 COVID tests, which is a positivity rate of just 0.5 percent.

"I want to thank all of our child care workers for their efforts over the past nine months, said Governor DeWine. "You all have truly risen to the occasion to protect the children and families you serve, and just as importantly, yourselves."


In total, there are 644,822 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 8,361 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 36,025 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,640 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting


Geauga to get vaccine shipment before Christmas (Dec. 18)

Geauga County Health Commissioner Tom Quade said he was informed that Geauga County Public Health will receive its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine to prevent COVID-19 as soon as next week.

Pending FDA approval, Geauga Public Health is scheduled to receive its first 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine prior to Christmas, Mr. Quade said. Geauga Public Health will be following CDC and ODH guidance regarding the prioritization of who is eligible to receive the vaccine. Vaccination is voluntary and the health department encourages everyone to speak with their own health care professional provider for guidance based on their individual circumstances, he said in a press release.

People who have had a prior COVID-19 diagnosis are still eligible and encouraged to receive the vaccine as it is not yet known how long naturally acquired immunity lasts. Those with a current diagnosis must wait until their case has resolved.

 The county as a whole will receive many more doses than the 200 doses Geauga Public Health is expecting as vaccine will be distributed by more than just the health department. The UH Geauga Medical Center is responsible for vaccinating the healthcare providers and those needed to assure healthcare delivery within their system. Several private pharmacy chains will be responsible for providing vaccine coverage for the staff and residents of our long term care facilities in the county. The Ohio Department of Health has informed Geauga Public Health that all of the long-term care facilities in Geauga County have registered for that program.

 Geauga Public Health will be responsible for the rest. Consistent with Ohio Department of Health guidance, the first round, or Phase 1A, of vaccinations will be for EMS and people who are residing in congregant settings and those who provide care in those settings, other than in our long term care facilities. These include but are not limited to people served in those settings and their service providers who operate under the umbrellas of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the State of Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, the State of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

During Phase 1A, Geauga Public Health will also be focusing on healthcare providers with the greatest occupational risk for exposure to or transmission of SARS-CoV-2 who are not affiliated with the hospital system, including but not limited to home health and hospice workers, primary care practitioners, dental providers, and urgent care providers not part of the hospital’s vaccination plan.

 When Geauga Public Health begins to conduct larger mass vaccination clinics for the general public, it will involve virtually 100% of the staff which will require that staff are pulled from their routine duties. Quade expects there to be unavoidable delays to routine programing, including inspections. “Local public health departments are not staffed or funded to maintain the surplus capacity to engage in these types of efforts at these levels. We are entering the second year of this 100-year event. While we hope to minimize delays, the public should expect those delays as they will unavoidable.” Quade asks that everyone is patient as the distribution will depend on the amount of vaccine we get, the number of staff we can pull from other duties for this novel massive campaign, and the ability to coordinate with those who are eligible to receive it. “We have plans but the devil is in the details and execution of those plans depends on so many variables outside of our control.”

 Once Geauga Public Health works its way through the first phases, we will begin to offer mass vaccination clinics more broadly to the public, with early prioritization on those 65+ and/or with underlying conditions that place them at greater risk. Quade also points out that he will also do his best to assure his team is supporting the underlying foci of keeping children in school by vaccinating staff and keeping businesses open by not losing site of the risk faced by the front line workforce.

According to Geauga County Health Commissioner Quade, this will be the largest vaccination campaign that the current national public health workforce has experienced and will stretch existing public health capacity after a long year of being stretched to its limits. “The degree of success and impact of the vaccination campaign will be in large part dependent upon the public’s behavior. Receiving a vaccination is not a license to return to life as normal prior to 2020. This is a starting point. It is one very important step in what is still a longer journey.”

COVID-19 vaccine arriving in Ohio (Dec. 16)

Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week that the first COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Ohio. Shipments of 975 doses were delivered this morning to both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and UC Health in Cincinnati. Several healthcare workers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients immediately received vaccinations. 

"It was such a moment of hope to watch the healthcare workers begin to get vaccinated today," said Governor DeWine. "Today is the first day of a process that will continue over the months ahead as Ohioans who choose to be vaccinated have their opportunity to receive the vaccine. However, until the vaccine is widely available for all Ohioans who choose to receive it, we must continue to use all available tools to prevent the spread of the virus, like wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and washing your hands."

Vaccine shipments will be delivered to eight additional hospitals in Ohio tomorrow:

  • Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
  • Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
  • Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
  • Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center, Clark County
  • OhioHealth Riverside Hospital, Franklin County
  • Aultman Hospital, Stark County
  • OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Athens County
  • Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

All 10 hospitals were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity. 

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to come to Ohio, Cardinal Health’s OptiFreight Logistics business will help provide same-day delivery services. Once the vaccine is widely available, this partnership will allow Ohio to ship the vaccine to approximately 350 locations across the state.  


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has invited Ohio to participate in an early scaled launch of vaccinations in nursing homes. Ohio will begin providing vaccinations in five to ten nursing homes starting this Friday, December 18. 

Ohio had previously been scheduled to start its nursing home vaccination program in partnership with pharmacy providers on Monday, December 21.


Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard in the coming days at The dashboard will list the number of people vaccinated in Ohio and will be sortable by demographic and by county.


In total, there are 570,602 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,551 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 32,264 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,209 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting

Ohio readies for first phase of vaccine (Dec. 5)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced details for Ohio's first phase of vaccine distribution that is expected to begin on or around Dec. 15. During Phase 1, vaccine supply will be limited, and Ohio will focus on vaccinating those who wish to be vaccinated in the critical Phase 1A groups.

The federal government has advised that the Ohio Department of Health will not know the exact number of vaccines that will be shipped to Ohio until closer to each shipment date. The current shipment figures, which are subject to change, are as follows: On or around Dec. 15, a shipment from Pfizer will include 9,750 vaccines for Ohio's prepositioned hospital sites. An additional 88,725 vaccines will go to Walgreens and CVS for congregate care settings.

On or around Dec. 22, a shipment of 201,000 vaccines is expected from Moderna. These vaccines will go to 98 hospitals for vaccination of those who are exposed to COVID patients and to 108 health departments to vaccinate other frontline workers such as those working in emergency medical services.

On or around Dec. 22, another shipment is also expected from Pfizer. The tentative number of vaccines in this shipment is 123,000. These vaccines will go to Walgreens and CVS for vaccination of those in congregate care settings.

A few days later, Ohio expects another 148,000 vaccines from Pfizer and 89,000 vaccines from Moderna.

These vaccines will be the first dose for those in the identified critical groups. A second dose will be delivered and administered in the future. It has not been determined when members of the general public will have the option to receive vaccines. As information becomes available about the next phases of vaccine distribution, it will be made public.QUARANTINE GUIDANCE Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff discussed new quarantine guidance recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for those who may have been exposed to coronavirus but are not showing symptoms.

The Ohio Department of Health, however, continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine for many citizens in Ohio. "Staying home for 14 days after contact is still the safest way to limit possible spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Vanderhoff.

"We continue to recommend this time period for people in congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes; in workplaces with a large number of employees; and in other settings in which COVID-19 could spread extensively. We also recommend 14 days if you are in contact with people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19." For others with no symptoms, the 10-day period may be sufficient, however, Dr. Vanderhoff recommends that Ohioans consider getting tested on day eight or later to increase certainty of no infection. Quarantine can then end at the conclusion of the 10-day period.

Quarantine can be reduced further to seven days, Dr. Vanderhoff said, if an individual has no symptoms and receives a negative test on day five or later."

In every case — whether quarantining for 14 days, or 10, or seven — maintain social distance of at least 6 feet and wear a mask when around others," he said. "You should also keep an eye out for any symptoms for the full 14-day period. If you become sick or test positive for COVID-19, stay home and self-isolate in a separate room from others."

As of late this week, there are 456,963 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,882 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 28,673 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,847 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting


Ohio COVID-19 cases rising at alarming rate (Dec. 3)

In the past 24 hours, Ohio reported 8,921 new coronavirus cases, the fifth-highest case count reported in one day since the start of the pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday. Nearly 400 more hospitalizations were reported, and an additional 82 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio.

COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high with 5,142 patients currently hospitalized. Of those, 1,204 patients are in intensive care. 

Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, warned that Ohio is not yet seeing the impact of gatherings that took place over Thanksgiving because hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. Symptoms generally develop within 10 days of transmission, and hospitalizations typically occur a week after diagnosis.

"This is not the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning," said Dr. Thomas. "Hospitals are in a very difficult spot here, and we're just now heading into the most challenging three months of the pandemic. ICU beds are an area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state, especially in rural areas."

"We are in crisis. Hospitals across Ohio are running out of beds, healthcare workers are burned out and stretched thin, and our hospitals are stressed to the extreme," said Dr. Nora Colburn, associate medical director for clinical epidemiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Hospitals around the state are delaying non-emergency procedures which will impact routine healthcare. The bottom line is that non-COVID patients are being crowded out of the system and won't be able to get the care they need to stay healthy. We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus."


New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Lake, Lorain, Medina, Montgomery, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit counties. Cuyahoga, Fairfield, and Madison counties were moved to the Watch List.

Franklin County dropped from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3, however, Dr. Thomas urged county residents to remain vigilant. 

"This does not mean that Franklin County is out of the woods," said Dr. Thomas. "We still have a rate of cases that is six-times higher than the definition of high incidence. That is not good. We are not on our way down yet." 

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.


According to this week's ODH travel advisory, this is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15 percent.

The travel advisory encourages all Ohioans to help to limit the spread and impact of this virus by staying home except for necessary trips for supplies. The advisory also urges Ohioans to consistently wear masks when around others and frequently wash their hands.

ODH requests that anyone who must travel to any other state with a positivity rate of 15 percent or more self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. ODH also asks any non-Ohioans entering the state from one of these areas to do the same.


Gov. DeWine announced that Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard is now available online at

The new dashboard includes information on the number of retailers visited by agents, how many customers and employees were properly wearing masks, how many establishments had proper signage, and the number of warnings issued. The dashboard will be updated each Thursday.

The Retail Compliance Unit was created within the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to help keep businesses open and safe for customers and employees. 


On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that some individuals with disabilities may not be able to wear a mask.

"While it’s crucial that those of us who can wear face masks do wear face masks, we should all remember that when we see someone in public without a mask it may be someone with a disability who may not be able to wear one," said Governor DeWine. 


In total, there are 446,849 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 6,753 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 28,281 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,814 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting


Gov. DeWine reviews vaccine distribution plan (Dec. 1)

Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday toured the Ohio Department of Health's Receipt, Store and Stage warehouse (known as RSS) in Central Ohio. His goal was to see the facility and review the process to be used when Ohio receives doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Drug companies are asking the FDA for emergency approval to distribute the vaccine to protect Americans from the contagious and fatal disease.

