COVID-19 State Updates: March 28
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Everything you and your business need to know about state coronavirus response efforts for March 28, 2020.
The latest update on coronavirus from the Ohio Department of Health shows 1,137 confirmed cases and 19 deaths, with 276 hospitalizations and 107 intensive care unit admissions. This is a 60% jump in confirmed cases over a two-day period and a 90% increase in the number of deaths. The number of cases in Cuyahoga County rose to 330 as of Friday, however these numbers may be impacted by residents from outside Cuyahoga County that are tested at locations inside the County.
The Ohio Department of Health has made substantial improvements to the state website coronavirus.ohio.gov in recent days. They continue to build out and share resources through this platform, including a new dashboard showcasing some of the key statistics.
Following unanimous votes in both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate earlier in the week, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 197 into law on Friday afternoon. A summary of the emergency legislation can be found here. GCP issued a letter to the Governor on Friday highlighting the Northeast Ohio business community’s appreciation for the swift work on the bill.The main provisions of the bill impacting businesses are below:
On unemployment, the state measure codifies the following:
Waives first week waiting period
Changes eligibility to include COVID-19 related unemployment situations
Waives work search requirement
On the tax filing, it aligns Ohio with the federal government:
Moving the tax filing deadline from April 15th to July 15th
Extends date for estimated payments
Waives interest payments (penalties already able to be waived)
Not withstands the “20-day rule” under municipal income tax for employees working from home during the health emergency plus 30 days
Extends due date of the state-administered municipal net profit tax
The aforementioned law also modified the statutes surrounding the Ohio primary originally planned for March 17th. The provision extends absentee voting by mail until April 28th. An absentee ballot can be requested here. As a result of the passage of the law, the Ohio Democratic Party dropped its lawsuit against Secretary of State Frank LaRose challenging the authority to cancel in-person voting on the original date.
On Thursday, Speaker Larry Householder announced the creation of a bipartisan task force to prepare the state for economic recovery following the coronavirus challenges. In a prepared statement Speaker Householder said, “we don’t know yet when the COVID-19 situation will improve to the point that Ohio businesses can reopen and people can get back to work, but we need to prepare now for the future.” The Speaker also encouraged the Governor to form a task force of employers.
Lt. Governor Husted announced a new “Ohio. Find It Here.” campaign to support businesses in the state challenged with the coronavirus. Among other highlights, the site features Ohio restaurants offering carryout, retailers, and virtual activities. More information here.
Governor DeWine, Speaker Householder and Senate President Obhof announced the “State of the State” address planned for next week (March 31st) would be postponed.
At the Friday daily coronavirus press conference, Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton spoke at length about the anticipated pace of the spread of the disease. They spoke of recent conversations with Cleveland Clinic and Ohio State University who are modeling scenarios for the spread of the disease. The Administration is anticipating the disease will peak in mid-May. At the time, we should expect to see roughly 6,000 to 10,000 confirmed cases daily. The Administration is working closely with the hospital and health care community to drastically expand capacity across the state. There is a sense that 2 to 3 times our existing healthcare capacity will be needed when the disease peaks in Ohio. The state has been divided into six regions and regional plans are being prepared and finalized to address this drastic increased need in capacity. Draft plans were due to the Administration today and a final plan is expected by Monday.