Update on Cases
The Ohio Department of Health’s latest report shows the state has eclipsed the 1000 death mark. There have now been 1,002 Ohioans to die from COVID-19. The Buckeye State has 18,743 total cases.
3,634 Ohioans have been hospitalized from the coronavirus; 1,056 have been admitted into the intensive care unit. Ohio has tested more than 139,000 people. The state has a positive test rate of around 13.4%.
Stay Safe Ohio Order
Ohio’s new order goes into effect today. Governor DeWine says there is not much new there that we hasn’t already been discussed, but there is a new name: Stay Safe Ohio.
“It’s not a stay at home order,” DeWine. “We have reached a new stage. But it doesn’t mean the virus has gone away.”
Governor DeWine says social distancing and face coverings are still very, very important. The new order will expire on May 29th but the Governor told Ohioans to not read too much into that date.
“We will be issuing new orders throughout the month,” said DeWine. “No one should be too fixated on the date.”
The Governor says the state is bringing people together who understand how to proactively reopen other sectors safely. Things like restaurants and barbershops were at the top of the discussion list.
“We need to keep customers and employees safe,” said DeWine. “Plus, the public needs to feel comfortable that all safety measures have been taken.”
Today, May 1, healthcare facilities can resume procedures that had been postponed. Dentists and veterinarians can reopen. On Monday, offices, industry, construction can reopen.
“I think many businesses with offices are going to have their employees work from home,” said DeWine.
May 12 is the day retail can resume. Governor DeWine announced that retail can start to schedule appointments for customers right now. Curbside can be done now as well if that business lends itself to that type of activity.
“Today, people can go shopping if they call and make an appointment in places like a jewelry store,” said DeWine. “In 11 days they’ll be able to go to any store that is open. It’s coming. We have best practices, and we believe every store that will open will be following the best practices.”
Governor DeWine said earlier in the week that the state has a restaurant advisory group and barbershop/salon advisory group that has begun working on a plan to help those types of establishments reopen.
His administration is also putting together groups for libraries, travel/tourism, sports, outdoor recreation, gym, theater, childcare, adult daycare and many more businesses that have yet to open.
“The goal is to put people who work in these sectors together to determine the best way to reopen,” said DeWine. “We must continue to be careful. To look out for those who are at a high-risk. We must continue social distancing.”
DeWine says Ohio is on two tracks: staying safe and opening up.
“If you can continue doing what you have been doing, we will make it, and things will continue to open up.”
DeWine says he knows some Ohioans think the state is not moving fast enough while others think Ohio is going to fast.
“We are trying to get it right,” said DeWine. “Please remember we’re in this together, Ohio. What each one of us does impacts our families, our friends, and even complete strangers. Whether you like it or not, we’re in this together. We are one state.”
Governor DeWine says there are some things that will not happen as soon as others. Those things that cannot be controlled with distancing, like bringing large groups together.
“If we start doing that it’s not good,” said DeWine. “We must continue to stay focused. Stay disciplined. There are costs. Medical costs. Economic costs. We know the economy will not come back quickly, but we must give businesses the chance to start moving.”
Encouraging Ohioans to Wear Masks
As the state begins this transition, Lt. Governor Jon Husted had a message to all Ohioans: safety should still be the top priority.
“We know people are going out more,” said Husted. “But when you do go out, we want to make sure you have the best knowledge possible, the best standards, to stay safe.”
Husted says he does not expect all Ohioans will do the right things because the order says so.
“We had to set standards to protect the vulnerable,” said Husted. “It’s how we collectively get through this sooner.”
The Lt. Governor also spoke about wearing masks in public, saying he believes its a worthy sacrifice to make.
“I do want to say that, personally, I don’t enjoy wearing a mask,” said Husted. “I know most of you don’t enjoy it. But I’m going to wear a mask. Not because of the order, but because there are a lot of people in my life who are vulnerable.”