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Ohio: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

OHIO

February 25, 2021:

On February 25, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio will soon lift COVID-19 restrictions on sports venues, banquet halls, wedding receptions, and more. Ohio sports venues will be able to have fans at games again, up to 25% capacity at indoor venues and 30% at outdoor venues. The venues must require mask wearing for employees and customers, arrange seating in pods of no more than six people, and separate groups of spectators by at least 6 feet.

Forthcoming health orders will outline rules for sports venues, restaurants, and catering and banquet facilities to take effect Monday. Those orders will affect proms, weddings, and other spring and summer events. Governor DeWine said he plans to announce further changes to rules for fairs, festivals, and parades.

Ohio will get 91,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the first week after it receives authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration. In addition, Ohio expects to get 310,000 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines next week. Snow days have delayed shots for some school employees, but the first round of vaccine doses for that group should conclude next week.

Whenever Ohio moves into the next phase, eligibility will be based on age: first people age 60-64, then 55-59, followed by 50-54. The start date of the next phase has not yet been determined.

February 23, 2021:

On February 22, 2021, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted announced that the delivery of some Pfizer vaccines and all Moderna vaccines were delayed due to last week's winter weather.

As the number of long-term care facility cases in the state continues to drop, Governor DeWine today reminded nursing home staff and families of residents about the status of visitation in Ohio's nursing homes. Visitation is permitted at nursing homes in Ohio if the facilities meet the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria:

  • No new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days;
  • The facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing; and
  • CMS reports the COVID-19 county positivity rate at less than 10%.

Compassionate care visits, which are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, are always permitted regardless of the criteria above.

Governor DeWine sent a letter today to all long-term care facilities in Ohio reminding them to check their county positivity rate every week to determine their visitation status and to remind them to allow for compassionate care visits.

Governor DeWine provided information on the progression of vaccine eligibility in Ohio. Because those aged 65 and older make up approximately 87% of all COVID-19 deaths in Ohio, no additional age groups are eligible for the vaccine at this time. Once the demand for the vaccine has been met for those 65 and older, those aged 60 and older will become eligible, followed by those aged 55 and older, followed by those aged 50 and up. Individuals in specific small groups that have an increased risk of exposure to the virus may also potentially be included in the 60 and older vaccination phase.

Last week, vaccine eligibility opened to Ohioans born with certain conditions or who had early childhood conditions that continued into adulthood. Today, Governor DeWine asked Ohio hospitals and doctors with access to the vaccine to reach out to patients with the specific medical conditions outlined in Phase 1B to schedule vaccinations.

February 22, 2021:

On February 18, 2021, Governor DeWine announced that vaccine eligibility are available to Ohioans born with certain medical conditions or those who were diagnosed in early childhood whose conditions continued into adulthood. Additionally, Governor DeWine again asked vaccine providers to collect and report accurate and complete data on vaccine administrations, including race, ethnicity, age, and category of eligibility.

February 18, 2021:

On February 18, 2021, Ohio's chief medical officer, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, stated that the new, more contagious form of COVID-19 has recently appeared across the state. The B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the United Kingdom variant, is perhaps the best-known mutation of the virus. The variant first appeared in the fall of 2020 and was detected in the United States in late December, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Late last month, researchers in Cleveland reported Ohio's first case.

"We know B.1.1.7.'s here," said Dr. Vanderhoff. "Exactly how much B.1.1.7. is either in Ohio or in the rest of the country is not clear, but the evidence would suggest that we're early in the B.1.1.7 growth." Dr. Vanderhoff further stated that he expects B.1.1.7 will become Ohio's "dominant variant by the time we get into late March and early April." Dr. Vanderhoff urged Ohioans to wear masks and maintain social distancing to reduce the spread of variants. Fortunately, both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are effective against this variant.

Additionally, due to severe weather, the CDC has notified NCDHHS that there may be delays in some shipments of COVID-19 vaccines this week. NCDHHS said it will continue working with the CDC and vaccine providers to help minimize the potential effects of these delays.

February 15, 2021:

On February 11, 2021, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Addendum to Director’s Third Amended Order that Reopens Restaurants, Bars, Banquet and Catering Facilities and Services to Dine-In Service, with Exceptions. This amended order, which went into effect on February 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m., reopens self-service food stations in restaurants, bars, and banquet and catering facilities as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Customers must wear facial coverings while using self-service food stations or in line for self-service food stations. Those unable to wear a facial covering must be served by an employee.
  • Buffet tables/salad bars must be spaced a minimum of 6 feet away from customer seating/tables, and lines must not extend into seating areas.
  • Customer flow at buffet tables/salad bars must move in one direction with a beginning point and ending point, and customers must maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing while in line. Directional signage must be posted indicating where the customer line begins.
  • Hand sanitizer must be placed at self-serve food stations, including at the front of the line and end of the line of buffet tables/salad bars, and used by customers prior to, and after, serving themselves.
  • At least 6 feet of social distancing must be maintained between seated customers and customers in line for a buffet/salad bar and monitored by employees.
  • Serving utensils must be replaced or cleaned and sanitized at least hourly. It is recommended that customers use disposable napkins, tissues, wax paper, etc., when handling serving utensils, and operators of self-service food stations are encouraged to make them available. A trash receptacle should be conveniently located.
  • Use of individually packaged condiments is recommended instead of shared or bulk condiment dispensers.
  • Commonly touched surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
  • While in operation, self-serve areas must be continually monitored by staff who are trained in food safety, including monitoring customer hand sanitizing practices at the self-service food station.
  • Food must be protected from contamination, including sneeze guards on self-serve equipment.
  • Signage must be placed at self-service food stations requiring customers to use hand sanitizer before and after serving themselves, and to maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing while in line. The signage should recommend that customers use disposable napkins, tissues, wax paper, etc., when handling serving utensils. A sample sign is available on Ohio’s coronavirus website at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/responsible-restart-ohio/Posters-and-Signs (food service operations and retail food establishments may choose to develop their own signage).

On February 12, 2021, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio received a total of 214,525 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week. A total of 223,025 first doses are scheduled to arrive in Ohio during the week of February 15. The federal retail pharmacy program will soon begin allotting doses to Ohio's more than 160 Rite Aid pharmacies. Vaccine distribution will also expand into all 194 Kroger pharmacies.

Those with specific medical conditions that put them at a very high risk of dying from COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccinations next week. Ohioans born with certain medical conditions, or those who were diagnosed in early childhood whose conditions continued into adulthood, qualify to be vaccinated beginning on February 15.

February 11, 2021:

On February 11, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine lifted Ohio’s curfew. Governor DeWine stated the curfew could be reimplemented if case numbers rise again.

February 10, 2021:

On February 9, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine announced progress toward the goal of getting K-12 students back into the classroom by March 1. In December, 45% of Ohio students were attending school remotely full-time, but today, less than 15% of Ohio students are still attending classes completely online.

Governor DeWine also requested that school districts design plans to meet the needs of the students in their districts that include ending the school year later than scheduled, beginning the new year early, or even extending the school day. Summer programs, tutoring, or remote options could also be considered. School districts should provide their plans to the public and General Assembly no later than April 1.

The Ohio Development Services Agency is now distributing $100 million in federal funding to help low-income Ohioans who do not own their own home pay their rent, water, sewer, wastewater, electric, gas, oil and/or trash removal bills. Ohioans can apply for assistance with outstanding balances dating back to March 13, 2020, assistance for future rent/utility payments once back bills have been made current, and assistance for future rent and utility assistance for three months at a time.

Eligible Ohio households must:

  • Be at or below 80% of their county’s Area Median Income (varies by county and size of household);
  • Have experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; and
  • Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

The funding, which was approved by the Ohio Controlling Board for distribution, will be divided among Ohio’s 47 Community Action Agencies. Ohioans can apply for assistance by contacting their local Community Action Agency. A list of agencies can be found at businesshelp.ohio.gov under Home Relief Grants.

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's maintenance COVID-19 vaccine program plan to ensure residents and staff within nursing homes and assisted living facilities have continuing access to the life-saving vaccine is nearly complete. The plan will outline how nursing homes and assisted living facilities will move forward to vaccinate new residents, new workers, and workers who initially declined the vaccine but are now willing to be vaccinated. The plan will leverage existing relationships between nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and the pharmacies that regularly provide them with prescription drugs.

In preparation for the release of this plan, Governor DeWine urged administrators for long-term care and assisted-living facilities to find out if their facility already has a pharmacy provider that can administer the vaccine.

February 4, 2021:

On February 2, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine outlined the steps that Ohio has taken and will take moving forward to address inequities in healthcare related to vaccine accessibility.

