• Advocacy Team

COVID-19 State Updates: April 16

On Wednesday, the state reported the total number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio increased by 511 from Tuesday to Wednesday, to reach 7,791 cases.

  • The number of deaths increased by 37 over the past day, reaching a total of 361 in the state.

  • That includes two more deaths at the Pickaway Correctional Institution which are considered "probable" from COVID-19, pending the results of tests.

  • There has been a total of 2,237 hospitalizations with 677 ICU admissions.

For the week ending April 11, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 158,678 initial unemployment claims, taking the state's total over the last four weeks to 855,197. "To put that in perspective, the total for the last four weeks of claims is 139,685 more than the combined total of 715,512 for the last two years," ODJFS said.

The Ohio Supreme Court ordered the Ohio Ballot Board to certify a statewide ballot campaign to expand voter access as a single issue.

  • The ruling overturns the board’s decision that split it into four questions.

  • The ACLU-backed campaign has joined another court case seeking permission to collect electronic signatures — or asking to waive signature requirements altogether.

Lt. Governor Husted announced that by the end of next week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will be able to begin processing the additional $600-a-week payments authorized by the federal CARES Act.

  • ODJFS also plans to launch an online tool that will allow self-employed, 1099 workers to get in line early, so that as soon as they have the technological ability to process their claims, they will already have their paperwork in and be in line for review; the department expects to be able to begin processing those claims by May 15, 2020.

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said ensuring adequate supplies of PPE and cleaning products is one of the steps to reopen non-essential businesses, and that this process will be an “incremental rollback.”

The following documents are linked to below: a checklist for safe food handling for retail food stores, restaurants, and pick-up and delivery services; modeling FAQs; a checklist for companies purchasing antibody test kits; and a checklist for long term care facilities notifying residents and their families of positive COVID-19 tests.

  • Safe food handling is here.

  • Modeling FAQ is here.

  • Antibody checklist is here.

  • Long term care is here.

In addition to previous emergency measures taken by the Ohio Department of Medicaid to help increase access to healthcare for millions of Ohioans, Governor DeWine announced Tuesday that his administration is submitting its first waiver application to the federal government, known as 1135 or Appendix K, to provide the needed flexibility to address this crisis.

  • The waiver aims to allow Ohio to bolster telehealth and other technology to be used to do health assessments and care planning; waive signature requirements for a variety of providers to ensure safe distancing without compromising access to care; ease obstacles to access nursing home care; allow services to be provided at alternative locations; and remove staffing level requirements to give providers more flexibility.

  • Once the federal government approves the waiver, it will be retroactively applied from March 1, 2020.

In response to a question on forthcoming state agency budget cuts, Governor DeWine told Hannah News he was discussing that with legislators and more details would be coming in the next few days. Maintaining coronavirus response funding would be a high priority, he added.

A bill to distribute funding made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is among several pieces of priority legislation that Ohio Senators have been working on during the last several weeks, Senate President Larry Obhof said Tuesday.

  • “For example, Senator Matt Huffman has a proposal related to liquor licenses.”

  • He also pointed to SB 301 as a priority, saying additional measures to stop price gouging are critical during a pandemic.

  • Obhof also noted forthcoming legislation from Senator Steve Huffman, which would allow physicians to delegate more authority to pharmacist collaborators, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

  • The Senate President said he doesn’t currently have plans to form a panel similar to the Ohio House 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force, but that doesn’t mean Senators haven’t been working on many of the same issues over this time.

  • When the Senate does meet again, Obhof said he anticipates the chamber will employ social distancing policies similar to those used last month. He also pointed out that while recently passed emergency legislation allows certain local government bodies and other state boards and commissions to meet remotely, it didn’t change the law with regard to the General Assembly’s requirement to vote in-person at the Statehouse.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Ohio House's COVID-19 task force met via teleconference. The Ohio House Economic Recovery Task Force, also now being referred to as the Ohio 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force, has set a meeting for Thursday at 12:30 p.m. on the Ohio Channel.

As a reminder, the Ohio Dispute Resolution Commission will evaluate and render guidance in situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion for similar businesses on what is or is not an essential business. To submit a dispute, fill out this Dispute Resolution Form. For questions, email Dispute.Resolution@odh.ohio.gov.

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