After saying last week that an announcement on reopening child care centers would be coming Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine said today he wasn't ready to bring forward a date or plans on that quite yet.
Ohio is set to allow retail businesses to reopen Tuesday. That means about 90% of Ohio's economy is back to work. But DeWine delayed announcing a plan for reopening child care centers, possibly leaving working parents without a place to send their kids.
DeWine said he didn't want to announce the date without having all the pieces in place, adding that mistakes he’s made in his career have come when he didn’t have all the facts.
"It is simply, simply too important to do so without making certain that we have all the best information, that we have all the right protocols in place," says DeWine.
DeWine says the plan to reopen child care must be in the best interest of the children, the daycare employees, and the families.
Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) sent a letter to DeWine saying working parents need "immediate access to reliable, safe, and quality child care."
"Working parents should not be expected to simply rely upon the flexibility of employers, especially in circumstances where remote work is not possible or the work site is not safe for children. We believe Ohio’s child care professionals are the workforce behind the workforce. If provided new guidelines and recommendations, they are extremely capable of implementing health and safety precautions, while also caring for our children," the letter stated.
The state reported 1,236 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 Monday, up 16 from Sunday. There were 23,400 confirmed cases Monday, 509 more than Sunday. Those numbers are still going up, but Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said that by and large, the state is in a plateau phase.
During a briefing on Monday, DeWine addressed the issue of testing for COVID-19. The state currently has the capacity to test about 14,000 people. But Ohio is averaging around 7,200 tests administered per day.
Acton says the next challenge is to fast track testing, connecting test labs with the people who need it.
"And we are actually looking at some unique ways to do that so that we don't miss anyone. We're actually talking about having mobile units or really swab strike teams that actually can go out and be mobile and rush those specimens," says Acton, adding that ramping up testing connections can be especially helpful in congregate living facilities, like nursing homes.
The state hopes to have the capacity to test 22,000 people a day by the end of May.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted noted that he was on a call with the working group on gyms and fitness centers, which is still working on a plan to reopen those facilities.
Acton noted that the state has found five cases in five counties that the date of onset of symptoms of COVID-19 was in January. The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Ohio was reported March 9, with the earliest estimated onset before that reported as February 12.
Acton also announced the state would perform an antibody testing study using 1,200 volunteers from around the state to gather a sample of who might have already had the virus.