  • Instead of offering the "mega vaccination sites" as seen in other states, Ohio's vaccination plan focuses on ensuring that there are multiple vaccine providers in every county in the state. This week, more than 700 providers across Ohio are receiving the vaccine to help ensure that Ohioans have access to vaccine close to home.
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) serve highly vulnerable neighborhoods, and Ohio's vaccination plan offers vaccines at these facilities for equitable distribution. More than 60 of these centers are receiving vaccine this week. Ohio is working with FQHCs, faith-based communities, and local health departments to pilot pop-up vaccination sites in at-risk communities. Two sites were hosted at an FQHC in Columbus last week, and another pop-up vaccination site is scheduled this week in Cleveland.
  • The Ohio Department of Health is working with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to provide transportation options for those who want to receive the vaccine but face transportation barriers.
  • Many local health departments are partnering with organizations that work to serve African American, Hispanic and Latino, and other underserved groups to provide education and offer opportunities for vaccination when the vaccine becomes available. In addition to newspaper, television, and radio advertisements focused on reaching underserved populations, Ohio will also launch a series of virtual town hall meetings to gain a better understanding of the barriers to vaccination and develop solutions. The events will be coordinated in partnership with Ohio's Minority Health Vaccine Advisory Group, whose mission is to help advise the Ohio Department of Health on how to best deliver the vaccine to underserved populations and better ensure equity. The townhalls will be live-streamed during the week of February 22.
  • Next week, the Ohio Department of Aging, in partnership with key state and local organizations, will off­er on-site vaccination clinics at affordable senior housing communities as part of its Regional Rapid Response Program. On-site clinics will be coordinated with support from the Ohio National Guard.

The state also announced those currently eligible to receive vaccine in Ohio are:

  • Those 70 years of age and older;
  • Teachers and school personnel who are necessary for in-person learning in specified counties; and
  • Individuals with severe congenital, early-onset, or inherited conditions and with developmental or intellectual disabilities (who should have been contacted by their local county board of developmental disabilities to schedule their vaccination).

On February 8, the state plans to move to vaccinating those ages 65 and up. Governor DeWine said Ohio will remain in the 65+ stage for several weeks as there's a large number of people in that category.

As of February 2, 2021, the state announced that first doses of the vaccine have been administered in 100 percent of Ohio's 920 skilled nursing facilities. The second dose has been given in 89 percent of facilities. Of Ohio's 645 assisted living facilities, Ohio has administered first doses in 86 percent of these facilities, and second doses have been administered in 48 percent of facilities.

On February 4, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine announced the two vaccine manufacturers will soon be sending more doses to Ohio. Pfizer has been sending 73,000 doses to Ohio each week but plans to increase its federal shipments by 40% later this month. Ohio should see a similar boost in its allocation, with the number of weekly doses shipped to Ohio doubling by the end of March. Moderna will also be sending Ohio more doses this month, up from 73,200 doses per week two weeks ago to 105,600 for next week.

Around Valentine's Day, state health officials will roll out a statewide web portal that will have all vaccine providers listed in one place to facilitate easy sign-up. In the next few days, vaccine providers will receive a notice to register to participate in the new system.

February 2, 2021:

On February 1, 2021, Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted unveiled their Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2022 to 2023. The Investing in Ohio Initiative within the proposed Executive Budget includes $460 million to support Ohio’s small businesses. The proposal includes:

  • Investing $200 million in grants for bars and restaurants;
  • Investing $150 million in grants for Small Business Relief Grant applicants who previously applied and are qualified;
  • Investing $50 million in grants for lodging industry businesses;
  • Investing $40 million in grants for indoor entertainment venues; and
  • And investing $20 million in grants for new businesses, many of whom were unqualified to receive previous funding.

The Investing in Ohio Initiative includes a targeted investment of $200 million to support infrastructure projects with the goal of attracting new jobs and adding investment opportunities to the state. Additionally, the budget makes an investment towards broadband internet expansion by providing $250 million to help bridge the digital divide.

The proposed Executive Budget "blue book," including Governor DeWine's full budget recommendations, and budget highlights, can be found on budget.ohio.gov.

January 28, 2021:

On January 27, Governor Mike DeWine and Stephanie McCloud, director of the Ohio Department of Health, signed a modified curfew order on Wednesday evening rolling back the 10 p.m. curfew to 11 p.m. beginning Thursday, January 28, and continuing through noon on February 11, 2021. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Ohio remained below 3,500 on Wednesday, which triggered the relaxation of the state-instituted overnight curfew on residents. With Wednesday’s total, restrictions on residents’ after-hours movements from their homes will shift from 10 p.m.–5 a.m. to 11 p.m.–5 a.m. for the next two weeks.

Governor DeWine said reduction of hospitalizations for seven straight days to beneath 3,000 would move the curfew back to midnight, with another seven-day stretch below 2,500 eliminating the curfew. The two-week time frame anticipated for each could be compressed, he said. Increases in hospitalization rates would lead to a return of longer curfew hours, Governor DeWine cautioned.

The Ohio Department of Health released an updated COVID-19 travel advisory map Wednesday with 14 states listed. Ohioans are encouraged to avoid Oklahoma, Alabama, Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Utah and Texas.

January 27, 2021:

On January 26, Governor DeWine officially announced the new plan for Ohio's 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew that is contingent on the hospital utilization statewide.

The Ohio Department of Health has recommended that Ohio's curfew be amended to 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. when COVID-related hospital utilization drops below 3,500 for seven consecutive days. As of today, hospitalizations have been below 3,500 for the past six days. If hospitalizations remain at this level for a seventh consecutive day, Ohio's curfew will be amended on January 28 and will be in effect from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for at least two weeks.

If hospital utilization subsequently drops below 3,000 for seven consecutive days, Ohio's curfew would be amended to 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. for at least two weeks. If hospitalizations drops below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the Ohio Department of Health would recommend lifting the curfew.

If, at any point, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations begins to rise, health officials could reinstitute the appropriate curfew measures.

Additionally, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has been averaging about 146,000 first vaccine doses coming into Ohio every week. As Ohio's Phase 1A begins to wind down, more doses will be available for those in Phase 1B.

Ohio is second in the nation for the number of people vaccinated in nursing homes, however, because not all residents and staff are choosing to receive the vaccine, Ohio will begin directing approximately 77,000 vaccines set aside to use in nursing homes to others in Phase 1A and 1B.

Ohio has put focus on vaccinating members of the public living in congregate settings because these individuals are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. In Ohio's state-run developmental centers, 89 percent of residents have accepted the vaccine; 73 percent of long-term patients in state-run psychiatric hospitals have accepted the vaccine; a total of 92 percent of veterans in state-run veterans’ homes have accepted the vaccine. Of those with developmental disabilities not living in state-run facilities, 5,500 people have been vaccinated so far.

Next week, Ohio will make vaccine available to 91,000 K-12 teachers and school personnel who are necessary to provide in-person education to students. Like other groups eligible in Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program, this will be a rolling process beginning with Cincinnati Public Schools which will begin offering vaccinations to their staff later this week.

Due to the scarcity of vaccine, the process will take weeks, but Ohio’s goal is to have all first doses administered by the end of February. To be eligible to receive vaccine, districts had to commit to remaining or returning to in-person learning full-time or in a hybrid model by March 1.

Districts that are eligible to begin receiving vaccines next week should have already received notification, and the rest should be notified of their scheduled dates by the end of the week. Teachers and staff with questions should contact their administrator.

Governor DeWine also announced that, in pursuit of fairness and equity in the distribution of the scarce vaccines, Ohio will be delivering vaccines directly into affordable senior housing locations starting the week of February 8. These senior housing facilities are home to several thousand older Ohioans throughout the state and are often residential clusters with apartment buildings ranging in units from 30 to over 200.

The Ohio Department of Health will be working with local partners to offer assistance through onsite clinics. These clinics will help ease the burden for many seniors having trouble navigating the registration process and arranging transportation.

January 25, 2021:

On January 21, Governor DeWine discussed the vaccine distribution for Phase 1B, which began this week for those ages 80 and up. Beginning next week, vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, and who have a developmental or intellectual disability.

A representative from the local county developmental disabilities board will reach out to help coordinate receipt of the vaccination for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, as well as a developmental or intellectual disability.

Governor DeWine also announced that the state is purchasing 2 million at-home, rapid COVID-19 test using telehealth services where the results are delivered in minutes without the need to send the test to a lab for processing. Developed by Abbott, BinaxNOW is an easy-to-use antigen test that detects the virus when people are most infectious.

To facilitate the delivery of the BinaxNOW test to the home and the guided collection and testing process, Abbott has partnered with digital health solutions provider eMed™, who will deliver people their results through Abbott’s complementary NAVICA™ app in a matter of minutes. eMed™ will report the rapid test results in the electronic lab reporting system.

