COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed the state’s first death from the coronavirus was a 76-year-old attorney from the Toledo area who recently traveled to California. Near Dayton, 11 residents of a nursing home have tested positive for the virus. A look at coronavirus-related developments in Ohio on Friday.
The Miami County Health Department said 11 residents of Koester Pavilion, a nursing facility in western Ohio, have tested positive for the virus. Tests are still pending on an additional 21 people, Health Commissioner Dennis Propes said at a Friday news conference.
The state has nearly 170 confirmed cases of the virus, with almost 40 hospitalizations. DeWine identified the patient who died as Mark Wagoner, Sr., a well-known attorney in Toledo who died Wednesday.
The state is limiting testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers. The Ohio Health Department says people with suspected symptoms should call a medical provider first, but seek immediate help if symptoms are serious, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
For most people, the virus 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, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
DeWine said he is ordering senior day care centers closed as of Monday. The centers will deliver food to seniors’ homes and transportation services to doctors’ offices will continue.
Teachers unions are lobbying lawmakers to conclude the state’s primary by late April or early May, instead of June 2, as proposed, so that nearly 100 school districts with levies on the ballot know those outcomes before making decisions about future staffing by a June 1 deadline.
DeWine said he’s received several reports of businesses failing to properly protect workers through at-home working options and proper distancing and warned if such behavior continues, “I will err on the side of protecting people.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Ohio’s application for access to low-interest loans of up to $2 million for businesses and nonprofits affected by the coronavirus’ impact on the economy.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it received 139,468 unemployment insurance benefit applications online this week, compared to 4,815 last week.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Ohio employers will be allowed to defer employee insurance premium payments for two months. And state utility regulators ordered electric, natural gas, water and wastewater distribution utilities to suspend in-person meter reading activities to avoid unnecessary social contact.
Cedar Point and Kings Island amusement parks will delay their openings until at least mid-May, park operators announced Friday.
THE NEW REALITY
State park and lodge cabins, campgrounds and day-use areas, including golf courses, remain open with visits encouraged with proper social distancing.
DeWine will push lawmakers next week, at the request of local municipalities, to permit live streaming of public meetings as long as sufficient notice is provided.
The Columbus Race for the Cure, the largest in the nationwide series of cancer research fundraisers, postponed its scheduled May 15 race.
With gyms shut down, the YMCA of Greater Cleveland was one of numerous organizations and companies offering online video workouts.
“C’mon folks. We have to be better than that.”
— Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, responding to a story relayed to him of a fight breaking out in a grocery store over toilet paper.
Associated Press writers Kantele Franko and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus and John Seewer in Toledo contributed to this report.
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