4 confirmed cases in Champaign County

Staff and wire reports

Champaign County tallied its fourth confirmed COVID-19 case on Tuesday afternoon, according to information from the Champaign Health District. Over the past three days, the total number of confirmed cases in Champaign County has doubled.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, nearly 2,200 cases statewide are confirmed, with 55 deaths as of Tuesday and nearly 600 people hospitalized, officials reported. That doesn’t reflect all cases in Ohio, because the state limits testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers.

Gov. Mike DeWine suggested it’s likely the stay-at-home order expiring April 6 will be extended, and he hinted that some state prisoners may be released on a case-by-case basis. DeWine signaled that some state prisoners could be released soon on a case-by-case basis based on their age and medical condition. No sex offenders or serious offenders would be included, he said.

The federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed two inmates at a federal prison in Elkton in eastern Ohio have tested positive.

DeWine on Tuesday ordered mandatory weekly online reporting of ventilator manufacturing, distribution, retail supplies and overall availability, in case the state needs to move supplies around quickly.

State utility regulators have extended programs to help people with cold weather-related utility bills. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director ordered water systems to reconnect anyone whose water was disconnected after Jan. 1.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said property and casualty insurance companies, which cover damage to property and belongings, have been told they must provide a 60-day grace period before canceling policies for nonpayment.

The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, a coalition of manufacturers and hospitals, is urging companies to produce personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns and face shields.

Attorney General Dave Yost urged Ohioans to be careful of scams as federal stimulus payments begin to arrive, such as groups promising faster payment for a fee.

Scammers are trying to monopolize on fear of COVID-19

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) is receiving reports of spam calls to Ohioans from individuals claiming to be from the Ohio EMA and requesting personal protected information, such as a Social Security number. Ohio Emergency Management Agency will not call you asking for personal information.

“The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is not calling Ohioans and asking for their protected personal information,” said Executive Director Sima Merick. “If you receive such a call, it is a scam. Please hang up the phone.”

Yost and Ohio Department of Commerce Director Sherry Maxfield offer these tips to protect Ohioans from other scams:

· Watch out for emails claiming to be from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other expert sources offering special advice or information about coronavirus disease 2019. Legitimate information is available for free from the CDC coronavirus.gov or from the Ohio Department of Health at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

· Ignore advertisements promoting cures for COVID-19. There currently are no vaccines, prescription medications or over-the-counter products available to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.

· Refrain from investing in businesses touting products, services or cures for COVID-19. Scam artists try to use the market downturn and the pandemic to scare investors into so-called “safer, guaranteed investments.”

· Research nonprofit organizations and crowdfunding campaigns before donating. A database of registered charities is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. Avoid groups that pressure you into donating and never donate via cash, gift cards, wire transfer or prepaid money card. These are the preferred payment methods of scammers.

· Be watchful of anyone going door to door offering coronavirus testing or temperature readings and/or requesting personal information. Call law enforcement immediately if you see a suspicious person. Never let strangers into your home.

· Beware of emails and other attempts to “phish” for your personal, financial and/or medical information. When in doubt, do not share. If the source claims to be your bank or a government agency, confirm they are legitimate by calling the organization at a phone number you have verified.

For information on government stimulus checks, visit the Federal Trade Commission website and stay tuned for updates from reliable news sources. The government will not ask you to pay anything to receive this money and will never ask for your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number. Never give this information out.

· When online, avoid clicking on unknown links or pop-ups and never download any suspicious email attachment. Doing so could infect your devices with malicious software designed to steal your personal information or lock your computer until you pay a ransom.

https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2020/03/web1_scamgraphic.jpgGraphic courtesy of Ohio Emergency Management Agency

https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2020/03/web1_CoronaVirusLogo-37.jpgGraphic courtesy of Ohio Emergency Management Agency

https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2020/03/web1_3.31-cases.jpgGraphics courtesy of Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine

https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2020/03/web1_3.31burden.jpgGraphics courtesy of Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine

Staff and wire reports