COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A look at developments related to the coronavirus as Ohio tests for additional cases after confirming its first five.
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered schools closed for three weeks beginning Monday.
Dewine explained, via Twitter, “At the close of school on Monday is when the school closure starts until April 3. All K-12 schools: Public, private, charter.”
Superintendents at Meigs, Eastern and Southern Local Schools clarified that schools will be closed beginning on Monday, March 16, meaning Friday, March 13 will be the last day of school before the extended break.
He acknowledged the disruptions it will mean for families but said it’s necessary to help prevent the spread of the virus. The announcement came as Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order banning gatherings of over 100 people. The ban is not absolute and exempts work places, religious gatherings, weddings and funerals, and other events. Numerous cancellations preceded the announcement across the state. Ohio State University canceled the annual football team scrimmage dubbed the Spring Game, scheduled for April 11, an event that regularly attracts tens of thousands of fans to Columbus. Cincinnati canceled its Findlay Market Opening Day Parade on March 26, a 100-year tradition on the Reds’ opening day. The Cleveland Orchestra canceled three concerts scheduled for this week. Schools had already canceled concerts and other school performances.
Health officials say five people in the state have tested positive for the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. Ohio is currently testing 52 people who have shown symptoms of respiratory distress and has cleared another 30 people.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
In Cuyahoga County, judges, prosecutors and the sheriff’s office have agreed to allow as many low-level offenders as possible to reach plea bargains as a means of getting them out of jail to reduce the risk of the virus spreading through the inmate population. Nearly all Ohio’s public colleges and universities are now temporarily moving to online or remote learning, as are many of the private schools. Attendance at Ohio high school postseason tournaments will be limited to relatives of athletes, the media, coaches and school administrators. Nursing home visits are sharply restricted, and multiple polling places have been moved from senior centers ahead of the March 17 primary.
The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content with the exception of the status of local school districts which was added to this report by Ohio Valley Publishing.