First local COVID-19 death

Staff and wire reports

A 56-year-old woman became Champaign County’s first COVID-19 death, according to information released by the Champaign Health District on Wednesday afternoon.

Champaign Health District Commissioner Gabe Jones said the CHD will not be disclosing specific information about COVID-19 cases to protect the privacy of the affected individuals. The local fatality increased Ohio’s death tally to 194 after the state’s daily 2 p.m. report was released.

Champaign County’s total case count remained at 5 as of Wednesday at 4 p.m.

While observing the 25th anniversary of National Public Health Week, state officials are imploring Ohioans not to squander the apparent progress made under stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 mitigation measures that began earlier in March.

“The fear I have is when we have these silent victories people say COVID-19 was never there to begin with and there never was a threat. Please know – this battle is still ongoing. Please stay home Ohio.” This comment, among many others begging for Ohioans to stay the course to stop the spread, was posted to Gov. Mike DeWine’s Twitter page.

Ohio added a few hundred new cases between Tuesday and Wednesday for a total of 5,148 positive confirmed cases out of 53,341 tested. “Because Ohio can currently only test the sickest individuals and those working on the frontlines, the total number of cases is most certainly higher,” according to DeWine’s Twitter account.

DeWine announced the coronavirus-related death of a state prison guard, while the number of prison employees with COVID-19 jumped to 48, along with 17 inmates. Marion Correctional Institution guard John Dawson, 55, has died of COVID-19, DeWine said. Dawson had worked since 1996 at Marion, where the prison system’s first positive case was reported this month.

DeWine urged institutions with surgical masks not to throw them away, but to arrange for them to be sanitized by Battelle, a private research company in Columbus that has developed a technology allowing masks to be reused up to 20 times.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has donated 100,000 N95 masks for health care workers, the governor announced. Cook is giving the virtual commencement address at Ohio State next month.

The Ohio Hospital Association released guidelines for how hospitals can allocate scarce resources, including ways to implement a triage group to determine who should receive resources when they’re not available for all patients.

Economic impact

“I want everyone who has been unemployed to please know that all eligible Ohioans will receive their benefits and any delays in processing will not reduce the amount paid,” DeWine said on Twitter.

DeWine asked the state insurance fund for injured workers to rebate $1.6 billion to employers to ease the impact of the economic shutdown.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said that even as unemployment ranks swell, nearly 500 employers have posted more than 33,000 jobs including healthcare, protective equipment manufacture and food distribution positions.

With state revenue falling, Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda said the crisis will force a re-evaluation of DeWine’s H2Ohio program, which was to begin offering farmers financial incentives this year to voluntarily adopt new agriculture practices to improve water quality throughout Ohio. Nearly 2,000 farmers applied to enroll more than 1.1 million acres, Pelanda said.

Following their mid-March closures, the state’s casinos and racinos reported a $112 million revenue drop in March compared with one year ago, a 61% drop-off, according to the lottery and casino control commissions. courtesy of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Staff and wire reports