Governor Mike DeWine Thursday released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. (Photo courtesy of the Ohio Governor's Office)
Governor Mike DeWine Thursday released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. (Photo courtesy of the Ohio Governor's Office)
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Thursday provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The press conference was held in Marion at the home of President Warren G. Harding.

UPDATED COUNTY RISK LEVELS:

Governor DeWine Thursday released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map.

New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 18 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3): Ashland, Butler, Fayette, Hamilton, Lawrence, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto and Trumbull.

“We have 18 Red counties, which is more than we’ve seen since the week of July 23,” said Governor DeWine. “Additionally, there are 58 Orange counties this week, the highest ever. Ninety-six percent of Ohioans are living in a Red or Orange county. The virus continues to spread quickly throughout the state, and we need to continue staying at home when sick, wearing a mask when out, and keeping at least six feet between you and those outside of your household.”

A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio's 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website.

NURSING HOME VISITATION ORDER:

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes has signed the order that allows nursing facilities to permit indoor visitation beginning Monday, Oct. 12. In order to permit indoor visitation, facilities are required to meet certain health and safety requirements.

The visits will be limited to two visitors and will be a maximum of 30 minutes. Visitors will have to be socially distanced and wear a face covering. Visits are to occur in areas that are separate from a resident’s room.

Facilities are required to report visitation information, including visitation status, hours, maximum visitation time, and number of visitors via an online dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Facilities must register with the state by Oct. 19.

In addition, this order also details compassionate care visits, which are separate and distinct from normal visitation. These visits are not exclusively for end-of-life situations, but can also include situations where a resident was recently admitted to the home and are struggling with the change in environment and lack of family support.

Other situations can include when a resident is grieving someone who recently passed away, a resident that may need encouragement to eat or drink that was previously provided by a family member or caregiver and is experiencing weight loss or dehydration or when a resident is experiencing emotional distress.

Facilities should work with residents, families, caregivers, resident representatives, clinicians, and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program to identify the need, length and frequency of these visits.

The order is available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

H2OHIO UPDATE:

Prior to Thursday’s press conference, Governor DeWine visited the site of a future H2Ohio wetland complex in Wyandot County.

The new wetland complex, with several new and restored wetlands, will be developed at the headwaters of the Blanchard River, which flows into Lake Erie. 

H2Ohio is a comprehensive, data-driven water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure, and prevent lead contamination. An important part of this plan includes expanding and protecting wetlands throughout the state.

OHIO TASK FORCE ONE:

Governor DeWine acknowledged Ohio’s Task Force One as they were activated and deployed Wednesday to assist those impacted by Hurricane Delta in Louisiana. Ohio’s Task Force One is headquartered near Dayton, Ohio and serves as one of the top Urban Search and Rescue teams.

WOMEN’S ENTERPRISE CERTIFICATION:

Beginning tomorrow, the Ohio Department Administrative Services (DAS) will launch the Ohio Women’s Enterprise Certification (WBE). This first-of-its-kind certification will allow women-owned businesses to seek certification from the Equal Employment Opportunity office at DAS.

CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS:

Governor DeWine Thursday acknowledged Kimberly Hall, Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge for being named the 2020 Center for Community Solutions Public Service award winners.

The Center for Community Solutions awarded both Director Hall and Congresswoman Fudge for their commitment to ensuring Ohioans have access to food and nutrition services through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as for their efforts to create the Pandemic-EBT program, which provides critical assistance to hundreds of thousands of Ohio school-aged children.

DONATE LIFE:

Donate Life Ohio held Ohio’s first-ever online donor registration drive Thursday. Donate Life's “Don’t Wait, Save 8” campaign encourages Ohioans to register online to become a donor, rather than waiting until a visit to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). In Ohio, more than 3,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

FIRST LADIES FOR HEALTH - FAMILY HEALTH DAY:

The Ohio National Guard will be assisting with free COVID-19 testing in the Cincinnati-area on Sunday, Oct. 11. Testing will be available in nine Cincinnati locations from 1-4 p.m. Several of these locations also offer flu shots.

Information on testing in Cincinnati is available at FamilyHealthDay.org.

Additional information about COVID-19 testing throughout the state is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov under the Testing and Community Health Centers tab.

CURRENT COVID-19 DATA:

There are 164,262 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,983 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 16,200 people have been hospitalized, including 3,395 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

Video of Thursday’s full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page. 

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.