The Ohio Department of Health’s Vaccine Preparedness Office has been diligently preparing for the arrival of the vaccine for months, distributing adult influenza vaccine with the same process that will be used to distribute the COVID-19 as a test exercise, and running daily drills with prototype packaging to break down and repackage the vaccine in smaller units.

On Nov. 30, the Ohio Department of Health took part in a nationwide end-to-end training exercise with the packaging that will be used to distribute the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be the first manufacturer to receive the Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine will be shipped to Ohio using the following process:

  • The Pfizer vaccine will be shipped directly to Ohio’s 10 prepositioned hospital sites. As vaccine supply increases, additional providers will receive direct shipments if ordering 975 doses or more of the vaccine.
  • Providers requiring fewer than 975 doses, such as smaller local health departments and physician’s offices, will not receive a direct shipment from Pfizer. In these cases, Pfizer will ship the vaccine to the ODH RSS warehouse, where the vaccine will be redistributed in increments of 100. The warehouse is equipped with ultracold freezers that can each hold up to 720,000 doses to be stored in the RSS at any one time.
    • When vaccinations are ready to be shipped from the RSS warehouse, the must be removed from ultracold storage and repackaged with dry ice in under two minutes. To ensure the vaccine can be repackaged safely, quickly, and effectively, ODH staff and members of the Ohio National Guard are running daily practice drills that include the following steps:
      • Each box is transported to a table where the vials are counted.
      • The box is closed and handed off to another team member who will place the vaccine box in a larger cold shipping container lined with bubble wrap..
      • Once the correct number of doses are placed in the larger cold shipping container, dry ice is added to the package, along with a sheet of cardboard. The lid is replaced and the package proceeds to the next step.
      • The package is sealed, a shipping label is applied, and the package is moved out for delivery.
      • All packages will be delivered to the providers within six hours. The vaccine will remain stable if sealed in the original shipping container from the RSS warehouse with dry ice for up to 5 days.
  • Vaccine National Drug Control and lot number information will all be tracked electronically, and parcels will be tracked as they are delivered. Each delivery vehicle will contain a GPS enabled device.

Upon granting of an emergency use authorization, it is anticipated that the Moderna vaccine will be shipped directly to providers administering the vaccine and will not be processed by ODH at the RSS warehouse.

Cases continue to surge in Ohio (Nov. 29)

Gov. Mike DeWine was joined by leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association early last week to discuss the status of hospital capacity and healthcare personnel needs in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the state.

Between Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, Ohio reported 282 new hospitalizations. Additionally, Ohio reported 11,885 COVID-19 cases in that period. Due to an electronic lab reporting technology issue, information from multiple labs was not processed for two proceeding days and was consequently included in Monday's report.

“[Last week], Ohio hospitals had more than 3,800 COVID-19 patients, which was the highest patient count we had seen so far. Today, we are reporting 4,358 COVID-19 hospitalized patients,” said Gov. DeWine. “The virus is quickly spreading throughout our entire state and is dramatically impacting all of our healthcare zones and their ability to care for patients.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Gov. DeWine worked with the Ohio Hospital Association to develop a comprehensive statewide public health system to ensure that all Ohioans have access to quality care during the pandemic. As part of this process, the state was divided into three healthcare zones. Leaders of each zone provided an update on hospital capacity in their regions.


Zone 1 has seen a consistent climb in COVID-19 hospitalizations in recent weeks. Additionally, Zone 1 is experiencing a sharp increase in caregivers becoming ill with COVID-19.

“My biggest concern today is that within the Cleveland Clinic system, alone, we had 970 caregivers out due to coronavirus,” said Robert Wyllie, MD of the Cleveland Clinic. “These caregivers are not catching this in the hospital, but rather in the community. As the community spread increases, so does the number of caregivers who are in quarantine from exposure or who are sick with coronavirus.”


Two weeks ago, Zone 2 hit a milestone of 560 COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the region.

“On Nov. 2, Zone 2 had 400 patients in our hospitals. And not even three weeks later, on Nov. 21, we surpassed over 900 patients,” said Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Until we see cases peak and start to come down in a sustained way, Ohio will continue to see hospitalizations rise.”


Additionally, Zone 3 has seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations throughout the region.

“In late September, Zone 3 had 90 hospitalizations. This was at a time when we were opening businesses, and kids were going back to school,” said Richard Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP, and president and CEO of UC Health. “This really speaks to us because we know how to keep this virus at bay. But, unfortunately this virus is now everywhere.”

The increase in hospitalizations throughout the region has taken a toll on caregivers, as well. Several hospitals in Zone 3 have reported a nursing shortage.


Ronda Lehman, PharmD, MBA, FACHE and president of Mercy Health, also discussed the hospital capacity among many rural communities.

“The number of coronavirus patients who require hospitalizations are happening at a faster rate than we are discharging them," said Lehman. "The ability to discharge patients safely with adequate care, such as providing oxygen or skilled nursing home placement, is also burdened like our hospital systems.”

On Nov. 24, new data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health showed that 98 more deaths were reported between Monday and Tuesday, which at the time was the second-highest number of deaths reported in a single day in Ohio since the start of the pandemic.

A total of 364 new hospitalizations were also reported throughout the state in that period, and 8,604* additional positive COVID-19 cases were recorded.

Total hospitalizations are continuing to trend upwards, with 4,449 patients currently hospitalized as of Tuesday. Of these, 1,046 patients are in intensive care units.

The current surge in cases is believed to be linked to people gathering on and around Halloween.

"This holiday season, let’s show each other how much we care by making the necessary sacrifices to ensure we will all be healthy to celebrate next Thanksgiving," said Governor DeWine. "Approximately one in four of all hospitalized patients in Ohio is infected with COVID-19, and this continues to put tremendous stress on Ohio hospitals in every corner of the state."

"The big fear is if we don't take the message of masking, distancing, and avoiding big groups seriously, Thanksgiving could result in our hospitals being overwhelmed," said Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. "It's very serious. It's a matter of personal responsibility, and we owe it to each other."

*Total case numbers for Ohio are currently incomplete. Thousands of reports are pending review.


Lt. Governor Husted announced that less than half of the eligible permit holders have submitted an application for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund as of Tuesday.

Roughly 30 different permit types, including bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries, casinos, and private clubs may be eligible. Ohioans can find a list of eligible permits, along with the application, at


At the urging of Governor DeWine, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) board voted unanimously to approve issuing $5 billion in dividends to Ohio’s employers in mid-December to ease the financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This is nearly four times the dividend BWC issued in October, bringing total dividends this year to nearly $8 billion. Employers should expect to see their checks in the mail in mid-December.


In September, a new initiative was announced in collaboration with JobsOhio called “Ohio to Work,” to help Ohioans who are looking for a job during the pandemic.

The initiative pulls together employers, nonprofits, educators, and training providers to help Ohioans reskill and restart their careers.

Lt. Governor Husted said on Tuesday that the program is currently being piloted in the Greater Cleveland area, and October’s first Virtual Career Fair had more than 30 employers with over 1,000 open jobs. More than 700 job seekers attended. The next Virtual Career Fair is Thursday, December 10. To register, visit

Gov. DeWine's updates, changes at a glance (Nov. 14)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine underlined health orders as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, put retail shops in charge of ensuring customers wear masks in stores, launched new ZIP code dash boards for COVID-19 and flu cases and established grants for all county health departments in Ohio. 

As of Nov. 13, there were 282,528 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 5,700 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 21,856 people have been hospitalized, including 4,164 admissions to intensive care units, according to state statistics.

Here is a look at the day-by-day updates starting with Monday, Nov. 9.

On Monday, Gov. DeWine was joined by incoming Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association to discuss the status of hospital capacity in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge throughout the state.

As of Nov. 9, there were over 2,500 hospitalizations statewide, up from 2,000 hospitalizations last Thursday. A total of 154 hospitalizations were reported between Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.

"In Ohio, we are seeing an unprecedented spike in hospital utilization and it is impacting all areas of the state. While we are better prepared with personal protective equipment and physical capacity, what we are seeing now is an increasing demand on our staffing," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "If we don't control the spread of this virus, we won't be able to care for those who are acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent, care. We anticipate that this kind of shift could happen in a matter of weeks if trends don't change."

“The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more dire for Ohio as hospitalizations have escalated 350 percent in the past 50 days to 2,533 COVID patients in Ohio hospitals today,” said Mike Abrams, president and CEO, Ohio Hospital Association. “Our hospitals are capable of managing capacity needs, but we must stem the spread now. This steep climb creates a severe strain on our caregivers who are braving the frontline of this pandemic. We can stop this spread, and we call on Ohioans to join hospitals and caregivers to take action now and do the right thing to slow the spread.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio Hospital Association to develop a comprehensive statewide public health system to ensure that all Ohioans have access to quality care during the pandemic. As part of this process, the state was divided into three healthcare zones. Leaders of each zone provided an update on hospital capacity in their regions. 


Of all hospitalizations in the state, more than 50 percent are in Zone 1, but there are currently enough hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), medication, and ventilators. Total beds utilized and intensive care beds utilized in Zone 1 stands at 70 to 75 percent as of Monday. This zone, however, is seeing many caregivers becoming ill with COVID-19. At the Cleveland Clinic alone, there are currently 300 caregivers out due to the coronavirus.

"It's not because they're catching COVID in the hospital. What we're seeing is they're catching it in the community," said Robert Wyllie, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. "What we're asking everyone to do is double down. Now is the time to wear a mask and socially distance - if not to protect your family and friends, do it to protect the caregivers who protect COVID patients and other hospitalized patients."


Last Monday, Zone 2 hit a milestone of 400 patients in the hospital, and by Friday, the number surpassed 500 patients. As of Monday, there are over 560 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Zone 2.

Because patients are normally admitted 7 to 14 days after symptoms arise, hospitals are expecting to see hospitalizations continue to increase for at least two weeks after COVID-19 cases peak which could impact non-COVID care.

"We need the citizens of Ohio do to the same things they did in the spring and summer - take seriously masking, distancing, washing hands, and especially avoiding large gatherings of people you don't live with where you can't control your environment and you can't protect yourself or loved ones from someone in that crowd who is asymptomatic positive," said Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.


Zone 3 has had an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the beginning of October. There were over 670 patients hospitalized on Monday, as compared to 300 patients at the peak of the previous surge in July. In the greater-Cincinnati area, the positivity rate had been approximately 3 percent but is now standing at approximately 8 percent.

In Zone 3, the growth of hospitalizations is doubling every three weeks. Right now, Zone 3 can accommodate the current capacity of patients, but if the doubling of cases continues to accelerate, this zone could exhaust resources and may have to defer non-COVID care.

