Ohio Governor Mike DeWine continues to hint that Ohio is ready to come out of lockdown. He sported a Shawnee State University tie as he told Ohioans that he had asked business leaders for a plan on how to reopen businesses.
He warned that “The monster is still out there. The challenge that I’ve laid out to the business community is that I know you want to reopen. How are you going to do that and keep employees safe?”
Also on today’s agenda, promises to improve unemployment and PPE for first responders. Here’s the four-part breakdown from today.
- Cases Presumed – 7,791
- Cases Confirmed – 7,628
- Hospitalizations – 2,237
- ICU Admissions – 677
- Deaths Presumed – 361
- Deaths Confirmed – 346
- Nursing Home Residents – 700
- 87 out of 88 Counties have reported cases
- 71,000 tests have been run.
Dr. Amy Acton once again brought up ‘universal masking‘ and emphasized the importance of wearing cloth masks. “These masks are part of the future. It’s so frustrating that we don’t have the weapons that we wish we had. Don’t stop fighting this war, Ohioans.” She held up a mask and added, “Use this.”
Acton said that there have been a lot of reporting issues with test results.
“A lot of our systems are old. We are fighting to modernize them. On a weekend in one given small hospital, maybe the person who reports was out that day. Often times we find that weekends can be tricky.”
PPE For First Responders
Governor DeWine announced that Battelle would now provide mask sterilization for all first responders.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol will handle collection and transport of N95 masks for law enforcement and EMS.
EMS and police can bring their masks to the Highway Patrol. OHP will deliver to Battelle then pick up and return. OHP will be sending out guidelines to first responders. DeWine says there will be a two to three day turnaround.
- Tested 798
- Positive 150
- Pending 529
- Negative 119
The Governor said, “Earlier today I approved the early release of 105 inmates.” He said the inmates had 90 days or less to serve on their sentences and were not violent offenders. He said they would continue to look at prisoners when they come within 90 days of release.
The Ohio prison population has dropped by 311 inmates in the past week. He said expect to see the inmate population continue to drop.
Elective Medical Procedures
DeWine said he’d just had a lengthy call with representatives from Ohio hospitals about resuming elective medical procedures. The main challenge is making sure there’s enough PPE to go around.
“I asked the hospitals of the Sate of Ohio to come up with a plan that would allow them to move forward with delayed health care.”
He said he gave them a week to come up with a plan and will share next week “It’s the first step back as we move forward. I’ve asked them to be mindful of the PPE challenge.”
He also signaled that Ohio could be open for business sooner rather than later.
“I’ve also asked each industry in the state to start putting their best protocol together as to how they will protect their employees. How they will protect their customers when they are allowed to open up again.”
DeWine expressed hope that these businesses could learn from the safe workplace practices of essential businesses
Unemployment Will Step Up Customer Service
Lt. Governor Jon Husted said there is no excuse for the poor customer experience many have had with the state’s unemployment system but he did offer an explanation of the problem.
The system was built in 2004. It’s not a cloud-based system. They have a plan to create one but that system doesn’t exist right now. It worked fine when the unemployment rate was 4%.
Pre-pandemic, there were 42 people in the call center. That was sufficient. More claims were filed in the last month than in the last two years.
Here’s what Husted promised ODJFC would do to improve unemployment this week.
- Add text to speech capabilities
- Add an additional 337 staff members
- Introduce an interactive voice technology to answer frequently asked questions
Here’s what you can expect by end of next week:
- Launch of a virtual call center
- Begin processing additional $600 week payment authorized under CARES Act
- Launch an online tool for self-employed 1099 workers
- Launch e-application improvements
“I will also add something that is very important. Remember to add the mass layoff number of 2000180,” he said.
“This process will not stop improving until everybody is served.”