COVID-19 State Updates: April 1
Everything you and your business need to know about state coronavirus response efforts for April 1, 2020.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Health reported fifty-five deaths from COVID-19 and 2,199 people were confirmed to have the virus in Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Health issued an order to track where ventilators are and how many are in Ohio. Inventory is to be reported online at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/VentInventory no later than 5:00 p.m. each Wednesday beginning April 1, 2020 until further notice. The order impacts manufacturers, producers, wholesalers, transporters, distributors, retailers, physicians, clinics, hospitals, medical facilities, and any other entity in the supply chain.
Ohio recently received a shipment of personal protective equipment from the federal Strategic National Stockpile, but state Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said it’s not nearly enough.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted reported Ohio’s unemployment compensation call center will have increased capacity. He also reiterated that unemployment benefits will be back dated to the date a person is eligible. The Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services (ODJFS) is saying it has paid more than 95,000 claimants a total of nearly $40 million thus far.
On Tuesday, Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services (ODJFS) spokesperson Bret Crow relayed the following on the $2 trillion stimulus bill that passed Congress and was signed by the President on March 27, saying it creates the following three federal programs for Americans who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19:
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers and some other individuals previously ineligible for unemployment compensation. The benefit amount will be like traditional unemployment benefits, plus an additional $600 per week. The program’s effective date is Jan. 27 through Dec. 31.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program will provide an additional $600 per week to existing benefit amounts for those in both the “regular” unemployment program and the PUA program. The average unemployment benefit in Ohio is currently about $380 a week. The FPUC program began on March 29, and benefits will be retroactive to that date.
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program will provide up to 13 weeks of additional benefits for Ohioans who exhaust their maximum 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. This program also began on March 29.
The programs above are new. ODJFS is waiting for further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. Retroactive benefits will be provided.
Husted also took an opportunity yesterday to highlight two orders related to insurance issued March 20. The first addressed a grace period for employers who cannot pay their premium; and, health insurers have been ordered to provide flexibility to maintain eligibility for health insurance. The second order he mentioned requires insurers to cover hospital bills from out-of-network providers as they would in-network care and to pay for COID-19 testing. Click here for more information.
Governor DeWine signaled the possible release of some correctional facility prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes, those that are at the end of their sentences or who may have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of dying from COVID-19.
The Governor is extending the work from home policy for state employees through at least May 1. About 18,000 state employees are teleworking currently.
JobsOhio announced it has provided a $2 million growth fund loan to Appalachian Growth Capital (AGC), which provides small business financing in the 32-Appalachian Counties of eastern and southern Ohio.
Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation announced this week that unpaid insurance premium installment amounts due for March, April, and May for the current policy year can be deferred until June 1, 2020. Learn more here.
An updated K-12 school closure order effective through May 1, 2020, can be read here.
Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign backing a ballot issue to raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $13 has sued, asking a Franklin County Common Pleas Judge to relax the state’s rules for qualifying for the ballot.“Raise the Wage Ohio” has been collecting signatures for a proposed amendment to raise Ohio's minimum wage, currently $8.70 an hour, in increments until it reaches $13 an hour in 2025. To make the November ballot, the group will need to collect 442,958 valid signatures by Wednesday, July 1.