"If we do what we did in the past - adhering to social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands, and not expanding your personal bubble, we can bring the spread of this virus under control," said Richard Lofgren, MD, MPH, FACP, and president and CEO of UC Health.


Ronda Lehman, president of Mercy Health, Lima region, also discussed the hospital capacity in their hospital system, which encompasses many rural communities. There is currently adequate capacity of PPE, ventilators, and hospital beds, however, hospitalizations are increasing. On October 5, the hospital system had 17 COVID-19 patients, and on Monday they were treating 75 patients who are COVID-19 positive.

"This is a stark challenge for us because this is in addition to the normal fall flu and critical illness admissions, and it's not sustainable," said Lehman. "This is not a metro problem, this is a statewide and countrywide problem. Those in small communities should recognize that their behaviors do have a substantial impact to their neighbors, their local hospitals, the people they worship with, the people they go to school with, and the people they care about in their circles."

On Wednesday, Governor DeWine called on citizens to recommit to their individual efforts to prevent coronavirus spread as Ohio moves through its most intense, widespread, and dangerous surge of cases to date.

Ohio is currently facing a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions, with nearly 3,000 people in the hospital, including more than 700 people in the ICU as of Wednesday. During the first week of November alone, 104 Ohioans infected with the coronavirus died.

“With this new wave of COVID-19, the onset of flu season, and an already-exhausted group of healthcare workers, there are serious concerns that there won’t be enough people to fully staff our healthcare facilities in the next few weeks,” said Governor DeWine. “If we don’t change this, Ohio won’t be able to provide appropriate care for COVID patients or for Ohioans who require other emergency care for things like accidents, strokes, and heart attacks. Hospitals will again be forced to postpone important, but less urgent, care.”

Although testing capacity in Ohio has nearly doubled, the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has increased almost four times. At the end of September, Ohio averaged under 1,000 new cases per day; on Tuesday, Ohio hit a record high of more than 6,500 new cases reported in a single 24-hour period.

“As we wait for the vaccine, which could come as soon as December, we have so much to protect,” said Governor DeWine. “What each Ohioan does in his or her own life impacts every citizen and every place we desperately want and need to keep open– our schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and businesses.”

To reinforce the necessity of wearing masks and slowing virus spread, Governor DeWine announced two forthcoming orders:


Although most people and businesses have properly followed COVID-19 safety guidelines issued in Ohio’s July 23, 2020, mask order, others are not following the order.

To protect frontline workers and customers, the Ohio Department of Health will reissue Ohio’s mask order and add the following provisions:

  • Each store will be required to post a sign outlining face-covering requirements at all public entrances to the store;
  • Each store will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks; and
  • A new Retail Compliance Unit, comprised of agents led by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, will inspect to ensure compliance. A first violation will result in a written warning and a second violation will result in closure of the store for up to 24 hours.


Ohio’s April order that limits public events and private gatherings of more than 10 people is still in effect, however, there has been rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals.

To address the tragedies that have resulted from such events, the Ohio Department of Health will issue an order that will place significant new restrictions on these social activities. Specifically, open congregate areas will no longer be permitted to open, and everyone will be required to be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks.

Bars, restaurants, and fitness centers may remain open, but this will be reassessed one week from tomorrow for potential closure.

“If the current trend continues and cases keep increasing, we will be forced to make these closures,” said Governor DeWine. “I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and owners, but these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus.”

On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced that new health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that all 88 counties in Ohio remain at "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to today's updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, 68 counties are currently rated as having a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 56 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July.

Both Franklin and Tuscarawas counties met six of seven advisory-system indicators and are approaching Purple Level 4.

Ohio also had another record-breaking day for new cases reported in a 24-hour period, with 7,101 cases reported between Wednesday and Thursday. A total of 268 new hospitalizations were reported, as well as 35 more deaths.

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.


Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new zip code dashboard. Ohioans can now view data from their local communities and filter data by probable or confirmed case status, county, a specific zip code, or a specific time period.

Case counts will also be available on a downloadable, filterable chart sorted from the most cases to the least. To protect confidentiality, case counts for zip codes with fewer than five cases or less than 100 total residents will not be displayed.

The new zip code dashboard can be found at


Governor DeWine also announced a new flu dashboard that expands the statewide data that the Ohio Department of Health shares on seasonal flu activity each year.

The new dashboard shows flu trends over time with charts that indicate whether flu hospitalizations or cases of flu-like illness are on the rise or decline as compared to the previous week and compared to the five-year average data.

Hospitalization data is broken down by region, county, date, sex, age, race, and ethnicity. The data shows only positive flu PCR tests reported by public health laboratories and selected clinical laboratories that participate in the national flu monitoring system.

Additional data will be added moving forward, and the dashboard will be updated every Friday at 9 a.m.

The new flu dashboard can be found at


Governor DeWine announced that the state is setting aside $30 million to assist the state’s 113 local health departments. Each department will receive $200,000 and will have the flexibility to determine how to best use the funds as they see fit to fight COVID-19.

The remaining money will be used to hire contact tracers to support local health departments. Contact tracers will deploy where they are needed across the state to assist in identifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and prevent further spread.


Lt. Governor Jon Husted reminded Ohio small businesses that the application period for the Small Business Relief Grant and Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is now open.

The Small Business Relief Grant provides a $10,000 grant to small businesses with at least one but no more than 25 employees. The grant funding will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including mortgage or rent payments; utility payments; salaries, wages, or compensation for employees and contractors; business supplies or equipment; and other costs. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure the grants are spread throughout the state, $500,000 will be set aside for businesses in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. When a county’s allocation is depleted, businesses in that county will be eligible to receive grants from the remaining funds in the overall grant program.

The Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund provides $2,500 for those permit holders who haven’t been able to fully use their liquor permit. Businesses with an on-premise consumption permit through the Ohio Department of Commerce will be eligible to receive $2,500 per unique business location. Businesses need to have an active on-premise permit as of close of business on October 23, 2020.

More information can be found at

On Friday, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed the health order to enforce mask-wearing in retail locations across the state in compliance with the statewide mandatory mask order signed on July 23, 2020.

“Every retail employee has the right to work in an environment that is as safe as can be, which means all customers must wear masks. Further, each Ohioan who goes out to shop has the right to know that every store they enter will be safe and the people they encounter in that store will be wearing a mask,” said Governor DeWine. “We know that masks work. They are the easiest, most cost-effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The order goes into effect on Nov. 16.

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Ohio breaks record with COVID-19 case increases (Nov. 19)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced late last week that Ohio is once again breaking records in regard to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

  • There are currently 2,075 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 which is a 55-percent increase in hospitalized patients compared to two weeks ago.
  • Of the hospitalized patients, 541 people are in intensive care. The previous record for intensive care admissions was 533 in April.

"This virus is flaring up, and we have to push it down - the economy depends on it," said Gov. DeWine. "If the virus continues to aggressively spread, people will lose confidence in their ability to safely go to stores, restaurants, and other businesses. If we want to keep our economy moving, we must all live with this virus and we must all be more careful."

Gov. DeWine stressed that the new record number of cases is not due to increased testing capacity in the state. Since Sept. 24, the total number of tests in Ohio has increased by approximately 44 percent, but positive cases have increased 280 percent in the same time period. If a person is tested multiple times, they are only counted once.


New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health revealed that all 88 counties in Ohio are now considered "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"There have been so many cases in the past two weeks that the risk of catching this virus in every county of this state is very real and very concerning," said Gov. DeWine. "Again, I ask everyone to recognize their personal responsibility in slowing the spread of this deadly disease. It's up to every citizen in Ohio to choose to slow the spread by wearing masks, distancing, and making overall smart decisions."

According to the updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, 56 counties are currently rated as having a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 43 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. As of late last week, 86 percent of Ohioans are living in a Red Level 3 county. 

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.

Geauga hits red zone as COVID-19 cases rise countywide (Oct. 22)

Although the increased number of COVID-19 cases has pushed Geauga into the red zone, Public Health Commissioner, Tom Quade, said Thursday that this does not automatically mean changes are needed within the schools. Mr. Quade added that  the community as a whole should step up prevention efforts.

Mr. Quade said that the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and the sustained number of cases pushed the county from orange to red, the second-highest ranking on the state’s four-level alert system.      

This is a reminder that the community as a whole is seeing increased transmission rates, he cautioned.

Mr. Quade said in a written statement that the data indicating more cases are likely tied to more social interactions around Geauga and not the return of students to classrooms.

“The schools have very good plans and they are being executed diligently,” he said. The school plans were designed for the yellow and orange risk levels at a minimum. The red level should and has triggered further communication with the superintendents and principals but it does not automatically trigger a need to go remote, he said.

“Some schools or districts may choose to go remote based on their specific experience with cases and resources,” he said. “We have very good working relationships and excellent communication so those kinds of decisions are made jointly.”

While data do not currently show an increase in cases from in-school learning, Mr. Quade said he asked school leaders to consider whether to continue extracurricular activities which might present greater risks of transmission than others.

“This increased risk alert level is another reminder that while we are all experiencing COVID-fatigue and missing personal interaction with friends and extended family, the community at large needs to be more diligent in our mask wearing and social distancing,” Mr. Quade said.

Not everyone can simply walk away from those who choose not to follow the public health guidance, he said. “We have workers who we described as essential and heroes back in the early months of the pandemic who do not have the freedom to simply walk away from those who are choosing to engage in behaviors that threaten their health.” Quade said, “We are entering the season of Thanksgiving when we reflect on how much our family and friends mean to us. It’s a good time to remember that we are all in this together and the choices we make, regardless of our personal opinions, have consequences for others outside our own social circle of friends and family.”

DeWine negative in third COVID-19 test (Aug. 8)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Saturday and First Lady Fran DeWine both tested negative for COVID-19 in a PCR test administered by the Wexner Medical Center, according to a press release.

This is the third negative test result after the governor tested positive in Cleveland in anticipation of greeting President Donald Trump on Thursday. The initial test was a rapid antigen test and officials on Saturday said the  result was a false positive.

Gov. DeWine was scheduled to welcome President Trump on the tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on Thursday. The Republican governor had no symptoms at the time, according to the statement. 

After the test in Cleveland, Gov. DeWine returned to Columbus for more testing. Gov. DeWine had planned to follow protocol for COVID-19 and quarantine at his house in Cedarville for the next 14 days.  There was no indication what he intends to do now that the third test came back negative. 

The second and third tests using the PCR method is known to be extremely sensitive to the virus because it seeks to find genetic material specific to the virus that causes COVID-19. The test used in Cleveland was an antigen test based on different technology designed to reduce cost and shorten the time for results. 

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also took the COVID-19 test on Thursday as part of the protocol to greet the president and tested negative, according to the statement. 

