COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held off on announcing when the rest of the state’s child care centers can reopen, saying Monday that it’s essential to get the details right.
The plan is still being constructed, and the Republican governor said he did not want to rush the decision.
“Reopening child care centers is simply too important to do so without all the best information and protocols in place,” said DeWine, who indicated last week that he planned to release a plan on Monday.
With Ohio’s retail stores opening on Tuesday and many offices and factories already operating, many workers are being called back to work but don’t have anyone to look after their children. Only a limited number of child care centers that are caring for the families of essential workers are currently allowed to be open.
DeWine said he understands that child care is an important part of people going back to work, but added he wasn’t comfortable announcing how that will happen until he’s sure it’s safe for families and child care workers.
“It really is a moral imperative that we do this right,” he said.
New testing shows the first COVID-19 cases were in Ohio at least a month before anyone knew, state Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said.
Antibody testing has found that there were five cases of the coronavirus in January in five different counties, she said.
Up until now, the first three cases were reported on March 9.
Increased antibody testing will allow health officials to learn more about the disease and how long it has been spreading, Acton said.
The number of confirmed and probable deaths associated with the coronavirus in Ohio has reached 1,357, state health officials said Monday.
At least 1,236 deaths were confirmed by the Ohio Department of Health and another 121 were considered probable under guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of confirmed and probable cases neared 25,000 and hospitalizations topped 4,400, the department said.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Associated Press writer John Seewer in Toledo contributed.