City of Urbana declares emergency

Staff and wire report

The statewide COVID-19 confirmed case tally was 3,312 on Friday with 91 deaths. That doesn’t reflect all cases because the state limits testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers.

Champaign Health District reported the total number of confirmed cases here remains at 4.

Urbana Mayor Bill Bean signed an executive order and proclamation on Friday declaring a state of emergency in the city due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The local order will stand until Ohio’s leaders determine the need for it no longer exists.

Primarily, the order suspends requirements and regulations ordinarily in place so the city can continue to purchase and procure needed items to protect the citizens of Urbana, as well as meet payroll to ensure city employees “continue to discharge duties” for the duration of the emergency.

All public meetings, boards and commissions which continue to meet shall comply with the “social distancing” requirements. Efforts will be made to acquire technology to conduct public meetings electronically by appearing via remote access such as video conferencing, so long as all members can be seen and heard, and so long as the meeting is broadcast live to the public.

According to the declaration: “All citizens are called upon and directed to comply with necessary emergency measures, to cooperate with public officials and disaster service forces in execution of emergency operation plans, and to obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.”

Ohio response update

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks has asked for $25 million in emergency state assistance to respond to record-breaking requests for food distribution. Executive Director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt also encouraged private monetary contributions and urged Ohioans to stop hoarding food.

“If you have enough, please make sure that your family, friends and neighbors have the food that they need,” Hamler-Fugitt said. “Hunger is just six doors away, and it looks a whole lot like you and me.”

Food bank operators say as many as one in three clients are new to the food bank system since the pandemic hit.

Ohio University’s medical school is deploying about 250 third-year students to local health agencies to assist in efforts to contain the pandemic.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Ohio State University and the state Health Department are working to boost made-in-Ohio supplies of coronavirus testing swabs, tubes and transport liquids.

Chemical Abstracts Service, a Columbus-based chemical research clearinghouse, has released an open access dataset of chemical compounds with known or potential antiviral activity to help support research, data mining and analytics applications involving COVID-19. The nearly 50,000 chemical substances extracted from the clearinghouse’s proprietary registry of compounds are now available for download by scientists and other researchers.

The crisis is beginning to take down summer festivals, among them southern Ohio’s Washboard Fest in Logan, the Columbus Arts Festival and the Troy Strawberry Festival, which all were scheduled for June and announced cancellations or postponements.

Wayne National Forest in eastern Ohio temporarily closed its developed campgrounds and prohibited all camping at trailheads. The state closed Hocking Hills State Park, home to Old Man’s Cave, because trails are too narrow for social distancing.

Shawnee State University in Portsmouth joined numerous universities in announcing a virtual graduation, on May 9, with an in-person opportunity in December, the Portsmouth Daily Times reported.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is thanking its workers by lighting bridges in red, white and blue, including the George V. Voinovich Bridge in Cleveland, the Veterans Glass City Skyway in Toledo and the Ashtabula Harbor Bridge. ODOT also says traffic is down nearly 60% across the state since March 29.

Most houses of worship have stopped in-person gatherings, including Roman Catholics, whose Ohio bishops this week suspended all services through May 3.

Ohio community colleges donate ventilators, PPE in the state’s fight against COVID-19

Ohio’s 23 community colleges announced on Friday afternoon they have donated more than 200,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) items of medical face masks and pairs of gloves to hospitals and local first responders across the state, according to the Ohio Association of Community Colleges. Twenty-five much-needed medical ventilators are among the colleges’ donations.

“Our campuses have answered Gov. DeWine’s call to provide PPE equipment and other critically needed medical supplies to those on the frontlines,” said Jack Hershey, President and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges. “Many of these medical workers and first-responders have been educated on our campuses, so it is doubly gratifying that our colleges are able to support these graduates and their colleagues in this way.”

About 800 N95 masks, 1,150 breathing masks, 12,000 other masks and 223,000 pairs of regular and sterile gloves were donated, Hershey said.

The colleges, which are currently registering students for summer courses, are closed right now to in-classroom instruction. They have the equipment because they offer certificates and degrees in numerous health care programs, including nursing, EMT, laboratory technicians and respiratory care. courtesy of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine courtesy of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine courtesy of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine courtesy of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Staff and wire report