President Trump was scheduled to land in Ohio around 1 p.m. on Thursday and then head to Clyde in Sandusky County to tour a Whirlpool plant to demonstrate how he supports American jobs first, officials said. He was to make comments around 3:15 p.m. at the plant.

After that, the president was to attend a fundraiser at Shoreby Club in Bratenahl around 6 p.m., according to his official schedule, and then return to Washington, D.C.  Some employees at the club reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, but had no contact with the president.

School guidelines, new alert system announced by DeWine (July 2)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday announced guidelines to open schools this fall and a new alert system for counties to monitor levels of the coronavirus in local communities.

“We know that each school system, and perhaps each school building, will likely look different in the fall,” he said during a press briefing on July 2. “We also know that Ohio has a long history of local control and that administrators and teachers know their schools best.”

School buildings have been closed across Ohio since mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19 with children finishing the academic year through distance learning.

“Working together and consulting with educators and other health officials, we have developed a set of guidelines, backed by science, that each school should follow when developing their reopening plans,” Gov. DeWine said.

The new guidance advises districts to assess symptoms of students and staff, wash hands regularly to prevent the spread of the virus, clean high touch surfaces regularly, use social distancing and implement a face covering policy.

Gov. DeWine said the guidelines call for school staff to wear face coverings unless it is unsafe or if doing so could interfere with the learning process. The recommendations also call for students in third grade and up to wear face coverings, he said.

He plans to work with state lawmakers to ensure that federal CARE Act dollars are made available to school districts to help cover extra expenses in creating safe environments in buildings.

Gov. DeWine said Ohio will maintain vital, necessary baseline orders to control the spread of COVID-19 while also implementing a new alert system.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System will provide local health departments with information to combat flare-ups as they occur in different parts of the state, he said.  The system consists of four levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of the problem in each county.

In regard to data metrics, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted talked about the rate of recovery figure being requested by some lawmakers.  He explained that this data is not reported to the Ohio Department of Health, so the state does not have an exact figure. “We presume what that number is based on other data we have,” he added.

Ohio’s current presumed recovery count is 38,987, he said.

For more information on Ohio’s response and policies of COVID-19 visit

Dr. Acton steps down as health director, takes on new role (June 11)

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton stepped down today as head of the statewide agency. She will move into a new role as the chief adviser to Gov. Mike DeWine on health issues, the governor said.

The announcement came during the governor’s afternoon press conference on June 11, which he has been holding since the state began to take steps to control the spread of the highly contagious and deadly novel coronavirus.  

Former ODH director Lance Himes will immediately take over as interim director. He has been general counsel to the department and has worked at the state agency for more than 15 years.

Dr. Acton said leading the health department became more like three jobs with the spread of COVID-19 since early this year.  Resigning will allow her to give full attention, “reflect and gear up for this next phase” of the virus, she said during the press conference broadcast throughout Ohio.

She was appointed ODH director in February of 2019.

“Ohioans, you have saved lives, you have done this,” she said of residents’ efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. “I look forward to witnessing what you do next.”

Gov. DeWine likened Dr. Acton to a hero wearing a white coat.

Dr. Acton and Gov. DeWine have been criticized by members of the General Assembly and numerous conservative groups objecting to guidelines such as wearing masks in public, closing the polls during the primary election and shuttering businesses and schools to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Some groups have protested outside Dr. Acton’s house in Bexley, Ohio.

Gov. DeWine praised Dr. Acton for her leadership saying, “While the decisions have been mine, her counsel has been superb.”  Her advice “has been invaluable and has helped [residents] get through this,” he said.

“No one has more passion for helping people and more passion for public health,” Gov. DeWine said. “She has always put the health and safety of Ohioans first.”

As of Thursday, Ohio recorded 38,837 cases of COVID-19 and 2,404 deaths due to the disease, according to ODH.  

Rules clear way for COVID-19 testing; junior fairs possible (May 28)


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has clarified rules allowing pharmacists to order and administer tests for COVID-19. 

"As frontline health care providers, pharmacies are critical in our state’s response to this pandemic," Gov. DeWine said. "I have asked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to make sure that Ohio pharmacies have what they need to test for COVID-19."

The governor also announced plans to allow visitation in assisted living homes and guidelines for county junior fairs for youths this summer.

To help Ohioans find testing locations, a map has been added to that lists COVID-19 testing centers in Ohio. The map includes links to community health centers and pharmacy sites to assist citizens in finding information about how to get a test referral or schedule an appointment.

The increased testing comes at a time when Ohio has 33,915 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 2,098 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,811 people have been hospitalized, including 1,516 admissions to intensive care units. 

Ohio has utilized COVID-19 testing priorities to manage limited testing capacity.  Under the guidance of clinical experts, Gov. DeWine announced that Ohio has modified these groups in light of changes in testing availability and evolving knowledge of COVID-19 and its impact on Ohioans.

Testing must be first available to individuals described in Priority Groups 1, 2 and 3, but Ohio is expanding to allow partners and communities to test Ohioans in Priority Group 4 which includes testing “Individuals in the community to decrease community spread, including individuals with symptoms who do not meet any of the above categories.”

"Expanded test availability will allow individuals in lower-risk tiers to be tested and to help further contain and respond to COVID-19 in Ohio," the governor said.  


Gov. DeWine announced a plan to lift restrictions on visitation at assisted living homes in Ohio. 

Beginning on June 8, properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation.

The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes. 

"We will continue to examine, monitor, and adjust as we carefully and thoughtfully lift restrictions on visitation," said Gov. DeWine. "The well-being of our residents has been, and remains, central to our decision-making." 

The decision to move forward with outdoor visitation for assisting living facilities and intermediate care facilities was made while considering requests from families and residents and considering the impact on the quality of life a prolonged loss of connection can have on an individual. Advocates and providers in the aging and development disabilities communities were also consulted, and guidelines for visitation were jointly developed by the Academy for Senior Health Sciences, Leading Age Ohio, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Health Care Association, and the Ohio Medical Director’s Association.

Because each facility is different, each facility can determine how to best implement outdoor visitations, however, at a minimum, all facilities must develop a policy that includes:

  • Screening for temperatures and symptom-reporting for visitors
  • Scheduled hours and time limits for visits
  • Proper social distancing measures
  • Face coverings
  • Resident, family, and friend education about the risks of the spread of COVID-19

Consideration for visitors during end-of-life situations will also be expanded. Providers should notify family members when a resident's substantial change of condition indicates end-of-life is approaching. Providers should not wait until a resident is actively dying to allow visitors.


The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is deferring Ohio employers' premium installments for the months of June, July, and August. Businesses will have the option to defer the monthly premium payments with no financial penalties. 

“By extending the premium due date, businesses can continue to focus on the safety and well-being of their employees and customers during this health pandemic,” said Gov. DeWine. 

This is the second payment deferral BWC has given to employers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The deferral is designed to help employers focus financial resources on re-opening their businesses under the Responsible RestartOhio Plan.


Gov. DeWine's Fair Advisory Group has released guidelines for how county fair boards and agricultural societies can work with county health departments to safely operate junior fairs for kids.

The guidelines focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of everyone involved in the junior fair activities, and animal care and welfare.

"The decisions about county and independent fairs need to be made locally because each county and independent fair is unique and has different challenges," said Gov. DeWine. "Conditions may change over the course of the summer, however, we are asking all fair boards to comply with all of the orders of the Ohio Department of Health and the guidelines for other sectors that would also apply to fairs, such as for food service and rides." 

DeWine announces more business openings, health initiatives (May 23)


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine this week announced initial findings from the Minority Health Strike Force study as well as the reopening dates for more businesses and services as the state rolls out its restart schedule during the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Saturday, Ohio reported 30,794 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,872 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In the U.S., there were 1.64 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 96,370 deaths. Worldwide there were 5.24 million cases of COVID-19 and 339,000 confirmed deaths as of Saturday.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:

  • Beginning May 26, miniature golf, batting cages, and bowling alleys may resume operations if they can meet required safety protocols.
  • Beginning May 26, skills training for all sports, including contact sports, may resume if required safety protocols can be met. Tournaments, games, and competitions for contact sports are still prohibited.
  • Beginning June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.

Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at

 In Ohio, minority health strike force team was formed in April in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans who make up 14 percent of Ohio's population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio.

"I am deeply concerned about this data.  I am the governor of all of Ohio, and when I see something disproportionately affecting some of our citizens, I have a responsibility to do something," said Gov. DeWine. "To augment on the work that we are currently doing on health equity and to address the immediate threats posed by COVID-19 to our minority communities we intend to move forward with the strike force's recommendations, and we have several additional efforts that are ready to get underway." 

Recommendations were created using feedback from the Strike Force's Health Care, Resources, Data, and Education subcommittees. Examples of these recommendations include: 

  • Establishing culturally appropriate and accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services for communities of color.
  • Expanding testing capacity and access for minorities and high-risk populations.
  • Using data to prioritize resources in the communities that have the highest need.
  • Developing and launching a statewide, culturally-sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and communities of color on COVID-19, health disparities, and social determinants of health.

The Minority Health Strike Force's preliminary report will be available soon at Final recommendations will be issued on June 11. 


A new position will be created within the Ohio Department of Health dedicated to social determinants of health and opportunity. This person’s work will build on several existing efforts to respond to health inequity by working directly with local communities on their specific long-term health needs and Ohio's response to COVID-19.

This person in this position will be responsible for collecting data to inform best practices and for helping to ensure the implementation of the Minority Strike Force’s short-term and long-term recommendations. 


The Ohio Department of Health and Minority Health Strike Force will work with Us for Us to unveil a new communications campaign aimed at Ohio's minority populations called, “Stay in the Fight.” This campaign will focus on the need to stay informed, stay involved, and stay inspired during the pandemic.


To expand access to testing, Ohio has partnered with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers which represents Ohio’s Federally Qualified Health Centers, including 55 Community Health Centers at 378 locations.  It has multiple mobile units in 68 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

"Community health centers have a unique reach," said Gov. DeWine. "They are trusted in their local communities to provide primary and preventive care regardless of insurance status or ability to pay, making them critical to any strategy that makes COVID-19 testing available in rural and urban neighborhoods throughout our state."

For testing, individuals should contact their Federally Qualified Health Center or community health center for information and direction about how to be tested.


Ohio is partnering with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers and the Nationwide Foundation to distribute thousands of Community Wellness Kits that contain COVID-19 protection-related items, such as face coverings, hand sanitizer, and soap.


To support both the state and local health departments in efforts to fight COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on people of color, Ohio will significantly increase the number of public health workers who can help notify Ohioans of possible exposure to the virus.

The hiring of these public health workers is in progress at both the state and local levels with the goal of hiring individuals who represent and reflect the make-up of their own communities.   


Gov. DeWine's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will award $1 million in grants to provide mental health and addiction services for hard-to-reach individuals.  

