Governor suggests stay-at-home order to extend past April 6


Announces order to prevent water shutoffs

Staff Report



COLUMBUS — During his daily news conference on Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced an order from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to prevent water shutoffs during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor also hinted that the stay-at-home order is likely to be extended beyond April 6, extending the work from home ability for state workers.

“We cannot let this monster up. We have to keep battling it. We can’t walk away or it’s going to rear up and it’s just going to kill more Ohioans,” the governor said. “So we’re not to the point where we can let up.”

Regarding water service, DeWine stated that the order from the EPA deals with maintaining public water service during the state of emergency.

The order prevents a water system from shutting off someone’s water service due to non-payment during a declared state of emergency. It also requires a water system to reconnect service to anyone who has had their water shutoff since Jan. 1, 2020.

As DeWine explained, those who are eligible to have their water service reconnected must contact their water provider and request the reconnection, which will be done without fees. DeWine added that this does not excuse the person from paying the bill, which ultimately must be paid moving forward.

The Governor also spoke about the new rapid testing available by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle. This will allow for a faster turnaround on results. DeWine emphasized the importance of fast results, reminding testing sites to send their tests to the Ohio Department of Health or a neighboring hospital with testing capabilities in order to get a result back as soon as possible.

As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Ohio reported 2,199 positive coronavirus cases in 71 counties. Twenty percent of the cases (429 cases) are healthcare workers, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Meigs County continues to have zero reported cases, while Gallia County has had one case.

There have been 55 reported fatalities. To date there have been 585 hospitalizations, 198 of those requiring admission to the intensive care unit. A total of 29,191 tests have been reported to the Ohio Department of Health.

A look at coronavirus-related developments in Ohio on Tuesday as reported by the Associated Press:

CARE

DeWine ordered mandatory weekly online reporting of ventilator manufacturing, distribution, retail supplies and overall availability, in case the state needs to move supplies around quickly.

The Columbus mayor, the local homeless board and the YMCA plan to open a shelter to house homeless people who have COVID-19 but don’t require hospitalization.

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CASES

Nearly 2,200 cases are confirmed, with 55 deaths as of Tuesday and nearly 600 people hospitalized, officials reported. That doesn’t reflect all cases in Ohio, because the state limits testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers.

For most people, COVID-19 displays mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can be more severe, causing pneumonia or death.

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ECONOMY

State utility regulators have extended programs to help people with cold weather-related utility bills. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director ordered water systems to reconnect anyone whose water was disconnected after Jan. 1.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said property and casualty insurance companies, which coverage damage to property and belongings, have been told they must provide a 60-day grace period before canceling policies for nonpayment.

The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, a coalition of manufacturers and hospitals, is urging companies to produce personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns and face shields.

Attorney General Dave Yost urged Ohioans to be careful of scams as federal stimulus payments begin to arrive, such as groups promising faster payment for a fee.

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PRISONS

DeWine signaled that some state prisoners could be released soon on a case-by-case basis based on their age and medical condition. No sex offenders or serious offenders would be included, he said.

The federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed two inmates at a federal prison in Elkton in eastern Ohio have tested positive. The Columbiana County Health Department is working with the prison, according to The Review.

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EDUCATION

Miami University will have a “virtual recognition” of graduates on May 16 and in-person recognition of 2020 graduates Sept. 11-13.

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ABORTION ACCESS

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is considering an appeal or issuing a newer, narrower order regarding elective surgeries and abortions. A federal judge ruled late Monday that a state order banning elective surgeries is unconstitutional if it prevents abortions from being carried out.

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ELECTION

The state is expected to respond to a Monday lawsuit by voting rights groups suing to extend Ohio primary election voting past the new April 28 date set last week.

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THE NEW NORMAL

DeWine indicated Ohio officials will likely soon extend the stay-at-home order issued on March 22 that runs out April 6.

“We cannot let this monster up. We have to keep battling it. We can’t walk away or it’s going to rear up and it’s just going to kill more Ohioans,” the governor said. “So we’re not to the point where we can let up.”

In Lorain, a man shot in the leg March 29 was charged by police with violating Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order after he couldn’t give a good reason for being outside, according to The Morning Journal.

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The Daily Sentinel managing editor Sarah Hawley contributed to this report. Associated Press information written by Andrew Welsh-Huggins. Associated Press writers Dan Sewell in Cincinnati, Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Mark Gillispie in Cleveland and John Seewer in Toledo contributed to this report.

Announces order to prevent water shutoffs

Staff Report