Furthermore, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend Ohio's 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew. Additional details will be forthcoming. The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy. Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery is permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10:00 p.m.

On January 22, Governor DeWine also signed an Executive Order reinstating funding to schools, colleges and universities, as they are returning to in-person learning.

January 21, 2021:

On January 21, Governor Mike DeWine will extend the state’s 10 p.m. curfew rather than allowing it to expire Saturday. The state’s COVID-19 numbers are too high — and its vaccination campaign in too early a stage — to relax it. Governor DeWine enacted the state’s original COVID-19 curfew, which asks most Ohioans to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., on Nov. 19 and renewed it the following month.

The order has broad exemptions: Most retail businesses are required to close at 10, but grocery stores and pharmacies can stay open; restaurants and bars must stop dine-in service at 10 but can continue to offer pick-up and drive-thru services; Ohioans traveling to or from work are free to do so.

At the time he enacted the curfew, Governor DeWine said he hoped it would give law enforcement the power to disband dangerous gatherings without unduly inconveniencing people in the state.

January 20, 2021:

On January 20, Governor DeWine highlighted the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program, which began today for those ages 80 and up. The week of January 25, vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, and who have a developmental or intellectual disability. These conditions include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Severe congenital heart disease requiring hospitalization within the past year
  • Severe type 1 diabetes requiring hospitalization within the past year
  • Inherited metabolic disorders, including phenylketonuria
  • Severe neurological disorders including epilepsy, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly
  • Severe genetic disorders, including: down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Turner syndrome, and muscular dystrophy
  • Severe lung disease, including asthma requiring hospitalization within the past year, and cystic fibrosis
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Alpha and beta thalassemia
  • Solid organ transplants

A representative from the local county developmental disabilities board will reach out to help coordinate receipt of the vaccination for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders, as well as a developmental or intellectual disability.

During the week of February 15, Ohioans with any of these conditions, and do not have a developmental or intellectual disability, will be eligible to receive the vaccination.

Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming. Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above.

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above.

The Ohio Department of Health has launched a tool on vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov to assist residents looking for a provider that has been allocated vaccines. The tool is searchable by zip code and county, but it will not be uploaded in real-time. It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local resources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability.

Vaccinations will also be available for personnel in Ohio schools in Phase 1B. As of January 20, 96% of public school districts have committed to returning to school at least partially in-person by March 1.

Schools committed to at least partially returning to in-person by March 1 have been designated a local Educational Service Center as a working partner. Additional details will be confirmed this week between the working partners and school districts.

School districts are also choosing a retail pharmacy partner, secured by the state, or an existing local partnership, to administer the vaccinations to school personnel. Beginning the week of February 1, vaccination administration will be coordinated with school-provider partnerships, and a majority will be closed clinics for school personnel only.

Furthermore, Governor DeWine announced today his nomination of former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. French brings more than 30 years of experience and will lead the department in providing consumer protection through education and fair, but vigilant, regulation while promoting a stable and competitive environment for insurers.

January 18, 2021:

On January 13, Ohio state officials launched a website showing all 750 vaccine distribution sites that will be open starting next week, when the state will begin the next phase of its vaccination program, making it available to residents 80 and older.

Governor DeWine said that 361,000 people in the state have received at least the first dose of one of the two-step vaccines from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna. Although there are 425,000 Ohioans who are 80 and older, DeWine said the state expects to receive only about 100,000 doses for distribution next week. The state plans to expand the vaccine offering to those 75 and older the following week, then those 70 and older on February 1, and then those 65 and older on February 8. That may lead to adjustments in the vaccine plan as the weeks go on. DeWine said that over time, vaccine production should increase, and additional manufacturers may receive approval for their vaccines, leading to increased availability in the state and distribution at more and larger facilities.

January 13, 2021:

On January 12, Governor DeWine reemphasized the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program which is set to begin next week with those ages 80 and older. Today, the Ohio Department of Health will receive information from the federal government on Ohio's vaccine allotment for the upcoming week. This information, including which providers will receive vaccines and how many, will be communicated to local health departments this evening. Each county health department, in partnership with their local emergency management agency and vaccine providers, will communicate vaccine distribution plans with the media and the public on Wednesday and Thursday. The process to vaccinate those in each county will vary depending on the provider. Some are expected to hold walk-up clinics, others may take appointments, etc.

On January 14, the Ohio Department of Health will launch a tool on coronavirus.ohio.gov to assist citizens looking for a provider that has been allotted vaccines. The tool will be searchable by zip code or county, but it will not be updated in real-time. It is critical that those eligible to receive a vaccine consult local sources to determine up-to-date vaccine availability.

Hospitals that are vaccinating their frontline healthcare workers as part of Phase 1A must complete these vaccinations by Sunday, January 17.

Week of January 18: Vaccine providers will begin receiving their first allotment of vaccines for those ages 80 and older. Vaccines will be delivered on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up following the same process outlined above. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming.

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above.

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above.

Vaccine providers are not expected to vaccinate everyone in each age group in one week. As new age groups are authorized to receive vaccinations, previous age groups will continue receiving the vaccine.

There is no centralized state sign-up form, but many local health departments have started posting pre-registration information.

Senior citizens with questions on the vaccination process are urged to contact the Area Agencies on Aging at http://www.aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-866-243-5678.

To date, 85% of Ohio's nursing homes have been visited by a vaccine provider as part of Phase 1A. Vaccine providers anecdotally tell the Ohio Department of Health that the number of residents and staff accepting the vaccine is increasing.

On January 13, researchers in Ohio said Wednesday that they have discovered two new variants of the coronavirus that likely originated in the U.S. — one of which quickly became the dominant strain in Columbus, Ohio, over a three-week period in late December and early January. Like the strain first detected in the U.K., the U.S. mutations appear to make Covid-19 more contagious but do not seem like they will diminish the effectiveness of the vaccines, researchers said.

Researchers at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center have been sequencing the virus since March but have since drastically scaled up their efforts to sequence hundreds of samples per week, Jones told reporters at a press briefing Wednesday. He added that he’s sent his team’s findings to the Ohio Department of Health, but not the CDC yet. We are now in a period where the virus is changing quite substantially,” Jones said. “This is the moment, as we’re starting to see changes, where vaccination is being introduced and where the virus has been in the human population for some months, where we do want to be looking out very carefully for the emergence of not just single mutations, but new strains that have multiple mutations.”

Peter Mohler, chief scientific officer at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and co-author of the forthcoming study, said there’s no data to indicate that either of the new strains will impact the effectiveness of vaccines.

(Fairfield County): On January 12, the Fairfield County Department of Health announced vaccination clinics will be held each Thursday at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds starting on January 21, 2021.

Fairfield County residents who are eligible in the Phase 1B group who want to receive the vaccine must register in advance using a sign-up form here.

The health department says to meet Ohio's Phase 1B timeline, Fairfield County would need to receive more than 4,000 doses of the vaccine per week. Right now, they are only receiving 200 doses a week. The Department of Health and the Fairfield County EMA says they do have a plan in place to accommodate the increased vaccinations, including a second vaccination clinic site, if the county receives more vaccines.

January 12, 2021:

(Cuyahoga County): On January 12, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health provided a vaccine update: “Our agency is now serving the Phase 1A group by offering vaccines to those who are eligible. Due to the large number of people in our county who qualify as eligible for Phase 1A, we do not know how long it will take us to complete Phase 1A. To be notified when slots for Phase 1A and Phase 1B are available at our clinics: Please click here to provide your contact information. You will receive two notifications when clinics open up:

  • A voicemail message telling you to check your email for a link to register
  • An email message that has a link that allows you to register for the next open clinic

After you click on the link to register, you will receive a second email message that will have the date and time of your appointment.

For those who would like to volunteer at vaccination events, the board of health said visit http://www.ohioresponds.odh.ohio.gov and select the “Register Now” button on the homepage to begin the registration process. Ohio Responds is the primary way the board of health says it communicate volunteer opportunities to assist with our COVID 19 vaccination events.”

(Geauga County): On January 12, Geauga Public Health provided a vaccine update that they are contacting people on the pre-registration list for Geauga County this week to schedule upcoming clinics and asking people to be patient as the process is moving slower than anticipated.

(Huron County): On January 12, Huron County Public Health provided a vaccine update, “We had a small number of COVID-19 vaccine appointments to fill and we were quickly overwhelmed with the response from the community. We are glad that there is such demand from our residents to get the vaccine, however, we only receive a very limited quantity of vaccine each week (100 doses) which unfortunately limits our capacity. We have opened up a wait list for those in the 80+ age category that can be found at the link.”