The grants will allow faith-based and local community-based organizations to develop culturally appropriate messages that target those who may not be as easily reached by mass-media messaging efforts, such as racial and ethnic minorities, Appalachian and rural communities, older adults, and others.  

Protective gear distributed around state (April 30)

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that the state of Ohio has shipped 4.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment to local emergency management agencies across Ohio.

Although this is not the first shipment of PPE, this is the largest one-time distribution of PPE from the state of Ohio to the local EMAs in Ohio history, he said.

"When this crisis began, I told you that we were going to do everything we could to ensure that those on the front line of this crisis have the personal protective equipment they need," Gov. DeWine said at his daily press briefing from Columbus.

As of Wednesday, Ohio recorded 17,303 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 937 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,421 people have been hospitalized, including 1,014 admissions to intensive care units. Protective gear is essential to the doctors, nurses and others who care for patients, state officials have said.

"The PPE will be distributed locally by county EMAs to nursing homes, jails, congregate living facilities, hospitals, and first responders."

The shipment includes:

  • 500,000 N95 masks
  • 850,000 face shields
  • 750,000 surgical-type masks
  • 2 million non-medical gloves

The PPE was secured through the work of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Emergency Management Agency, according to the governor.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted reemphasized that face coverings are required for employers and employees while on the job. Exceptions for employers and employees include when:

  • An employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job
  • Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices
  • Wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes
  • If wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies
  • An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace
  • There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee

If any of these exceptions apply to a business or employee, written justification must be provided upon request.

“Wearing a mask is something we do out of mutual respect for one another,” said Lt. Gov. Husted. “At work, you wear a mask because you want to protect your fellow employees and because you want to protect your customers. And when you are a customer, though it isn’t required, you should still wear a mask because it will help protect those around you.”

Gov. DeWine announced that nearly $16 million in grant funding is now available for local law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, local courts, victim service providers, and adult, juvenile, and community corrections agencies.

This funding was awarded to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as part of the CARES Act and will support agencies in:

Taking measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as purchasing cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment

Taking measures to prepare for COVID-19 such as supporting proper planning, staffing, and communications to ensure effective operations and maintain the safety of criminal justice employees, citizens, and correctional populations

Taking measures to respond to the spread of COVID-19 such as medical visits, hospitalizations, purchasing medical supplies, and securing alternative housing

OCJS will accept applications on a continual basis while funding is available, and there is no cap. For more information, please visit

Gov. DeWine reminded Ohio educators that they must ensure social distancing during any and all graduation ceremonies.

The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Health today issued the following suggestions for local schools and health departments:

  • Virtual graduation ceremonies (preferred)
  • Drive-in ceremonies where students drive to a designated location at a designated time to get their diplomas
  • Outdoor ceremonies with 10 people or less who are socially distanced

Additional guidance can be found on the Ohio Department of Education's website.

"Ohio has 612 school districts. Each school district must work with their local health department to make sure that their plan is in accordance with public health guidelines to deal with the pandemic," said Gov. DeWine. "I understand how hard it is for the Class of 2020. This is not how any of us envisioned your graduation, but I am confident that our schools will be resourceful and creative in how they can honor you."

Gov. DeWine also stressed that any graduation parties cannot exceed 10 people in one space.

Plan to open Ohio to be announced (April 26)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday (April 27) is slated to unveil plans to reopen the state since issuing stay-at-home measures and closing schools and nonessential businesses in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday, 15,587 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed with 711 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health.  But state officials said that the measures have helped control an upsurge of COVID-19 cases that could have overwhelmed hospitals.

Testing, contact tracing, maintaining social distancing and wearing masks will be keys to safely allow Ohioans to get back to work, Gov. DeWine said. 

On Friday, Gov. DeWine announced that members of the newly formed Testing Strike Team, led by former Governors Richard Celeste and Bob Taft, have reached an agreement with Thermo Fisher, a company that makes reagent, that will substantially expand COVID-19 testing capacity in Ohio. 

"This is an exciting, new partnership, and we look forward to working with the Thermo Fisher team and its 1,500 employees working in Ohio," Gov. DeWine said during his daily news conference.

“Gov. DeWine has worked tirelessly to address the critical need to increase diagnostic testing across his state, and our teams have worked together to develop a plan to meet that goal,” said Marc N. Casper, chairman, president and CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Through his leadership and determination, labs across the state will have access to reagents and instruments needed to accelerate testing and control the spread of the virus. We are committed to helping the Governor in this effort to protect Ohio citizens and help save lives.”

As a result of collaborative efforts through the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, Gov. DeWine announced that ROE Dental Laboratory in Cleveland will manufacture up to one million testing swabs to support Ohio's testing efforts.

ROE Dental Laboratory typically produces dental restorations, such as crowns, dentures, and dental surgical guides.  The Manufacturing Alliance helped ROE Dental secure the specifications to manufacture swabs from Formlabs, a 3-D printing company in Toledo.

ROE Dental Laboratory has invested in more than 36 additional 3-D printers, which nearly doubles its fleet, and will bring nearly 100 employees back to work to produce swabs around the clock while practicing safe social distancing,

"We are very appreciative to ROE Dental for providing these much-needed supplies for Ohioans. Because of their efforts and other efforts underway, Ohio will be producing a million swabs in the coming weeks," said Gov. DeWine. "Public-private partnerships like this represent how, here in Ohio, we are all in this together. We believe that these efforts will not only increase our capacity to test, but they will also provide us with a stable supply chain."

This testing will dramatically increase Ohio's ability to test in our priority areas, including nursing homes, hot spots, congregate living settings, food and grocery stores, and essential manufacturing facilities.

The increased testing capacity in Ohio will also allow for enhanced contact exposure tracing throughout the state. 

"Voluntary contact exposure tracing is one of the strongest weapons we have to help keep our families, our friends, and ourselves healthy," said Gov. DeWine. "For several weeks, we have been recruiting community health workers to conduct this vital voluntary tracing."

As part of Ohio's offense strategy, Gov. DeWine announced that Ohio has started working with Massachusetts-based Partners in Health. Partners in Health will bring needed resources to Ohio to help increase the ability to trace contact exposure to the virus.

In regard to foster children, Gov. DeWine said that the state will cover the costs to keep more than 200 youth who are aging out of foster care in the foster care system until the COVID-19 pandemic ends. 

"For many of these young people, their future looks uncertain because of COVID-19, whether their plan was to start a career or pursue higher education," he said. "This program will provide these youth with a safety net during these unprecedented times and will ensure that no child leaves foster care during this pandemic without a safe place to call home."

This option is also available for young people enrolled in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' Bridges program, Ohio's foster care to age 21 program, to help them maintain their housing, jobs, and education, Gov. DeWine added.

University Hospitals to temporarily reduce hours, pay (April 22)

Hospitals across the nation have been impacted financially by the high costs associated with preparedness for a surge in COVID-19 patients and a sharp decline in revenues from the suspension of non-essential surgeries and procedures. Health systems in Ohio are similarly affected.

As a result of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of University Hospitals during the past month and into the future, the health system has announced that for an initial period of 10 weeks it will reduce hours and pay by 20 percent for about 4,100 employees not directly involved in patient care. Executives, directors, nonclinical managers, department chairs and division chiefs will have their pay reduced while continuing to work their regular schedules.

Caregivers affected are salaried and hourly nonclinical staff throughout the health system. Exempt, salaried caregivers will take one week off every fifth week. Non-exempt, hourly caregivers will work 20 percent fewer hours per week.

Impacted caregivers who are currently fulltime and moving to reduced hours and pay will maintain eligibility for fulltime benefits. Caregivers may use accumulated paid time off (PTO) and sick leave banks to continue pay for days not worked. During this time, UH is also allowing caregivers to go into arrears on PTO up to 40 hours.

In addition for all caregivers, UH matching contributions to 403(b) and 401(k) plans are suspended temporarily beginning the first pay in May, and planned merit pay adjustments are delayed until the end of the calendar year.

“Our most valuable resource is our people. Our approach is to do what we can to assure that UH caregivers do not go without a paycheck and that we preserve the talents and character that define our organization,” said UH Chief Executive Office Thomas F. Zenty III. “We take these actions reluctantly and with deep appreciation for everything our caregivers continue to do to support the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

UH makes resources available to caregivers through its Employee Assistance Program and UH4YOU, a support line to call and an online portal with information about special programs and services.

The decision to take these actions followed a detailed assessment of financial models, capital expenditures and other costs. Although UH is making applications for resources available through FEMA and the Cares Act, any recoveries from these programs alone will not nearly make up for financial losses, Mr. Zenty said. 

In Ohio, it is estimated that hospitals are seeing financial losses of $42 million per day and spending $5 million per day on increased costs of supplies.

“University Hospitals, like so many other organizations, has continued to provide world-class care for all patients and caregivers while managing the dramatic impacts of the pandemic. These actions assure the continued financial strength of our health system, our ability to respond to this crisis and to continue care for all of our patients needs now and in future,” Mr.Zenty said.

UH has already assembled teams and is prepared for a swift and strong resumption of full services to our community. “We remain positive that this will occur sooner rather than later, and we will be positioned to serve our community,” Mr. Zenty said.

School buildings to remain closed through academic year (April 20)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that kindergarten through 12th grade school buildings will remain closed through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools were closed statewide on March 16 initially through May 1. Gov. DeWine said during his daily press conference on April 20 that he is extending the closure to protect the children.

"We have flattened the curve," he said, "but [the virus] remains dangerous." He has not decided whether school buildings will open in mid-August for the 2020-2021 academic year. He talked about exploring  blended learning concepts of combining distance learning and in-person classes. "Each school district is going to be different," the governor said.

As of Monday, Ohio had 509 deaths and 12,919 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Gov. DeWine said he was not sure how university and college life and classes will be affected for the fall semester. "I don't have a crystal ball," he said referring to unknowns of COVID-19's impact in the months to come. 

Ohio to begin opening on May 1, DeWine says

 Ohio will gradually begin opening on May 1 from the closures put in place to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday during his daily press conference.

“It’s going to be gradual, it’s going to be rolling out one thing at a time,” he explained on April 16.  The administration has been working with a group of business executives focusing on best practices needed to safely forge a path for daily life in Ohio, he said.

As of Thursday, Ohio had 8,239 confirmed cases and 175 additional probable cases due to COVID-19; 373 confirmed deaths and 16 additional probable deaths; and 2,331 hospitalizations including 707 ICU admissions, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The age range of patients is less than 1 to 104 and the median age is 54. About 51 percent of the cases involve females and 49 percent males.

Gov. DeWine said decision to open the state will be based on facts.

“It is essential that we do this the right way, we must get this right because the stakes are high,” Gov. DeWine said. “If we don’t do it right,” there could be consequences. “I don’t want to go back and then have a surge of cases.”

