Local coronavirus developments …


Staff and wire report



As of 2 p.m. Thursday, state officials confirmed 119 cases of COVID-19 in 24 Ohio counties with 33 cases requiring hospitalization. There were no confirmed cases in Champaign County, but Clark County and Miami County each have a case. Franklin County has 10 cases.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday recommended that businesses and workplaces begin checking employee temperatures before beginning a work shift. This is not an executive order, however, the Champaign Health District encouraged local businesses to begin checking temperatures. “We understand there may be barriers to implementing this, but we are asking that workplaces do their best to begin checking employee temperatures,” county officials said. Any employee with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher should be sent home.

The state is limiting testing to those who are hospitalized and to healthcare workers.

DeWine signed a proclamation on Wednesday that will activate approximately 300 personnel from the Ohio National Guard to assist with humanitarian efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The soldiers will support the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks by transporting, packaging and distributing food to homes in vulnerable areas, community-based locations and partner agencies in rural counties.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it received 111,055 unemployment insurance benefit applications online in the past four days.

Local news

Champaign County offices have made some changes in an effort to comply with recommendations by the governor and health officials and to help keep county employees and the public safe, while still providing services. At the county Community Center, Champaign County Engineer’s Office and Veterans Service Office, only essential visitors will be admitted. People are asked to contact offices to see if help can be provided over the phone or with a fax or email, rather than by a visit.

While some offices remain open to the public, many others are utilizing drop boxes and mail slots. Visitors can submit documents this way, rather than in person.

The Champaign County Courthouse will remain open to maintain essential court functions and operations, but anyone exhibiting symptoms is asked not to enter the building. In addition, people who are not parties to a case are asked not to attend hearings. The goal is to minimize public contact in the courtrooms. If there are any changes in court hearings, individuals will be contacted.

As this is an ever-evolving situation, offices will continually reevaluate their protocols and provide the public with information as soon as it is available. Champaign County officeholders and staff remain committed to serving the public to the best of their ability under the circumstances.

The Champaign County Animal Welfare League is following recommendations to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The shelter/rescue was closed to the general public as of Thursday. Only pre-approved applicants to adopt are invited, and that’s only by appointment. Scheduled surgeries must be rescheduled. Watch the organization’s Facebook page for updates.

PAWS Animal Shelter in an effort to protect staff, volunteers and patrons cancelled the March 27 Pins for Paws fundraiser. Money and items will be returned to those who purchased tickets or donated items.

PAWS will remain open at this time, but only those with approved adoption applications may visit the shelter at least through the end of March. See adoptable pets on the website www.pawsurbana.com or on www.petfinder.com. If interested in adopting, email pawsurbana@hotmail.com and request an adoption application, fill it out and return it (this does not commit you to adopt). Once the application is approved, an appointment to visit will be made. Surrenders will be by appointment only. Call the shelter for further info at 937-653-6233.

The Cedar Bog Nature Center is closed to the public and will remain closed until it is deemed safe to re-open. The boardwalk is open to the public with limited access hours. Those hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. These days and hours are subject to change. All activities, education programs and events are cancelled at this time. Check the website (www.cedarbognp.org) or Facebook (Cedar Bog Nature Preserve) for updates. Also call 937-484-3744 to confirm that the boardwalk is open before visiting the Bog.

Ohio state parks remain open, but park offices are closed. Park staff will continue to respond to phone calls and email inquiries. Visit ohiostateparks.org to find the park office number for each park.

CT COMM announced it will voluntarily suspend service disconnections for non-payment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately. This suspension is for residential and business customers throughout its service area. The CT lobby is closed. Customers can make payment arrangements for their bills by calling 937-653-4000, option 0 for Customer Service.

Pioneer Electric Cooperative’s inside lobbies and drive-thrus of the Piqua and Urbana facilities are closed. The offices’ drop boxes will remain available for payments. The annual Meeting on March 28 has been postponed. Non-essential face-to-face meetings and appointments may be postponed. All community room events with outside organizations have been cancelled. Cash payments are discouraged. Contractors entering Pioneer facilities will be limited. Pioneer members-consumers are encouraged to use online payment options including PayNow and SmartHub or the pay by phone options. For more info, call 800-762-0997.

The Peoples Savings Bank closed its lobbies at both locations, 10 Monument Square and 618 Scioto St., as of today. Both offices will continue drive-thru services during regular business hours. Appointments can still be made by contacting the bank at 937-653-1600 for account openings or Loan Department services.

Civista Bank lobbies were closed as of Thursday. Drive-thru service is available. Bank employees can assist customers by appointment for additional services such as deposit box access, business change orders and loan applications. Call the bank to schedule an appointment. Updates will be posted at civista.bank/coronavirus and on Facebook @CivistaBank.

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Staff and wire report