(Medina County): On January 12, the Medina County Health Department posted a vaccine update on its Facebook page Monday: “We started scheduling the first part of phase 1B which includes citizens over the age of 80 years old. The first amount of appointments filled up quickly …. And we are not able to schedule more clinics when we don’t know how many vaccines will be allotted to us. … Pre-registration is for those 65-79 but we have not announced that process yet because we are still working with people who are 1A eligible. The system cannot accommodate 1B yet…Citizens over the age of 80 years old may begin calling the Health Department tomorrow. Vaccine clinic appointments are currently full. As vaccine delivery amounts are confirmed, the Health Department will open additional appointments and will announce that information. Our waiting list is currently full as well.”

(Stark County): On January 12, the Stark County Health Dept. said it is currently administering the vaccine to those included in Phase 1A. Information on Phase 1B is coming soon, the health department said. Follow updates, here.

(Tuscarawas County): On January 12, the Tuscarawas County Health Dept. has begun scheduling vaccinations for the week of January 18 for those on the wait list. Those 80 and older can still register for the wait list on the health dept.’s website or by calling 330-343-5555 x106.

(Wayne County): On January 12, Wayne County Health Department posted a vaccine update on its Facebook page: “As we move into Phase 1b for the COVID vaccine, the Wayne County Health Department is now accepting registration from those that fit that criteria. This includes people age 65 and older, teachers and other school personnel, and those with severe medical conditions. You can register by visiting the coronavirus page of our website. This will register you to be placed on the COVID-19 vaccine list. Once we have vaccine availability, a member of our nursing team will contact you by email or phone. If you are a K-12 School Personnel, please contact your school administration for information on your school’s vaccination plan.”

January 11, 2021:

On January 7, Governor DeWine announced those in Phase 1B will be able to receive vaccinations beginning on Tuesday, January 19. Those 80 years of age and older will be prioritized first in this next phase, roughly totaling 420,000 Ohioans. Ohio is expected to receive 100,000 doses during the first week of distribution to Phase 1B. Vaccines for Ohioans 80 years of age and older will be administered by physicians, local health departments, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, in-home health service providers, and some retail pharmacies. As of today, the Ohio Department of Health has approximately 1,700 providers registered to distribute vaccines.

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health will be hosting a webinar for registered providers to discuss expectations, and instructions for distribution. Additional details will be shared with registered providers in the coming days.

Governor DeWine anticipates vaccinations will be available to Ohioans 75 years of age and older beginning Monday, January 25. The following week, vaccinations will be available to those 70 years of age and older. Beginning the week of Monday, February 8 vaccinations will be available to those 65 years of age and older. “As we include other age ranges, please know that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine.

The week of January 25 will also include vaccinations for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early onset medical disorders. Additional details about distribution for this group will be forthcoming.

During the week of February 1, Governor DeWine announced that vaccinations will be available for personnel in Ohio schools. The Ohio Department of Heath will send forms to Ohio superintendents to indicate their school plans to go back to in full in-person and hybrid learning by March 1, as well as indicate the number of staff they believe will choose to take the vaccination. Superintendents will also be asked if a community partner has been identified to help with the administering of the COVID-19 vaccines to school personnel.

Additional information about vaccinations can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Sixth Amended Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities, with Exceptions. This revised order clarifies that in-person compassionate care visits are permitted in nursing homes and similar facilities. The new order does not change required precautions all visitors must take, including but not limited to, wearing of a facial covering and social distancing.

(Lake County): On January 9, the Lake County General Health District launched a scheduling list for anyone under the Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccination plan. Any Lake County resident who qualifies for Phase 1B—which is anyone who is 65 years of age and older and/or has severe congenital, developmental or early on-set medical disorders—can sign up. Residents who complete the form will then be contacted at a later date with instructions to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Residents working in K-12 schools returning to in-person learning on March 1 will be vaccinated in coordination with their school districts and should not complete this form.

Since the COVID-19 vaccine is extremely limited and the number of vaccines arriving to the county is unknown, completing the form does not guarantee a vaccine appointment.

January 7, 2021:

On January 7, Ohio officials updated Ohio’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory List. There are currently 19 states on Ohio's COVID-19 travel advisory list, including Ohio and Kentucky. People entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. According to Ohio officials, the positivity rate is an indicator of how much COVID-19 there is in a community, and the Ohio Department of Health is recommending against travel to those states with high positivity. The following states have a rolling seven-day average above 15%, according to Ohio's travel advisory:

  1. Idaho: 55.0%
  2. Alabama: 50.0%
  3. Iowa: 46.3%
  4. Pennsylvania: 42.0%
  5. South Dakota: 41.0%
  6. Kansas: 40.0%
  7. Tennessee: 25.3%
  8. Arkansas: 25.0%
  9. Utah: 24.1%
  10. Mississippi: 22.0%
  11. Oklahoma: 21.0%
  12. Georgia: 19.0%
  13. Texas: 18.2%
  14. Kentucky: 18.2%
  15. Ohio: 18.0%
  16. Missouri: 17.0%
  17. South Carolina: 17.0%
  18. Arizona: 17.0%
  19. Nevada: 16.4%

January 6, 2021:

On January 5, Governor DeWine updated that as of Sunday, approximately 61% of nursing homes in Ohio have been visited by a pharmacy vaccine provider. Of those locations, only approximately 40% of staff members have chosen to receive the vaccination. Of nursing home residents, approximately 75 to 80% of residents have decided to receive the vaccine. Nursing home staff and residents who have received their first dose of vaccine will begin receiving second doses on Friday. Governor DeWine encouraged those in nursing homes who initially declined to receive the vaccine to get their first dose as part of this second round. Following this opportunity, it may be some time before a first dose is available again.

The Ohio Department of Health will be issuing a directive requiring vaccine providers to develop a surplus vaccine redistribution plan. The directive follows a recent incident in which a long-term care facility in Ohio overestimated the number of vaccine doses needed for residents and staff. Seven vials of vaccine (35 doses) were not administered and expired. "Every vaccine dose that Ohio receives must be administered," said Governor DeWine. "Each vaccine represents a potential life saved, and it is our obligation to ensure that not a single dose is wasted." Vaccine redistribution plans will prioritize recipients based on Phase 1A and 1B vaccine distribution criteria. If a significant number of doses remain, vaccine providers must contact the Ohio Department of Health for immediate redistribution assistance.

The Lt. Governor also announced that the deadline to apply for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund has been extended to January 31. There are approximately 15,400 on-premises liquor permits in the state eligible for assistance. Of that, roughly 10,854 or 70 percent have taken advantage of this funding opportunity as of today.

Governor DeWine designated $38.7 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and each active on-premises liquor permit is eligible for funding.

While the program is referred to as the Bar & Restaurant Assistance Fund, more than just bars and restaurants have eligible permits. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, sports and concert venues, and even some hair salons are eligible for this funding. Eligible businesses can visit businesshelp.ohio.gov to apply, which requires them to simply enter their liquor permit number and federal tax information.

The Lt. Governor also announced that Ohio’s public employers will pay $14.8 million less in premiums this year thanks to a rate reduction from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation that went into effect January 1.The rate cut means approximately 3,700 counties, cities, public schools, and other public taxing districts will pay an average of 10 percent less on their annual premiums than in calendar year 2020. The reduction, made possible by declining injury trends and relatively low medical inflation costs, is the twelfth cut for public employers since 2009 and follows a 10 percent cut in 2020.

January 5, 2021:

On January 5, Governor DeWine explained how Ohio has prioritized who will initially be receiving the vaccine. In doing so, he revealed that Phase 1B -- which includes adults 65 years or older, those with developmental disorders including Sickle Cell or down syndrome and all teachers and staff at K-12 schools planning to reopen for in-person learning -- will begin in approximately two weeks. Governor DeWine noted that the timeframe is dependent on how much of the vaccine and how quickly Ohio can receive it from the federal government.

Currently, Ohio remains in the midst of Phase 1A of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which includes healthcare workers and personnel who are routinely involved in the care of coronavirus patients, residents and staff at nursing homes, residents and staff at assisted living facilities, patients and staff at state psychiatric hospitals, people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers and staff at those locations, residents and staff at Ohio veterans homes and EMS responders.

According to Gov. DeWine, Phase 1A includes approximately one million people. It will remain ongoing as needed as Phase 1B begins.

December 22, 2020:

On December 21, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Ohio National Guard received a waiver that will allow them to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The waiver gives the Ohio National Guard the flexibility to fully utilize National Guard medical personnel trained in administering the vaccine.

The Ohio National Guard has approximately 600 members who are medical personnel, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and medics. Ohio is working to determine how it will best utilize Guard medical personnel without adversely affecting Ohio health care systems’ critical medical resources by removing Guard members from their civilian medical positions.