Wearing face masks in public is likely to become common, though Gov. DeWine and state health department Director Dr. Amy Acton stopped short of saying the practice would be required.

“I want you to don your mask and don your cape” in the continued fight against the virus, Dr. Acton said.

Gov. DeWine said he strongly suggests residents wear masks in public as “part of what we do until we’re done with the virus in a year or two.”

Health experts have said that it could be a year or two until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.

 Gov. DeWine said details of businesses and other openings still are being worked out. “We’ll deal with the schools early next week,” he said explaining that he plans to talk to superintendents across the state soon.

DeWine closed kindergarten through 12th grade schools on March 16 and issued a stay-at-home order for all citizens on March 23. He limited restaurants to take-out only service on March 15 and closed nonessential businesses on March 24.

Though people continue to come down with COVID-19, DeWine said actions by residents are helping.

“Ohioans have done a phenomenal job, fighting back, doing distancing,” Gov. DeWine said referring to guidance from health experts for people to stay at least 6 feet apart. “You have flattened the curve.”

Health experts advise that the virus spreads easily in crowds causing spikes in the number of cases that could overrun the hospital systems treating COVID-19 patients.  Physical distancing slows the spread and flattens the spikes, or curve, in case numbers.

Gov. DeWine said no decisions have been made as to allowing large gatherings such as county fairs, sports events or concerts.

“We’re going to take this a few weeks at a time,” Gov. DeWine said about rolling out the opening businesses and public gatherings. “Mixing together is problematic as long as this monster is out there.”

When asked about using aps to track people’s movements around the state, Gov. DeWine said, “we’re going to go where the technology takes us, but we’re going to have respect for privacy.”

The goal is opening the state as carefully as possible since there are no guarantees that people will not get the virus.

“I will fight just as hard as I have to fight to save lives of Ohioans. That is our commitment to you,” he said.

Cases in Our Communities

DeWine urges residents to wear cloth masks in public

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Saturday (April 4) urged residents to wear cloth masks in public as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the nation continues to battle the highly contagious and deadly COVID-19 disease.  

As of Aoril 4, Ohio had 3,739 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 102 deaths. A total of 1,006 people have been hospitalized, including 326 admissions to intensive care units, according to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting

The CDC issued its recommendation on Friday saying that cloth face masks should be used where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.  The federal agency has said that staying at least 6 feet away from others could reduce the possibility of spreading the disease caused by a novel coronavirus. There currently is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19, the disease that has become a pandemic.

"In many cultures around the world, wearing a mask is just part of the culture - it is a socially accepted act of kindness," Gov. DeWine said during his Saturday press conference. "Wearing a mask should not scare people.  It is a good thing.  It is a considerate thing.  It is a courageous thing." 

Wearing a mask will not prevent someone from contracting COVID-19, but it can help prevent them from spreading it to others, according to medical experts, especially for those who have it and are not displaying symptoms.  

Wearing a cloth mask in public is not mandatory, Gov. DeWine said, but it is strongly recommended and is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Guidance on how to make a homemade mask can be found on

Medical supply masks, such as N95 respirators, must be reserved for healthcare workers, first responders, and those who are known to be sick.

Gov. DeWine also announced that he signed an order allowing Ohioans to more easily access telehealth services from individual counselors, social workers and marriage counselors.  

In normal circumstances, a patient must have had a face-to-face first meeting and counselors and social workers before qualifying for a telehealth appointment; the providers would also be required to take special training in providing telehealth services. 

"Mental health is just as important as physical health, and in this time of social distancing and stay at home orders, we are trying to ensure that those who need services can access them without leaving their homes," Gov. DeWine said. 

Lt. Gov. Husted announced that BroadbandOhio has been working with providers to find public wi-fi hotspot locations for Ohioans who may not otherwise have access to the internet from home.

A list of hotspot finders and locations by provider is available at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp. You can find it by accessing the “Individuals and Families” tab. Those without internet access are urged to visit a known hotspot to access the complete list.

"Some of these hotspots offer parking lot availability so you can go there, download work emails, or school lesson plans, and then have it on your device when you return home," said Lt. Gov. Husted.

Service providers offering public wi-fi hotspots that are not listed on the website are encouraged to get on the list by emailing with contact information. 

DeWine recommends early release of some prisoners due to COVID-19

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday (April 3) announced updates on availability of testing supplies, protective equipment, educational tools as well as a recommendation to release some prisoners early due to the increasing cases of COVID-19.

Ohio had 3,312 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 91 deaths as of April 3, according to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. A total of 895 people have been hospitalized, including 288 admissions to intensive care units.

Gov. DeWine announced during his daily press conference on Friday that the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is now partnering with the Ohio Department of Health to help increase the availability of supplies to test for COVID-19 caused by a novel coronavirus. 

"Because of supply chain problems, we can’t always get the swabs and tubes and transport liquid, and there is also a shortage in the chemicals or reagents necessary to run the tests," Gov. DeWine said. "Through this new partnership, we are working to get these resources and provide them to those conducting the testing." 

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said that Battelle and JobsOhio have partnered to provide free N95 mask sanitizing for hospitals for the next two weeks.

Last week, after urging from Ohio officials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of new Battelle technology to sanitize these masks for reuse, Lt. Gov. Husted said. 

Ohio still faces a critical shortage of personal protective equipment. Lt. Gov. Husted requested that anyone with items to donate should email Manufacturers that may be able to temporarily repurpose to create PPE are asked to visit

Gov. DeWine announced that he will recommend to judges across the state the early release of 38 prison inmates. The cases do not involve people convicted of serious violent crimes, he said.

The inmates fall into two categories, the governor said, including pregnant inmates and those who are recently postpartum as well as older inmates vulnerable to COVID-19. The second category of inmates would focus on those who are 60 years or older and have 120 days or less remaining on their sentences, the governor said.

The Ohio Department of Education released a special guide to help schools, educators, students, parents, and caregivers navigating remote learning, officials said. The new Remote Learning Resource Guide will support the ability of each child to carry on learning during this time of social distancing.

The guide includes online learning resources, as well as several less technical resources.

DeWine extends stay-at-home order through May 1

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday ( 2) that the stay at home order has been extended through May 1. 

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed the updated order that goes into effect at midnight on Monday.

"We understand that this is tough - it is very difficult. But, I would not be making these decisions if it wasn't a matter of life and death," Gov. DeWine said. "We have to keep this monster down. It's not dead - it's very much alive." 

Dr. Acton announced that as of April 2, there were 2,902 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 81 deaths. A total of 802 people have been hospitalized, including 260 admissions to intensive care units. 

The full Stay at Home order can be found on

Updates to the new order include: 

  • The creation of a dispute resolution process for situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion on what is or is not an essential business.
  • The requirement that essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at one time.  These businesses must ensure that people waiting to enter the stores maintain safe social distancing.
  • Direction that travelers arriving to Ohio should self-quarantine for 14 days. Exceptions include persons who live and work in trans-border areas, heath care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and designated essential workers. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Ohio if they are displaying symptoms, excepting in certain circumstances for medical care.
  • The mandate that wedding receptions be limited to no more than 10 people.
  • A clarification to close campgrounds with the exception where a camper or recreational vehicle in a campground serves as a citizen's permanent residence and they are unable to secure safe alternative housing.
  • The requirement that public swimming pools and swimming pools at private clubs or housing complexes close to prevent transmission of COVID-19.  This does not apply to private residential pools.
  • The clarification that retail garden centers can remain open but should determine and enforce a reduced capacity to keep customers and employees safe.
  • The closure of day camps for children.
  • The prohibition of organized youth and adult sports.
  • The clarification that fishing is permitted if proper social distancing is practiced.


Gov. DeWine announced the creation of his Economic Advisory Board that will help his administration work through the economic issues facing Ohio as the state looks toward the future.

Members of the advisory board include: 

  • Patrick Bowe, President and CEO, The Andersons, Inc.
  • Mike Brooks, Chairman, Rocky Boots
  • Brian Burgett, President, Kokosing Construction Company
  • Toby Cosgrove, Executive Adviser, Cleveland Clinic
  • Sam Covelli, Chief Executive Officer, Covelli Enterprises
  • Paul Dolan, Owner, Cleveland Indians
  • Jacqueline Gamblin, Founder and CEO, JYG Innovations
  • Mike Hennigan, President and CEO, Marathon Petroleum Corporation
  • Steven Johnston, President and CEO, Cincinnati Financial Corporation
  • Cameron Mitchell, Founder and CEO, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
  • Kelly Moore, Owner, GKP Auto Parts
  • Loretta Mester, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
  • Dan Pritchard, President and CEO, A.J. Rose Manufacturing Company
  • Dwight Smith, Chairman and CEO, Sophisticated Systems
  • Frank Sullivan, Chairman and CEO, RPM International
  • Mark Smucker, President and CEO, The J.M. Smucker Company
  • David Taylor, Chairman, President and CEO, Procter and Gamble
  • Vanessa Whiting, President, A.E.S. Management Group


Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced that the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has developed a website specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 crisis.

Both essential businesses and current job seekers can visit to post and search.

“If you are an employer who performs a critical service, please go to to post your open positions so we can help you fill them,” Lt. Gov. Husted said. “If you are a person who can work, please know that there are many who need you to help keep essential services running and we encourage you to do so, even if its only part time.”

The site features a highly-streamlined interface with only two main links – one for essential businesses, and one for job seekers. Applicants can search through jobs in their area, their region, and the entire state.

Though many businesses and public places across Ohio and the nation have had to close during the COVID-19 crisis in order to promote social distancing and slow the spread of the virus, there are many businesses, such as grocery stores, healthcare facilities, pharmacies, delivery companies, and many other types of businesses that are essential to ensuring the health and wellbeing of Ohioans during the crisis. These companies are in high need for workers during this time.


Dr. Acton announced that Ohio has worked with numerous licensing boards to send a survey to identify additional personnel who have clinical or behavioral health skills to respond to potential hospital surge from COVID-19. Dr. Acton asks that anyone who is a current or retired licensee from any of the following boards take the time to complete the survey to help Ohio understand the people who are available to help.

  • State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy
  • Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board
  • Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & Marriage and Family Therapist Board
  • Ohio State Dental Board
  • State Medical Board of Ohio
  • Ohio Board of Nursing
  • Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board
  • State Board of Psychology
  • State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services
  • Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board
  • Vision Professionals Board

Ohio’s Battelle to share mask cleaning device with New York

An Ohio company received approval late Sunday (March 29) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use groundbreaking technology to sterilize N95 surgical masks without a daily limit.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that Battelle, located in greater Columbus, will be permitted to use its critical care decontamination system to process as many as 80,000 masks daily allowing healthcare workers to reuse the masks, usually discarded after one use, to care for the rising number of COVID-19 patients. 

