COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, on Wednedsay thanked Ohioans who are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and urged everyone to continue their efforts.
“The fear I have when we have silent victories is that people will start to say that COVID-19 was never there to begin with or that there was never a threat,” said Dr. Acton. “Please know that this battle is still ongoing. We are blessed that we had early mitigation, but we need to stay there. There is no way out of this without what we’re doing together. Please continue to stay home.”
Correction officer death
Governor DeWine also announced Wednesday a member of Ohio’s state-employee family, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Officer John Dawson, died after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 30.
Officer Dawson, 55, of Mansfield, had been a corrections officer at the Marion Correctional Institution since 1996. He most recently worked in the control center handing out equipment to staff.
“Our hearts go out to John’s family, friends, and his co-workers,” said Governor DeWine. “His death reminds us that, although Ohio is doing well compared to other states, we are still seeing a large number of deaths. These are all people who were loved, and our hearts go out to everyone who has lost a loved one to COVID-19.”
Personal protective equipment shortage
The personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage in Ohio remains severe. Governor DeWine made a plea to healthcare workers using N95 masks to send them to Battelle which can serialize up to 160,000 masks each day, making them reusable up to 20 times.
“I want to make a public plea to everyone using these masks – every mask is precious, please don’t throw them away,” said Governor DeWine. “We are trying to get more N95 masks in Ohio, but we still don’t have enough. When you throw a mask away you are depriving someone else of having a mask because we only have so many.”
Hospitals should contact Battelle at battelle.org to arrange for mask sterilization.
Governor DeWine also thanked Apple and Apple CEO Tim Cook for recently donating 100,000 N95 masks to Ohio for frontline healthcare workers. The masks will be added to Ohio’s stockpile for distribution.
More PPE donations for frontline workers are still urgently needed. To donate, please visit coronavirus.ohio.gov
Since Ohio’s stay at home order began on March 22, Ohio has seen approximately a 50-percent drop in child abuse and neglect cases because those who typically report suspicions of abuse – such as teachers, coaches, child care providers, and school counselors and nurses — aren’t seeing children every day.
Governor DeWine urged everyone to report any suspected abuse or neglect by calling 855-OH-CHILD.
Proposed $1.6 billion dividend
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine also announced he has asked the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to give up to $1.6 billion to Ohio employers to help ease the economic impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s economy and business community.
The proposed amount equals 100% of the premium employers paid in policy year 2018. As in previous years, the dividend is possible because of strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management.
BWC provides workers’ compensation insurance to more than 248,000 private and public employers in Ohio. Should the proposed $1.6 billion dividend total be approved by BWC’s Board of Directors:
An estimated $1.4 billion would go to private employers.
Approximately $200 million would go to local government taxing districts (counties, cities, schools, etc.).
BWC has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions document to provide information about the COVID-19’s impact on BWC operations. BWC’s Board of Directors will hold an emergency meeting Friday to vote on the proposed dividend. Once approved, BWC will begin to mail the checks to employers later this month.
Current ohio data
As of Wednesday, there were 5,148 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 193 deaths. A total of 1,495 people have been hospitalized, including 472 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.