December 21, 2020:

On December 21, Governor DeWine announced the newly-authorized Moderna vaccine began arriving in Ohio on Monday. Governor DeWine said he expects 201,900 doses to be delivered by Christmas. Ohio expected to receive 123,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, but officials were told Ohio would receive 70,200 – about 43% fewer.

The governor also announced that the Ohio National Guard received a waiver that means they can help in the administration of the vaccine.

Further, CVS Health says it will be vaccinating people who live at nursing homes and long-term care facilities for coronavirus across the country, including 1400 locations in Ohio, starting today. CVS says that has the potential to give 200,000 people in Ohio access to the vaccine. CVS was selected by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month to administer the vaccinations. CVS Health says it will eventually provide the vaccines to the general public.

December 16, 2020:

On December 15, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that seven hospitals in Ohio received their first vaccine shipments today, bringing the total number of vaccine doses delivered to Ohio over the past two days to 98,475. Although vaccine supplies are currently limited, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has advised that Ohio will continue to receive vaccinations throughout the month of December. Next week, Ohio is expected to receive 123,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as 201,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. During the week of New Year’s, Ohio is expected to receive an additional 148,000 Pfizer vaccines and an additional 89,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Next week, local health departments in Ohio that registered as providers are expected to begin receiving vaccines. Today, Governor DeWine outlined guidance on individuals who should be prioritized by health departments during Phase 1A.

Local health departments should coordinate the vaccinations of congregate care residents and staff, such as those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who are not enrolled in the federal long-term care pharmacy programs or are not registered as providers themselves. This includes people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers, as well as staff.

In addition, local health departments should prioritize vaccinating other healthcare providers who are not being vaccinated by hospitals and health systems and are not enrolled as providers themselves. These providers could include:

  • Home health workers
  • Hospice workers
  • Emergency medical services responders
  • Primary care practitioners
  • Free-standing emergency department, urgent care, pharmacy, and dialysis center providers not vaccinated by hospitals or healthcare systems
  • Dental providers
  • Public health employees who are at risk of exposure or transmission, such as vaccinators
  • Mobile unit practitioners
  • Federally-qualified health center providers
  • High-risk ancillary health care staff members

December 15, 2020:

On December 14, Governor DeWine announced that the first COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Ohio. Shipments of 975 doses were delivered this morning to both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and UC Health in Cincinnati. Several healthcare workers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients immediately received vaccinations.

Vaccine shipments will be delivered to eight additional hospitals in Ohio on December 15:

  • Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
  • Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
  • Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
  • Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center, Clark County
  • OhioHealth Riverside Hospital, Franklin County
  • Aultman Hospital, Stark County
  • OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Athens County
  • Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County

All 10 hospitals were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity.

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to come to Ohio, Cardinal Health’s OptiFreight Logistics business will help provide same-day delivery services. Once the vaccine is widely available, this partnership will allow Ohio to ship the vaccine to approximately 350 locations across the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has invited Ohio to participate in an early scaled launch of vaccinations in nursing homes. Ohio will begin providing vaccinations in five to ten nursing homes starting this Friday, December 18. Ohio had previously been scheduled to start its nursing home vaccination program in partnership with pharmacy providers on Monday, December 21.

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard in the coming days at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The dashboard will list the number of people vaccinated in Ohio and will be sortable by demographic and by county.

December 14, 2020:

On December 10, Governor DeWine extended the state's curfew through January 2, 2021, with variances for four sporting events across the state. Those variances include Monday Night Football games for both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, as well as the University of Cincinnati Bearcats football conference championship game and the MLS Columbus Crew championship game. The curfew will remain between 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

December 7, 2020:

On December 7, Governor DeWine will extend the statewide curfew of 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. beyond its scheduled expiration Thursday. Governor DeWine stated more details would come Thursday, December 11. The 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew took effect November 19 and had several exemptions, including for going to work or picking up food from a restaurant or grocery store. The Governor added, “The curfew, the additional mask-wearing, the inspection of retail -- we think these things have helped...but they have not helped enough. We're going to have to do more. We don't have any choice."

On December 4, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio's Retail Compliance Unit Dashboard is now available online at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The new dashboard includes information on the number of retailers visited by agents, how many customers and employees were properly wearing masks, how many establishments had proper signage, and the number of warnings issued. The dashboard will be updated each Thursday. The Retail Compliance Unit was created within the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to help keep businesses open and safe for customers and employees.

Governor DeWine also announced details for Ohio's first phase of vaccine distribution that is expected to begin on or around December 15. During Phase 1, vaccine supply will be limited, and Ohio will focus on vaccinating those who wish to be vaccinated in the critical Phase 1A groups. The Phase 1A groups include: (1) health care workers and personnel who are routinely involved in the care of COVID-19 patients; (2) residents and staff at nursing homes; (3) residents and staff at assisted living facilities; (4) patients and staff at state psychiatric hospitals; (5) people with intellectual disabilities and those with mental illness, who live in group homes or centers and staff at those locations; (6) residents and staff at Ohio veterans homes; and (7) EMS responders.

The federal government has advised that the Ohio Department of Health will not know the exact number of vaccines that will be shipped to Ohio until closer to each shipment date. The current shipment figures, which are subject to change, are as follows:

  • On or around December 15, a shipment from Pfizer will include 9,750 vaccines for Ohio's prepositioned hospital sites. An additional 88,725 vaccines will go to Walgreens and CVS for congregate care settings.
  • On or around December 22, a shipment of 201,000 vaccines is expected from Moderna. These vaccines will go to 98 hospitals for vaccination of those who are exposed to COVID patients and to 108 health departments to vaccinate other frontline workers such as those working in emergency medical services.
  • On or around December 22, another shipment is also expected from Pfizer. The tentative number of vaccines in this shipment is 123,000. These vaccines will go to Walgreens and CVS for vaccination of those in congregate care settings.
  • A few days later, Ohio expects another 148,000 vaccines from Pfizer and 89,000 vaccines from Moderna.

These vaccines will be the first dose for those in the identified critical groups. A second dose will be delivered and administered in the future. It has not been determined when members of the general public will have the option to receive vaccines. As information becomes available about the next phases of vaccine distribution, it will be made public.

Furthermore, Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff discussed the new quarantine guidance recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for those who may have been exposed to coronavirus but are not showing symptoms. Following the study of emerging data and a growing confidence in testing, CDC's new guidance has two options depending on the situation: (1) 10-day quarantine that does not require testing, provided there are no symptoms and (2) 7-day quarantine if test results are negative, provided there are no symptoms. The Ohio Department of Health, however, continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine for many citizens in Ohio.

December 3, 2020:

On December 3, the Ohio Public Health Advisory System updated Ohio’s map of county alerts. Eight of Ohio's 88 counties are at the highest COVID-19 alert level of purple on this week's heat map, indicating "severe exposure and spread" of the coronavirus. Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark and Summit turned purple, joining Lake, Lorain and Montgomery counties. Franklin County dropped down to "red," or Level 3, indicating "very high exposure and spread."

Eleven counties were on the "watch list" last week for becoming purple if their situations didn't improve. That included Hamilton, Clermont and Warren counties in Southwest Ohio, which remain red this week.

Only eight of Ohio's 88 counties were Level 2, or orange. None was the lowest level of yellow. The rest were red.

There are no state mandates or restrictions tied to the alert levels, but the designation could inform changes at the local level. Some school districts have tied in-person classes to certain color designations. For more details on each county's indicators on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

At his press conference, Governor Mike DeWine delayed his announcement of details about who will be first in line for COVID-19 vaccinations until Friday. Before Friday's announcement, Ohio's draft plan for vaccinations placed "high-risk" health care workers, which Governor DeWine said includes nursing home employees, and first responders as first on the vaccination list, which differs from the recommendation of a federal panel. An independent panel recommended to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week that health care workers and nursing home residents be vaccinated first. Ohio's tentative plan placed nursing home residents in the second wave of vaccinations.

Furthermore, Ohio has been flagged on its own travel advisory map because the 7-day rolling average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests in the state rose above 15% for the first time since April this week. The Ohio Department of Health stated this means they recommend “to stay at home except for necessary trips for supplies.” The other states on the travel advisory list include: (1) South Dakota; (2) Iowa; (3) Kansas; (4) Idaho; (5) Alabama; (6) Pennsylvania; (7) Montana; (8) Utah; (9) Mississippi; (10) Missouri; (11) Arizona; (12) Ohio; (13) Nevada; and (14) Arkansas.

December 1, 2020:

On December 1, Governor Mike DeWine discussed plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to Ohioans. Governor DeWine said he expects Ohio could receive its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine by December 15. Another vaccine from Moderna may ship by December 22 if it's granted emergency authorization.