The governor also announced that schools will remain closed until at least May 1 when the situation will be reviewed again. It is possible schools will be closed until the end of the academic year, Gov. DeWine said, adding that distance learning has continued. 

As of March 30, Ohio had 1,933 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 475 in hospitals and 39 deaths. Deaths span 19 counties with cases in 77 of Ohio's 88 counties. There have been 135,029 confirmed cases and 2,370 deaths in the U.S. and 713,171 cases and 33,597 deaths worldwide as of Monday, according to health officials.  About 27,275 people in Ohio have been tested.

Officials said that mask sterilization will help ease the shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19 treatment.

In addition to offering this technology in Ohio, Battelle intends to send one machine to New York City and one to Stony Brook, New York, which will provide for the sterilization of up to 160,000 surgical masks for New York's healthcare workers each day. Machines also will be dispatched to the state of Washington. 

Battelle plans to ship four more units elsewhere in the United States next week and 15 additional machines in the coming weeks. 

Early Sunday, Gov. DeWine had been critical of the FDA because the agency would only allow Battelle to use the new device for 10,000 masks daily. Gov. DeWine thanked President Donald Trump for his help.

DeWine blasts FDA for limiting surgical mask sterilization

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted today (March 29) expressed deep disappointment in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision to limit the use of new technology to sterilize desperately needed surgical masks in Ohio and other parts of the United States as the nation continues to battle the deadly COVID-19 virus. 

As of Sunday, Ohio had 1,653 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 29 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. This is an increase from Friday when the state had 1,137 confirmed cases and 19 deaths.  

The masks are part of the personal protective gear doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers need to care for COVID-19 and other desperately ill patients. 

Gov. DeWine said Sunday that the FDA authorized Columbus-based Battelle to sterilize only 10,000 surgical masks in Ohio each day, despite the company's ability to sterilize up to 160,000 masks per day in Ohio alone. 

The authorization of 10,000 masks per day is limited to Battelle's Columbus headquarters and prevents Battelle from sending its groundbreaking technology to other states such Washington and New York, as well as Washington D.C. and the Virginia and Maryland areas, state officials said. 

"The FDA's decision to severely limit the use of this life-saving technology is nothing short of reckless," Gov. DeWine said. "Battelle's innovative technology has the capability to protect healthcare professionals and first responders in Ohio and across the country, but in this time of crisis, the FDA has decided not to support those who are risking their lives to save others. This is a matter of life and death. I am not only disappointed by this development, but I'm also stunned that the FDA would decline to do all it can to protect this country's frontline workers in this serious time of need." 

In addition to offering this technology in Ohio, Battelle had intended to send one machine to New York City and one to Stony Brook, New York, which would have allowed for the sterilization of up to 160,000 surgical masks for New York's healthcare workers each day. Machines would have also been dispatched to the state of Washington and the Washington D.C. metro area, Ohio officials said. 

Battelle had planned to ship four more units elsewhere in the United States next week and 15 additional machines in the coming weeks, Gov. DeWine added. 

Gov. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted said they will continue to fight for increased use of this life-saving technology. 

Ohio COVID-19 cases at 1,137 with 19 deaths on Friday

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday (March 27) said he has divided the state into eight hospital regions and set a deadline of noon Saturday for leaders of each area to have a preliminary plan on his desk in regard to preparing for the predicted surge of COVID-19 cases.  The final draft is due by noon Monday.

Gov. DeWine said during his daily press conference on Friday that state and Cleveland Clinic leaders met via telephone to review modeling used in forecasting the impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus that is sweeping the world.

Within two weeks, the virus is likely to kick in much harder and continue on the upswing increasing patients in hospitals across the state, Gov. DeWine said of the Cleveland Clinic data.

The peak of the virus in Ohio is likely to come in mid-May, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said citing the data.

During the peak, Dr. Acton said, the clinic’s modeling shows that there could be as many as 10,000 new cases per day statewide.  

Dr. Acton said there is a plan in the works to redirect the skills of some medical providers to care for patients who contract the deadly virus. It could be graduating fourth-year medical school students early and waiving some requirements or having plastic surgeons work in other capacities during this crisis since the state has banned elective procedures temporarily to preserve resources for COVID-19 cases, she said. This plan remains in the works, she said.

Gov. DeWine said the clinic data also indicates a need to double or more realistically triple the number of intensive care beds across Ohio to prepare for the predicted upswing.  

“We have a long way to go,” Gov. DeWine said in regard to needed medical facilities, “and that’s the stark reality.”

The goal is to have enough beds and medical personnel to care for COVID-19 patients regardless of where they live in the state, Gov. DeWine said.

As of Friday, Ohio had 1,137 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 19 deaths of patients ranging in age from 58 to 93, Dr. Acton said. Of that confirmed case number, 186 are healthcare workers, she said, about 16-percent of the total.

During the press conference, Gov. DeWine signed House Bill 197 passed by the General Assembly addressing issues linked to the onset of the virus.   The bill extends the primary election through April 28 with mail-in voting only, waves state testing requirements this year for public school children grades 12 and under, temporarily extends licenses for medical professionals such as nurses, permits virtual meetings for local governments during the crisis, bans water disconnections and extends the state tax filing deadline to July 15.  

“I thank the members of the General Assembly for passing it in a bipartisan way,” Gov. DeWine said.

The stay-at-home order will remain in place, Gov. DeWine said. When asked about President Donald Trump’s comments that gathering limits should be relaxed by Easter, Gov. DeWine said he had not read the president’s complete statement.

Gov. DeWine continued to urge citizens to observe physical distancing of at least 6 feet and stay at home. “That’s something each one of us can control. By not being in clusters, we slow the spread of the virus. Slowing the process buys our health infrastructure more time to build up until the surge comes,” the governor said. 

Six COVID-19 deaths in Ohio as of Monday

Three more deaths from COVID-19 were announced Monday (March 23) by state officials bringing Ohio’s death toll to six since the state began keeping track on Feb. 7.

Officials said during Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily press conference on March 23 that the most recent deaths included  two in Franklin County and one in Stark County.  Last week, attorney Mark Wagoner, Sr., 76, of Toledo, a 91-year-old man from Cuyahoga County and an 85-year-old man from Erie County succumbed to the coronavirus sweeping the globe.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said there were 442 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state as of Monday that included 104 patients being treated in hospitals in 46 counties. That number is up from 351 cases reported on Sunday, a 26-percent increase.

Gov. DeWine announced an immediate hiring freeze in state government, except for those directly involved in the COVID-19 fight. All members of his cabinet have been asked to immediately look for spending and budget cuts of up to 20 percent, he said, adding that not all agencies would be able to do this.

The governor said he wants a freeze on new contract services, and that a freeze on state travel issued early in the coronavirus fight will continue.

When asked whether abortions were considered elective under the state health department’s order banning elective surgeries during the COVID-19 crisis, Gov. DeWine said the press needs to consult with the state attorney general who is working on the legalities with other attorneys.    

Gov. DeWine’s order to close nonessential businesses and have residents stay at home goes into effect tonight.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted advised businesses to read the order to determine it they are considered essential or not.  Anyone who suspects a violation should contact their county health department, he said.  

Lt. Gov. Husted said Ohio has been asked by the federal government not to release unemployment numbers. He acknowledged that the state website to file and get information on unemployment compensation was overloaded. He said it should be up and running soon.

Gov. DeWine also ordered all daycare centers be operating under a pandemic childcare license by Thursday with all slots reserved for parents who are healthcare workers and first-responders.  Empty slots can then go to other families, he said.

Ohio residents ordered to stay at home

On Sunday (March 22), Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a stay-at-home order for all residents to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed the order that will begin 11:59 p.m. Monday (March 23) and last until April 6. But the order could be extended.

“Time is of the essence and we have to buy that time,” Gov. DeWine said during the daily press conference on Sunday.

The state also has ordered all nonessential businesses to close.

Gov. DeWine said he has asked the General Assembly to consider suspending standardized testing this year for public schools. State lawmakers are expected to meet this week to look at this and other issues.

Dr. Acton said Ohio has 351 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from Feb. 7 through Sunday morning with 83 of those people needing hospitalization. The age range is 1 through 93 with the median age of 51. Three people in Ohio have succumbed to COVID-19 including residents from Cuyahoga, Erie and Lucas counties.

Under the stay-at-home order, residents will be able to go outside to exercise and even go to a park, Gov. DeWine said, but playgrounds where close contact is possible will be closed.

Dr. Acton urged residents to maintain the practice of physical distancing, staying at least 6 feet apart from others.

Residents also will be permitted to go to grocery stores, take-out restaurants and pharmacies for their essential needs. Deliveries to homes will be permitted under the order, he added.

People with jobs in essential businesses, such as hospitals and grocery stores, can still report to work, he said. Residents who need to care for a family member, friend or pet will be permitted to do so, he added.

Gov. DeWine also ordered restrictions in daycare centers for children. Although the number of children has dramatically declined in the centers since concern over the virus surfaced, he said, limits are needed starting on Thursday. The new restrictions include a ratio of one teacher to six children in each classroom limiting shared space.

Social distancing doesn’t work when there are a large number of children together, the governor said.

Gov. DeWine said state-subsidized child daycare centers are down from 117,000 children earlier this year to 17,000 today. Although the state does not have exact numbers of children in private daycare centers, the estimate was 183,000 before the onset of coronavirus to about 40,000 statewide now.

Dr. Acton expressed optimism that better days will come to Ohio, but sacrifices must be made now.

“There’s no time left, listen to what Italy is telling us. Today is the day,” Dr. Acton said referring to the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the world. “This is a war on a silent enemy. I am not afraid, I’m determined.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said despite anticipated layoffs, companies that provide essential services are hiring including Amazon, grocery stores, drug stores and restaurants that deliver, to name a few.

COVID-19 deaths rise to three in Ohio as of Saturday

As of Saturday (March 21), Ohio had three deaths linked to coronavirus, state Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton announced during the administration’s daily press conference.

The number of COVID-19 cases rose to 247 with 58 people being cared for in hospitals across Ohio, she said. One death was a 91-year-old man from Cuyahoga County and another in Erie County. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 78 between Friday and Saturday.

Dr. Acton said the state is “withholding most of our testing in our lab because we are running out of reagent.” There are clusters of cases in Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, Dayton and Tuscarawas County, she added.

Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all adult day care facilities that have more than 10 people closed adding that provision have been made for remote care of these individuals with development disabilities. Small group service can remain open, he added.

Dr. Acton asked Ohio residents to take the governor’s directive seriously. It’s a fallacy to think that states in middle America will not be as hard hit as coastal states such as New York and Washington, she said.

