Coronavirus

Columbus area food bank
Karen Kasler

Leaders of Ohio’s foodbanks say they are overwhelmed by the demand on their services right now. They’re urging the federal government to increase food stamp benefits by 15% and asking Ohio’s leaders to kick in $25 million dollars to help pay for emergency services. 

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton says the state could be looking at issuing protocols for all hospital staff in order to help preserve personal protection equipment or PPE.

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the extension of the Stay At Home order saying the continued practice of social distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses gives medical staff the time they need to fight coronavirus.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services agency office in downtown Columbus houses one of the largest state agencies.
Karen Kasler

Over 468,000 Ohioans have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks – that’s nearly a third more than the total number filed last year.  The coronavirus restrictions have been a huge blow to workers who lost their jobs, and the fallout has created a tremendous strain on the system that’s set up to help them.

Sign on door of Columbus area Hobby Lobby Tuesday
Karen Kasler

Hobby Lobby stores in Ohio are closed now after Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sent the company a cease and desist letter. The company had claimed it was operating as an essential business. But as Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports, that company isn't the only one that is being questioned about why they are operating as an essential business.

A stack of Ohio's newest "I Voted" stickers sit in a basket at the Franklin County Board of Elections office in Columbus.
Karen Kasler

Ohio lawmakers created the new vote-by-mail timeline after in-person voting on Election Day was canceled over coronavirus concerns but voter rights advocates fear the deadline of April 28 still does not give people enough time to cast a ballot.

Dr. Amy Acton points to a graph on a chart showing Ohio's levels of most needed medical equipment, such as masks, gowns and thermometers at a press conference on March 30, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio has gotten all that it’s likely to get from the National Strategic Stockpile of medical supplies – a plane dropped off gowns, gloves, coveralls, face shields, surgical masks and N-95 masks in Columbus Tuesday. But the state says it’s not enough for now or through the surge of COVID-19 patients that is expected in the near future.

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

The state will start tracking ventilators through a new database as part of the ongoing effort to build up capacity for the projected peak of coronavirus in Ohio.

A voter signs a petition for a signature gatherer working in Columbus last year.
Andy Chow

Backers of a planned fall ballot issue seeking to raise the minimum wage in Ohio to $13 by 2025 have filed a lawsuit, saying Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus restrictions have halted their effort.  The group says it wants more time and lowered requirements.

Fabrika Simf, Shutterstock.com

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the state from using the coronavirus order that bans elective, non-essential surgeries to stop the six clinics in Ohio that offer surgical abortions from performing those procedures.

Ohio Atty General Dave Yost
Jo Ingles

More than a week ago, the state Board of Pharmacy created new limitations for prescribing drugs commonly used to treat lupus, malaria and autoimmune diseases. Now, Ohio’s Attorney General says there is evidence some doctors might be hoarding them and potentially selling them as coronavirus therapies. 

Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at his daily coronavirus press conference on March 30, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine has extended his order to close all Ohio K-12 schools from April 3 through May 1. And he's hinting that another extension is possible.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to reporters after session on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Karen Kasler

The ACLU of Ohio has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio claiming the new absentee voting extension is "cumbersome."

The Ohio Channel

The Ohio National Guard is working with public health leaders all around the state in what they say is a coordinated effort to prepare for the peak of the coronavirus.

A colorful sign decorates the hallway at Ohio Job and Family Services.
Dan Konik

Nearly 200,000 Ohioans have filed unemployment claims in the last two weeks, and more are likely to need those benefits soon. But many are reporting still having problems getting through either by the phone lines or online, as the state has been struggling to keep up with a system not built for this kind of volume.

Statehouse News Bureau

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and some Ohio attorneys have filed an emergency lawsuit against the state.

Battelle employees process N-95 masks in the Critical Care Decontamination System.
Battelle

The Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead to Columbus-based Battelle for its full request to sterilize 80,000 N-95 surgical masks per machine per day, after issuing a letter earlier in the day permitting far less. And it comes after pressure from Ohio officials.

Dr. Kenneth Yeager talks to Jo Ingles
Dan Konik

Millions of Ohioans are staying home as ordered, as schools have closed, employers have ordered them to work remotely and entertainment options have been shut down. And hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs as businesses shuttered – perhaps temporarily or maybe permanently. All of these sudden changes are having an impact on Ohioans who are now living very different lives than just a few weeks ago.

The Ohio Channel

The state is working on building up medical capacity for when the coronavirus is expected to hit its peak, now predicted for mid-May. The state has said there could be up to 10,000 cases per day at that point. While this includes creating more spaces for patients, it also means stocking up on gear known as personal protection equipment.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted speaks at the daily coronavirus news conference on Friday, March 28.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

More than 187,000 Ohioans filed for unemployment this week, and many more are worried about their jobs and their businesses. The state has said that businesses that consider themselves essential as described by Ohio’s stay at home order can stay open, but they must be following safety guidelines. And if they’re not, they could face penalties.

With a 30 percent increase in confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 hours and a new total of 19 deaths, new projections on the spread of coronavirus in Ohio suggest the state could be seeing 10,000 cases a day by the time it peaks.

People gather outside Holy Family Church in Columbus, which does outreach to the homeless in Franklin County.
Karen Kasler

The more than 10,000 people in Ohio identified as homeless are already at a higher risk for catching communicable diseases but the coronavirus pandemic is making matters worse. 

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio is heavily relying on data and statistics in its fight against coronavirus since the state is running low on tests. Health officials say the latest research shows Ohio's social distancing is working, but there's still more to do.

Barbed wire surrounds the outside of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio's primary maximum security prison.
Daniel Konik

Seventeen people have been tested for coronavirus in five Ohio prisons – 13 results were negative and the rest are pending, and those inmates are in isolation. Those numbers come from a new daily update that the state is now providing on testing in prisons and youth facilities. 

Dr. Amy Acton gestures at the daily news conference alongside Gov. Mike DeWine on March 25, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

The state is unveiling a new dashboard for those tracking coronavirus in Ohio, with breakdowns of the data that's coming in on where those cases are and who's being tested. 15 deaths were announced today, five more than yesterday.

A box to drop off absentee ballots sits in the parking lot of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland.
Karen Kasler

The bill that made some changes across state law related to coronavirus also set a new ending for the Ohio primary, after polling places were shut down just hours before election day.

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

State officials say they are putting every resource they have into ramping up Ohio's unemployment compensation website. The site has been crashing due to the massive influx in requests.

The state's Stay At Home order has forced many people to lose their jobs or their source of income which means money can be tight when it comes time to pay rent. Gov. Mike DeWine is hinting at a possible announcement when it comes to evictions and foreclosures.

Gov. Mike DeWine gestures at his daily news conference on March 25, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

The number of coronavirus cases has grown 25% in the last day, with two more deaths added to the eight announced yesterday. And the state is starting to release more information about the data they're getting on COVID-19 in Ohio.

Senators are spaced apart for session.  They're dressed casually at the suggestion of leadership, which noted that business attire may not be laundered as often as casual clothing.
Karen Kasler

In a strong showing of unity, state lawmakers have unanimously passed a bill making a lot of changes in state law related to the response to coronavirus – but they stress that they’re only temporary. The package now goes on to Gov. Mike DeWine.

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