For the Pfizer vaccine rollout, an Ohio warehouse will be operated by the Ohio National Guard and can store up to 720,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is expected to ship in packages of 975 doses to warehouse but will also be sent directly to 10 hospitals throughout Ohio, including Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, according to the state. Each package of vaccine will be delivered to the providers within six hours. The vaccine will remain stable for up to five days if sealed in the original shipping container from the warehouse with dry ice.

The state doesn't plan to use the warehouses to redistribute Moderna's vaccine, as it will be shipped directly to health care providers.

November 30, 2020:

On November 30, Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new program that will help improve indoor air quality and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and adult day centers during a COVID-19 briefing. Governor DeWine said eligible recipients can receive up to $15,000 to address indoor air quality through HVAC inspections, portable air filtration systems, new filtration systems, maintenance on current systems, and other interventions.

Eligible employers include: (1) Nursing homes licensed by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH); (2) Assisted living/residential care facilities licensed by ODH; (3) Adult day centers that are Medicaid providers; and (4) Adult day support providers that are Medicaid providers and have completed Provider Assurance Forms to DODD.

More information can be found here.

November 18, 2020:

On November 18, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is offering more than 120 no-cost COVID-19 community testing events, including new locations in partnership with retailers to help North Carolinians protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities as they prepare for Thanksgiving this weekend.

For a full list of all testing event times and locations throughout the state, visit the No-Cost Community Testing Events page on the NCDHHS website. More locations are being added each day. Additional testing sites can be found at Find My Testing Place.

Anyone can get tested for COVID-19 at the events. People without insurance are eligible for testing and identification documents are not required. Children and adults may be tested, but a parent or legal guardian must be present with children and teens 17 or younger.

People who choose to travel or gather for Thanksgiving should consider having a COVID-19 test three to four days ahead of time. A test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not have symptoms yet; however, tests can miss some infections and are not a fail-safe measure. NCDHHS also recommends that everyone quarantine for 14 days before gathering with anyone outside their household to limit advance risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Quarantining is particularly important from the time you test until you travel or gather with people outside your household.

November 17, 2020:

On November 17, Governor DeWine announced that the state would soon enter a 21-day quarantine period in response to a COVID-19 surge that has seen the number of new cases triple over three weeks. The state health order is forthcoming.

Beginning Thursday, November 19, Ohio residents will be subject to curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., with retail businesses remaining closed during the same hours. The curfew will end December 10, unless Governor DeWine chooses to extend it at that time. The goal is to cut down on social gatherings – in bars and in homes – that anecdotally are causing some of the spread.

Exceptions will be made for late-night pharmacies, health care, grocery stores, and carry-out or delivery services for restaurants. Those who work past 10 p.m. will also be allowed to continue doing so. Third-shift manufacturing is not affected. Everyone who has to work during those hours still can. Unlike Ohio's spring stay-at-home order, jobs aren't categorized as essential or non-essential.

DeWine said the order establishes a curfew on individuals, not businesses. No businesses are expected to be closed by the order, but businesses may decide to close during curfew hours.

DeWine said he doesn't expect police or local law enforcement officers to pull people over in violation of the curfew. But he said if officers see people gathering at 10:30 p.m., they have cause to approach them and ask them. The penalty is the same as under all other health orders: a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. However, Governor DeWine noted Tuesday he wasn't aware of anyone being charged for violating a health order during the pandemic.

November 16, 2020:

On November 16, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed a revised health order to limit mass gatherings in Ohio.

In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through airborne particles passing between people in close contact, wedding receptions, funeral repasts, and other events at banquet facilities are subject to the following restrictions:

  • No socializing or activities in open congregate areas and no dancing.
  • Guests must be seated at all times. Traditional wedding reception events such as first dance, toasts, tossing the bouquet and cutting the cake are permitted.
  • If serving food and beverages, guests must be served at their seats. No self-serve buffets and no self-serve bar areas permitted.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages.
  • No more than 10 people should be seated at a table and those individuals must be from the same household.

This order does not apply to religious observances; First Amendment protected speech, including petition or referendum circulators, and any activity by media; and to governmental meetings which include meetings that are required to be open to the public.

This order goes into effect November 17, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

On November 13, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed a health order to enforce mask-wearing in retail locations across the state in compliance with the statewide mandatory mask order signed on July 23, 2020. This order restates that everyone 10 years-old or older must wear a facial covering when in a retail store. This order takes effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. on November 16, 2020.

The order includes compliance enforcement, where state of Ohio employees with enforcement powers, including the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Retail Compliance Unit employees working on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health, representatives of local health departments, and local law enforcement are authorized to inspect and enforce the order.

All retailers shall allow representatives of the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement to inspect public areas during business hours. The representative will issue an initial warning to the business before issuing a notice of violation requiring closure. If a notice of violation of these orders is issued by a representative from the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement, the retail location must immediately shut down for no longer than 24 hours to allow for dissipation of COVID-19 airborne droplets.

Citizens observing non-compliance should notify the Ohio Department of Health call center at 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634).

This order does not apply to restaurants, bars, banquet and catering centers, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, gyms, dance instruction studios, or personal fitness venues as these businesses fall under previously-issued, existing orders.

On November 12, Lieutenant Governor Husted reminded Ohio small businesses that the application period for the Small Business Relief Grant and Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is now open.

The Small Business Relief Grant provides a $10,000 grant to small businesses with at least one but no more than 25 employees. The grant funding will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including mortgage or rent payments; utility payments; salaries, wages, or compensation for employees and contractors; business supplies or equipment; and other costs. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. To ensure the grants are spread throughout the state, $500,000 will be set aside for businesses in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. When a county’s allocation is depleted, businesses in that county will be eligible to receive grants from the remaining funds in the overall grant program.

The Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund provides $2,500 for those permit holders who have not been able to fully use their liquor permit. Businesses with an on-premise consumption permit through the Ohio Department of Commerce will be eligible to receive $2,500 per unique business location. Businesses need to have an active on-premise permit as of close of business on October 23, 2020.

More information can be found at BusinessHelp.Ohio.gov.

Governor DeWine added that new health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that all 88 counties in Ohio remain at "high incidence" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the updated Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, 68 counties are currently rated as having a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 56 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. Both Franklin and Tuscarawas counties met six of seven advisory-system indicators and are approaching Purple Level 4.

Governor DeWine also announced the creation of a new zip code dashboard. Ohioans can now view data from their local communities and filter data by probable or confirmed case status, county, a specific zip code, or a specific time period. Case counts will also be available on a downloadable, filterable chart sorted from the most cases to the least. To protect confidentiality, case counts for zip codes with fewer than five cases or less than 100 total residents will not be displayed. The new zip code dashboard can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor DeWine also created a flu dashboard that expands the statewide data that the Ohio Department of Health shares on seasonal flu activity each year. The new dashboard shows flu trends over time with charts that indicate whether flu hospitalizations or cases of flu-like illness are on the rise or decline as compared to the previous week and compared to the five-year average data. Hospitalization data is broken down by region, county, date, sex, age, race, and ethnicity. The data shows only positive flu PCR tests reported by public health laboratories and selected clinical laboratories that participate in the national flu monitoring system. Additional data will be added moving forward, and the dashboard will be updated every Friday at 9:00 a.m. The new flu dashboard can be found at flu.ohio.gov.

Lastly, Governor DeWine announced that the state is setting aside $30 million to assist the state’s 113 local health departments. Each department will receive $200,000 and will have the flexibility to determine how to best use the funds as they see fit to fight COVID-19. The remaining money will be used to hire contact tracers to support local health departments. Contact tracers will deploy where they are needed across the state to assist in identifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and prevent further spread.

November 4, 2020:

The Ohio Department of Health released an updated map of states that Ohioans are advised against visiting due to high concentrations of coronavirus outbreaks. The states now on the travel advisory are Alabama, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, all of which are reporting a positive testing rate of 15% or higher. South Dakota has the highest percentage of positive cases with 51%. People who travel to these states are highly encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Ohio. Since last Wednesday’s update, states that have been downgraded from the list include Wisconsin, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, Mississippi and Indiana.

Further, on November 3, the city of Chicago added Ohio to its travel advisory list. People traveling from Ohio to Chicago must now quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

November 2, 2020:

On October 30, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio has now hit a record number of cases reported in a single 24-hour period. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 43 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Red Level 3), up from 38 counties last week. This represents the highest number of Red Level 3 counties since the launch of the advisory system in July. As of today, 78 percent of Ohioans are living in a Red Level 3 county. Less than 1 percent of Ohioans live in a Yellow Level 1 county.

Additionally, Governor DeWine called on community leaders in each county to immediately form a local COVID Defense Team consisting of county commissioners, mayors, local hospital leaders, health commissioners, business leaders, religious leaders, and other local leaders. Each COVID Defense Team will be responsible for assessing COVID-19 spread in their communities, taking inventory of the assets in the community, and focusing on what steps are necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus among their citizens.