“I implore you to go to the local level and see what’s happening,” Dr. Acton said using Cuyahoga as an example. The county’s Health Commissioner Terry Allan and his staff have been working to triage the system and create tiers of doctors to administer care, she said.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced that companies can defer Bureau of Workers’ Compensation payments for March, April and May that would provide a little relief in difficult times and leave $200 million in the economy. This covers 249,000 public and private employers, he said.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is granting weight waivers to haulers so that larger amount of essential goods can be delivered around the state, Lt. Gov. Husted said.

Ohio Department of Mental Health Director Lori Criss, speaking via video from her home, encouraged residents to keep their appointments with mental health professionals. Many are offering video conferencing sessions, she said.

Although physical distancing is necessary, she said, keeping in touch with family and friends is vital for everyone’s emotional well-being.

“The most important thing to know is you are not alone,” she said. “We have grit. Give your family a sense of hope.”

Ohio has first death due to COVID-19

Mark Wagoner, Sr., of Lucas County is the first to die in Ohio of the coronavirus, Gov. Mike DeWine announce Friday (March 20) at his daily news conference.

Gov. DeWine also announced the shuttering of senior centers at the close of business on Monday (March 23) and steps to keep health insurance in place for workers. He also hinted that schools could be closed through the end of the academic year.

As of Friday, Ohio recorded 169 cases of COVID-19 with an age range of 1 to 91 and median age 49, according to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. Those diagnosed with the disease include 69 females and 100 males. Dr. Acton said it is not clear why more males are coming down with COVID-19.

Mr. Wagoner, 76, passed away on March 18 in St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, according to news reports. Doctors initially thought his double pneumonia had re-emerged, but later determined Mr. Wagoner had contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus. Health officials did not confirm Mr. Wagoner’s diagnosis until tests came back on Friday (March 20).

Investigations into other possible COVID-19 related deaths are ongoing, Dr. Acton said.

Mr. Wagoner was a prominent attorney, member of the Republican Party and member of the Lucas County Board of Elections, according to Gov. DeWine.

“Each time we hear about a new death, it is about someone we loved, someone we wanted to live longer and someone who was cherished by their family and community,” Gov. DeWine said.

Dr. Acton confirmed the first cluster of COVID-19 patients in a nursing home in Miami County. Other clusters could occur, she said, but predicting when and where is difficult.

Hospitals across Ohio are at about 70 percent capacity, she said, adding that frontline healthcare employees are working diligently to care for patients. “We need to thank them. We need them to keep doing their jobs,” Dr. Acton said.

The measures in place including physical distancing and closing unessential businesses are key to slowing down the spread of this virus, she added.

But she encouraged residents to continue to help in the care for those struck down by the disease by delivering food and other essentials to the care sites.

Staying at home is “absolutely essential” for the rest of Ohioans, she said. “We’re not alone, we’re physical distancing, not social distancing.”

In announcing the close of senior citizen centers next week, Gov. DeWine said local officials need to continue programs that serve the elderly including delivering meals to their homes and providing transportation to essential places such as medical offices.

He referred to emails and text messages from residents talking about businesses that are not complying with the directives of physical distancing and having nonessential employees work at home.

“The bad behavior, reckless behavior must stop,” Gov. DeWine said. “I implore you, do what’s right.”

“Protection of life is the most important obligation I have,” the governor said of his oath of office.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced a grace period for businesses to pay premiums to health insurance companies. The 60-day period would be interest-free and ensure the continuation of coverage for employees regardless of whether their working hours are decreased, Lt. Gov. Husted said.

Despite the closure of schools, Lt. Gov. Husted said students are doing well with distance learning citing an increase in student participation through online classes in the Hilliard City School District.

Gov. DeWine said it is likely kindergarten through 12th grade schools could be closed for the rest of the academic year and standardized testing possibly waved this year.

Geauga title office to be closed to public

At the social distancing recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Gov. Mile DeWine, Geauga County Clerk of Courts Denis Kaminski has instructed her Auto Title Office to be closed to the public starting March 23 until further notice. The closure is consistent with decisions made by other government offices to combat the community spread of the coronavirus. Auto dealer transactions will not be impacted.

People in need of auto titling services are encouraged to mail the appropriate documentation and payment to the Auto Title Office:

Clerk of Courts

Auto Title Office

470 Center St. Bldg. #8 B

Chardon, OH 44024

For more information please visit or call the auto title office at 440-279-1750 which will remain open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To ensure an accurate transaction by mail, please call our Auto Title Office or view our titling-by-mail checklist.

Gov. DeWine deploys National Guard to help feed families

Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday (March 19) deployed the Ohio National Guard to help families in need, according to the governor’s office.

Services of the National Guard was put into act at the request of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and in collaboration with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks to help feed seniors, families, and displaced workers.

“Ohio’s foodbanks commend Gov. DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Adjutant General MG John C. Harris Jr., and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for their steadfast support and leadership,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We welcome these National Guard members as part of our foodbank family and thank them for their dedication and diligence in the weeks ahead. We encourage our clients and community members to join us in welcoming them with gratitude and friendship as they assist us in our important work.”

Statewide, approximately 300 National Guard members will be deployed at the 12 foodbank warehouses across the state, which provide food to Ohioans in all 88 counties. The National Guard members will assist Ohio’s foodbanks in procuring, sorting, and packing food into bags and boxes; distributing that food through “no-touch” food distributions and deliveries; and supporting other logistical needs to protect public health and safety while maintaining foodbank operations.

"We have a responsibility to respond when our governor and fellow Ohioans need our assistance," Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., said in a written statement. "We have a long history of supporting the state and nation during times of emergency. Our Guard members are coming from counties across the state to serve their own communities, ensuring their neighbors continue to receive food and pantry items."

Ohio’s foodbanks report that they have implemented several key changes to respond to need while protecting staff, volunteers and clients by minimizing person-to-person contact. Foodbanks, along with their 3,600 member food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters, have transitioned to “no-touch” food distribution using drive-through and delivery models, pre-packaged bags and boxes of food, and “to-go” meals.

"The action I've taken to activate the Ohio National Guard will provide support to food pantries that are low on staff and need help getting food to some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Gov. DeWine. "By looking out for our neighbors and following proper health safety guidelines, we will make it through this together."

Facts and Figures

Coronavirus in the United States facts and figures as of March 16, 2020.

Primary election postponed

As of 10 p.m. Monday night (March 16), the Ohio primary election for Tuesday was postponed.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Any Acton was to order the polls closed due to a health emergency, according to a press release from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office.

This announcement came about eight hours before the polls were set to open at 6:30 a.m. on March 17.

“During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus,” Gov. DeWine stated in a written statement. “While the polls will be closed (Tuesday, March 17), Secretary of State Frank LaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity."

On Monday afternoon, Gov. DeWine and other state officials said they would seek to postpone the election until June 2 in an effort to reduce large crowds that could further spread the COVID-19 virus. Officials backed a lawsuit filed by two older Franklin County residents with health issues who stated that going to the polls would make them fear for their lives and violate their constitutional rights.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard A. Frye said no to the lawsuit explaining that state officials could not guarantee June would be any safer.

“There are too many factors to balance in this unchartered territory to say that we ought to take this away from the legislature and elected statewide officials, and throw it to a Common Pleas court judge in Columbus 12 hours before the election," Judge Frye said before issuing the ruling.

As of Monday night, no election was to go forward. Mr. LaRose had not commented on any solutions to make the election go forward as of Monday night.

Geauga County has first reported COVID-19 case

Geauga Public Health has received its first reported COVID-19 case, according to Health Commissioner Tom Quade.

Mr. Quade said that the department strongly is urging all residents to adhere to Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders to abide by social distancing practices and stay home when possible.

The number of confirmed reported cases of COVID-19 continues to rise sharply in Ohio. As of this moment there is one confirmed reported case in Geauga County. The latest figures from the Ohio Department of Health show 38 confirmed cases of people that tested positive for COVID-19 statewide include one in Geauga, two in Trumbull and 14 in Cuyahoga.

Mr. Quade said that three things can be assumed: First, models suggest there are more people in Geauga County who are already infected and contagious but who are experiencing such mild symptoms that they have not sought medical care and have not been tested. Planning is currently underway to increase access to testing.

Second, the number of confirmed cases will increase moving forward. We are on the front end of this public health threat and should expect our routines to change significantly in the months to come.

Third, because there is no vaccine, the only strategies we have at hand to address the pandemic depend on everyone changing their normal behaviors such as practicing social distancing. These strategies are most effective when they are applied preemptively.

In the past few days, Gov. DeWine ordered all K-12 schools closed through April 3 at the earliest, banned gatherings of 100 people excluding religious services until further notice and closed bars and dine-in restaurants statewide. Restaurants continue to offer take-out services.

“These strategies will save lives,” Mr. Quade said. “How many lives will be saved will depend on the degree to which all Ohioans adhere not only to these orders but also the degree to which they are able to generalize the strategies voluntarily to other settings.”

Mr. Quade said he acknowledges the challenges and sacrifices this new normal will entail but stated that we are all working together to save lives.

Clinic and UH partner for drive-thru testing

Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland have partnered to provide drive-thru COVID-19 testing for patients with a doctor’s order from one of the two medical UH or Cleveland Clinic. The testing began at 11 a.m. on March 14 for Cleveland Clinic patients and on March 16 for UH patients. The testing site will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

The on-site testing will be located in the garage of the jointly-owned W. O. Walker Building in University Circle, 10524 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland. This collaboration propels the capability for rapid testing results to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Northeast Ohio.

“The entire health care community is coming together by responding with tremendous unity, everyone is looking at us to do what is right, and we will,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic. “We are working together to optimize our preparations by standing together as a team to meet the demands of our patients, our families and our communities.”

“We are fortunate to live in an area where the health care institutions have a history of coming together for the greater good of the community,” said Thomas F. Zenty, III, CEO of University Hospitals. “Most recently we showcased this cooperation with our collective response to the region’s opioid epidemic and now we are joining forces again to ensure our neighbors receive necessary and timely care to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Patients without a doctor’s order will not be offered testing at this location. To obtain a medical screening to determine testing necessity, people with symptoms should start with a virtual visit using at Cleveland Clinic’s Express Care Online or call their UH or Cleveland Clinic primary care physician.

Upon arrival to the drive-through location, patients will stay in their car and present their doctor’s order. They will remain in their car as a sample is collected.

Samples collected from this location will be sent to UH and Cleveland Clinic laboratories. Performing testing on-site at local hospitals ensures faster results than sending the samples to the state or outside lab. Results are anticipated to be available within a day. Patients will be tested regardless of their ability to pay; no copays will be charged for the test.

Cleveland Clinic and UH are testing in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. As this situation changes, our procedures will continue to evolve.

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In a period of one day, health officials reported 4,961 new positive coronavirus cases in Ohio, the highest number of new cases in a 24-hour period to date.

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