COVID-19 update: disparity, K-12 reopening, funding opportunities for businesses

R-H Staff

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, on Tuesday, June 2, provided the following updates.

Ohio disparity

Governor DeWine announced he is intensifying efforts in Ohio to improve issues of health and economic disparities, racism, and inequity.

“I am seeking dialogue to solve these problems and seeking strategies for the implementation of reforms,” said Governor DeWine. “Whether it is in the urban core or the hills of Appalachia, we have Ohioans who are not living up to their God-given potential because they simply do not have the same opportunities. That is wrong, and we have a moral obligation to change that.

“Race is indisputably a factor in all kinds of health, education, and economic disparities. The divisions of race have plagued us since our country’s inception.

“While there are no simple solutions, we must be a positive voice in advancing change for all of those who are marginalized and in creating equity in health, education, and economic opportunity.”

The efforts will include new plans to improve law enforcement access to quality training, enhancing transparency between the police and the public, recruiting more minorities to serve as peace officers, and adding more oversight to Ohio’s law enforcement agencies to ensure accountability.

Other continuing work will include addressing lead paint poisoning in children, reducing infant and maternal mortality in the African American community, increasing home visiting programs for at-risk, first-time moms, fighting the drug epidemic in Ohio, and prioritizing the availability of mental health services in Ohio’s schools for children who need them.

K-12 reopening update

Governor DeWine announced as of right now, Ohio intends to reopen schools in the fall, but individual starting dates will be up to each local school board.

In the near future, broad reopening guidelines will be issued for schools in regard to protecting the health of students and staff when the school year resumes.

Medical surgeries/procedures

Governor DeWine announced health care providers, including dentists, may resume all surgeries and procedures that had previously been delayed if they meet safety criteria, including:

•Maintaining adequate inventories of PPE, supplies, equipment, and medicine

•Creating a plan for the conservation and monitoring use of PPE, as well as other supplies and equipment that could include decontamination and reuse

•Maintaining a reliable supply chain to support non-COVID-19 cases and to respond to an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases, if needed

•Defining processes for timely COVID-19 testing of patients and staff

•Continuing the use of telehealth whenever possible.

Additional information can be found in the new Ohio Department of Health Director’s Order that Amends the Requirements for Non-Essential Surgeries and Procedures.

Ohio business funding opportunities

Lt. Governor Husted announced the creation of three programs to help small and medium-sized businesses in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency:

•Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program

•Ohio Minority Micro-Enterprise Grant Program

•Appalachian Region Loan Program

Ohio small businesses can learn more about these and other resources available through the Office of Small Business Relief and Development at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp.

Pandemic EBT Program

Ohio was approved for the federal P-EBT Program on May 12 in response to Ohio children who missed out on their free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch at school because of COVID-19. Now, children are starting to receive that benefit – representing the meals they missed – in the form of a credit to spend at local grocery stores and other retailers. Because Ohio schools physically closed for more than 50 days, the benefit amounts to approximately $300 per child.

For most of the 507,000 Ohio children who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the P-EBT benefit was loaded onto their card recently. For 343,000 Ohio children who do not currently receive SNAP benefits, a P-EBT card will be sent in the mail. This benefit is automatic. Families are not required to sign up for this program.

Families can call the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at 866-244-0071 with questions.

Current data: As of Wednesday, June 3, there were 36,792 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 2,291 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 6,251 people have been hospitalized, including 1,604 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting .

According to Preble County Public Health, as of Wednesday, there have been a total of 39 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Preble County, of which 31 have reportedly recovered and seven are active. There has been one death.

R-H Staff