Furthermore, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities has partnered with Governor DeWine’s Children’s Initiative to provide financial support to families who may need supplemental assistance outside of what is provided by their child's Individualized Education Programs (IEP). Learning Aid Ohio was created to connect tutors, aides, or in-home providers who can offer distance learning support for students with disabilities on IEPs. The primary goal of Learning Aid Ohio is to provide opportunities for meaningful educational experiences for students on IEPs learning full-time on a digital platform. Applications can be submitted at www.LearningOhio.com.

October 21, 2020:

On October 16, the Interim Director of the Ohio State Department of Health issued an Amended Order regarding the operation of senior centers and adult day care centers, changing the order issued on September 21, 2020 that allowed those facilities to reopen subject to certain restrictions and safety measures. The updated order specifies that (1) all staff and participants must wear masks while present in such a facility and eliminates any exemptions for that requirement, (2) that adult day care staff and participants are subject to weekly testing for COVID-19, (3) that senior care center staff are subject to bi-weekly testing for COVID-19, (4) and that all participants and staff will be pre-screened by telephone before each visit to the facility.

On October 20, the Interim Director of the Ohio State Department of Health issued an Amended Order revising the requirements for reporting COVID-19 to local health districts. The revised order requires that physicians, hospital or clinic administrators, those in charge of laboratories testing samples for COVID-19 and “any individual having knowledge of a person suffering from COVID-19” report confirmed or “probable” cases to the local health district where the infected individual resides within 24 hours. It also requires those in charge of laboratories testing for COVID-19 report all tests, regardless of the results, within 24 hours.

In addition, the Office of Governor DeWine announced that $1.3 billion in dividend checks from the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation will be sent out starting this week to the state’s public and private employers. The state is providing the checks for a second time this year to help businesses impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

October 15, 2020:

On October 15, Governor Mike DeWine held a press conference to address the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Ohio. Ohio set a new record high for coronavirus cases October 15, marking the second day in a row the state hit a new high and the third time in less than a week. A record 29 counties are now under a red Level 3 COVID-19 public health advisory. More than 65% of Ohioans now live in a red county, Governor DeWine said. Franklin County, which had been at an orange Level 2 alert, was elevated Thursday to a red Level 3. Union, Licking, Madison, Marion and Fayette are also now under a red Level 3 advisory while Delaware, Pickaway and Fairfield counties are under an orange Level 2 advisory.

Governor DeWine said that he has no plans to shut down Ohio's economy again to slow the spread of coronavirus. But DeWine said no governor could rule out such a move if things worsen.

Next week, the Governor said his administration hopes to announce some sort of financial support to help bars and restaurants that have been impacted by the state's 10:00 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption. Governor DeWine's announcement came after the Ohio Senate introduced a bill that would seek to scale back curfews. Governor DeWine said he had hoped to ask the state Liquor Control Commission to lift the last-call curfew but said recent increases in cases makes that unlikely.

Also on Thursday, Ohio State University announced that it will begin operating its own laboratory to process COVID-19 tests taken by asymptomatic students, faculty and staff. The lab will launch operations this fall. Ohio State will be able to lower the cost per test by around 85%, allowing the university to potentially save millions of dollars, according to campus officials. Turnaround time on tests may also be shortened from 48 to 72 hours to get results to as little as 24 hours, according to the university.

Furthermore, the state of Ohio has issued a travel advisory for certain states, including the neighboring state of Indiana. Under the advisory, those entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. The list of states will be updated every week on Wednesday. Based on a 7-day rolling average of positivity rates of October 14, the current affected states are:

  • SD: 23.6%
  • ID: 23.5%
  • WI: 21.1%
  • IA: 18.8%
  • WY: 16.7%
  • KS: 16.6%
  • NV: 15.7%
  • IN: 15.6%
  • Note: The state of Mississippi is shaded gray this week on the Travel Advisory Map. Mississippi is showing reporting irregularities with the data for total tests reported in the past week. As such, the positivity rate cannot be calculated for Mississippi for this week.

Those who live in Indiana but may work in Ohio, or vice versa, are exempt. “This does not apply to persons who as a part of their normal life live in one state and work or deliver services in another state,” the order says.

October 14, 2020:

On October 13, Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new Lab Capacity Dashboard to help pharmacists, nursing homes, colleges and universities, employers, and others administering COVID-19 tests find a lab to run their samples. This new resource will help connect groups that are testing with available labs in order to ease turnaround times and inform Ohioans of their COVID-19 status.

The new dashboard provides self-reported information about labs that can run tests, including hours of operation, types of tests they accept, estimated turn-around time, and locations. Labs with available capacity can sign up on the website to be included in this dashboard.

Governor DeWine also discussed plans for Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen screening tests that the federal government is providing to Ohio.

This week, Ohio is deploying thousands of these screening tests to colleges and universities to help them implement proactive screening plans. Next week, Ohio will begin sending tens of thousands of screening tests to nursing homes for both routine and outbreak testing requirements.

Governor DeWine emphasized that lab-based PCR tests are still considered the “gold standard” test that provides the most accurate results, and antigen tests can have false positives and false negatives.

Next, Governor DeWine passed House Bill 669 to expand the definition of “premises” and “sales” for liquor permits, which codifies the two relief measures for bars and restaurants that were instituted in response to the pandemic.

October 12, 2020:

On October 9, Governor DeWine provided an update on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 18 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3): Ashland, Butler, Fayette, Hamilton, Lawrence, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto, and Trumbull. Additionally, there are 58 Orange counties this week, the highest ever. Ninety-six percent of Ohioans are living in a Red or Orange county.

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes has signed the order that allows nursing facilities to permit indoor visitation beginning October 12. In order to permit indoor visitation, facilities are required to meet certain health and safety requirements.

The visits will be limited to two visitors and will be a maximum of 30 minutes. Visitors will have to be socially distanced and wear a face covering. Visits are to occur in areas that are separate from a resident’s room.

Facilities are required to report visitation information, including visitation status, hours, maximum visitation time, and number of visitors via an online dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Facilities must register with the state by October 19.

In addition, this order also details compassionate care visits, which are separate and distinct from normal visitation. These visits are not exclusively for end-of-life situations but can also include situations where a resident was recently admitted to the home and are struggling with the change in environment and lack of family support.

Other situations can include when a resident is grieving someone who recently passed away, a resident that may need encouragement to eat or drink that was previously provided by a family member or caregiver and is experiencing weight loss or dehydration, or when a resident is experiencing emotional distress.

Facilities should work with residents, families, caregivers, resident representatives, clinicians, and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program to identify the need, length, and frequency of these visits.

October 5, 2020:

On October 1, Governor DeWine released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that 11 counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread (Level 3): Ashland, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Mercer, Montgomery, Muskingum, Pike, Putnam, Richland, and Scioto. Richland County is on the borderline of a Level 4 public emergency with severe exposure and spread.

Governor DeWine also signed House Bill 614, which distributes $650 million Coronavirus Relief Funds to local governments across the state. These funds will be distributed to counties, municipalities, and townships throughout Ohio. House Bill 614 also addresses Ohio's unemployment compensation program: (1) to create the Unemployment Compensation Modernization and Improvement Council; (2) to revise the claims process and duties related to the unemployment process; (3) to require the Auditor of State to examine and make recommendations on the efficiency of the process; and (4) to require the Director of Job and Family Services to create a strategic staffing plan for employees who handle inquiries and claims for unemployment benefits.

September 30, 2020:

On September 29, Governor DeWine provided an update on the Ohio Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network which tests wastewater for gene fragments of COVID-19. Those infected with COVID-19 begin to shed the virus early in their infection, and a significant, sustained increase in gene fragments found in wastewater can be an early warning sign of a pending rise in COVID-19 cases in a specific area. The value of this information is that gives communities an opportunity to act proactively to prevent outbreaks.

Since the launch of the monitoring program, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has notified health authorities in six communities of a sustained increase in gene fragments found in their wastewater: Dayton, Columbus, Akron, Oregon, Sandusky, and Mansfield. ODH is currently monitoring 36 sites across the state and an additional 25 sites will be added during the coming month. Communities found with a sustained increase in gene fragments are offered testing and contact tracing assistance.

September 28, 2020:

On September 24, Governor DeWine released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that nine counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Ashland, Butler, Delaware, Mercer, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam, Scioto, and Stark. A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and Portage County dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio's ResponsibleRestart guidelines for higher education will now include a recommendation that all residential colleges and universities regularly test a sample population of asymptomatic students. The updated ResponsibleRestart Ohio guidance will be posted to coronavirus.ohio.gov in the next few days.

Next, Governor DeWine issued the Director's Order to Limit Access to Ohio's Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and to Permit Visitation. Intermediate care facilities for Ohioans with developmental disabilities can resume indoor visitation beginning on Monday, September 28, if safety standards outlined in the order are met.

Furthermore, nursing homes and assisted living facilities can begin allowing indoor visitation on Monday, October 12. This date was selected to allow adequate time for the facilities to prepare their physical plants, adjust staffing levels, update visitation policies, and communicate expectations with residents and families. Indoor visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities should only resume if certain safety standards are met. These standards will be outlined in a forthcoming public health order. When visitation resumes, a Long-Term Care Facility Dashboard will be added to the COVID-19 data dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov where users can access facility-specific visitation information.

Lastly, Lt. Governor Husted announced that the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been removed from the current sports order, which will be available soon on coronavirus.ohio.gov. This change comes over a month after the most recent guidelines were published with evidence showing that events have gone on without any noticeable increase in spread.

September 24, 2020:

On September 24, Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed an order to reopen self-serve food stations.

September 21, 2020:

On September 17, Governor Mike DeWine released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that five counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Portage and Putnam. A total of 69 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and one county, Preble, dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

In addition to the five Level 3 counties listed above, five additional counties meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of high incidence: Athens, Delaware, Greene, Harrison, and Pickaway. Although these counties do not meet enough indicators to trigger a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, these counties have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks which could lead to rapid virus transmission if steps are not taken to slow the spread.

Governor DeWine also announced that the state is releasing the Rapid Response Guide for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers. This guide will support local health districts in developing culturally appropriate plans to respond to outbreaks in the migrant and seasonal farmworker communities. A copy of the guide will be available here. In addition, the Ohio Department of Health is awarding $2.6 million in CARES Act funding to agricultural camp operators to improve the health and safety of migrant workers worksites and camps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Next, Governor DeWine provided an update on Ohio’s Coronavirus Wastewater Surveillance Network. Since mid-July the network has been monitoring income waste at wastewater treatment plants around the state to test for gene fragments of COVID-19. Ohio is currently testing in more than 30 cities across the state and will expand testing to more than 50 locations in the next month. The state will continue to closely monitor the wastewater data and ensure communities are aware of trending increases in gene copies to assist with quick response and prevent further spread of disease. More information about the program can be found here.

Additionally, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has started distributing $300 per week in Lost Wages Assistance to eligible unemployment insurance recipients. This assistance is available to Ohioans who received traditional unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Trade Readjustment Assistance, SharedWork Ohio or extended benefits for weeks ending August 1 through September 5. PUA claimants will receive payments first, in a staggered manner with individual payments for each week they qualified for the program. For Ohioans receiving other types of unemployment benefits, there will be one retroactive payment for all weeks they qualify. Currently ODJFS is working to complete the programming necessary to disperse payments. Updates on this process can be found here.

September 17, 2020:

On September 17, Governor DeWine and Director Ursel McElroy of the Ohio Department of Aging provided an update on testing in nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult day centers, and adult day cares. Adult day care and senior centers will open on September 21. The facilities will test staff every other week and participants if they present symptoms. Outdoor visitation started at Ohio nursing homes on July 20. The Department of Aging is working on a dashboard to increase transparency about the status of visitation at facilities across the state.

September 15, 2020:

On September 14, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 606 into law. House Bill 606 ensures civil immunity to individuals, schools, health care providers, businesses, and other entities from lawsuits arising from exposure, transmission, or contraction of COVID-19, or any mutation of the virus, as long as they were not showing reckless, intentional, or willful misconduct.

It also shields health care providers from liability in tort actions regarding the care and services they provide during this pandemic unless they were acting recklessly or displaying intentional misconduct.

September 14, 2020:

On September 10, Governor DeWine released Ohio's updated Public Health Advisory System map. A total of 68 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and two counties, Lucas and Wayne, dropped from Level 3 to Level 2. However, six counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread and are listed as Level 3, including: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Preble, Putnam, and Summit. In addition to these six Level 3 counties, four additional counties meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of high incidence, including: Clark, Hamilton, Miami, and Wood. Although these counties do not meet enough indicators to trigger a Red Level 3 Public Emergency, these counties have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks which could lead to rapid virus transmission if steps are not taken to slow the spread.

September 10, 2020:

On September 10, Governor Mike DeWine named Joan Duwve, M.D., MPH, the director of the Ohio Department of Health.

September 9, 2020:

On September 9, Governor DeWine announced that thousands of Ohio children, who qualify for free or reduced-price meals but are currently learning remotely, will soon receive additional money to purchase nutritious foods through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program made possible by the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

On September 4, Governor DeWine announced that the Director’s Order Requiring Reporting and Notification Regarding COVID-19 Cases in Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade Schools had been signed. The order requires parents or guardians of students and school staff who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, whether through lab test or through clinical examination, to notify their school no later than twenty-four hours after receiving a confirmed diagnosis. The school district or school must name a COVID-19 coordinator to facilitate reporting of case information to the local health department.

August 31, 2020:

On August 31, Governor DeWine released this week's Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that six counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread. This is the lowest number of Level 3 counties since the Ohio Public Health Advisory System was developed. Level 3 advises limiting travel to when necessary only and limiting attending gathering of any number.

  • Increased to Level 3: Montgomery County
  • Continue at Level 3: Erie, Lorain, Lucas, Mercer, and Preble Counties
  • Decrease to Level 2: Clark, Clermont, Franklin, and Trumbull Counties
  • Decrease to Level 1: Marion, Muskingum, Perry, and Sandusky Counties

Governor DeWine also announced that the Ohio Department of Health will be issuing an order that requires K-12 schools to establish a mechanism for parents and guardians to report confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their children. Schools should notify parents/guardians in writing about each case and include as much information as possible without disclosing protected health information. Schools should also make non-identifying information about positive COVID-19 cases publicly available. The forthcoming order will also direct all K-12 schools to report confirmed cases to their local health department, which will then report new cases and cumulative case data for students and teachers to the Ohio Department of Health. This aggregate data will be published at coronavirus.ohio.gov each Wednesday.

Furthermore, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is pausing its work to test residents and staff at assisted living facilities through saliva testing instead of nasal swabs due to inconsistent test results.

Lastly, Lt. Governor Husted modified the current Sports Order to clarify that participants shall not compete in more than one contest or game in any calendar day, as compared to the 24-hour period outlined in the original order. The goal of this adjustment in language is to assist organizers and teams when scheduling games or contests.

August 26, 2020:

On August 25, Governor Mike DeWine addressed the Sports Order Variance Process contained in the Director's Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club, and Professional Sports. The order limits the maximum number of spectators gathered at an outdoor sports venue to the lesser of 1,500 individuals or 15 percent of fixed, seated capacity. The maximum for indoor sports venues is the lesser of 300 individuals or 15 percent of fixed, seated capacity. If a venue has more room to permit additional socially-distanced spectator capacity, a variance provision in the order allows schools to request a higher spectator limit by submitting a plan in writing to their local health department and the Ohio Department of Health. The variance plan must include a justification for increased capacity and an explanation of how social distancing will be maintained between family groups.

Governor DeWine also announced that Interim Ohio Department of Health Director Lance Himes today signed the Director's Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Entertainment Venues. The maximum number of patrons permitted in an outdoor entertainment venue is the lesser of 1,500 patrons or 15% of fixed, seated capacity. For indoor facilities, the maximum number of patrons permitted in an indoor entertainment venue shall be the lesser of 300 patrons or 15% of fixed seating capacity.

August 24, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes will be signing a reopening order for performance theaters in the near future, but details are still undecided. However, to give arts organizations the opportunity to begin planning for performances, the order will say that interior venue attendance will be capped at the lesser of 15% of their fixed-seated capacity or 300 people, while outdoor venue attendance will be capped at the lesser of 15% of their fixed seating capacity or 1,500 people. Many of the other guidelines in the forthcoming order will align with the limits on spectators at sports venues in the Director’s Order that Provides Mandatory Requirements for Youth, Collegiate, Amateur, Club and Professional Sports.

Governor DeWine also announced that effective August 24, 2020, each residential care facility licensed by the Ohio Department of Health shall require its staff to be tested for COVID-19 along with the strategic testing of residents.

August 20, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that a Sports Health Order was signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes. The order allows sports to go forward, but with several changes. Some changes include:

  • Spectators will be limited to a small number of people close to the participants. Schools can determine who is allowed to attend.
  • Local health departments and the Ohio High School Athletic Association officials will have site inspectors at contests to ensure social distancing and that other health regulations are followed.
  • Teams and leagues can delay sports to the spring.
  • Students won't need to be tested to participate in sports, as most high schools lack the resources to regularly test their athletes.

August 10, 2020:

On August 4, Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will issue a health order requiring that K-12 children wear face coverings while at school. The new mandate comes after the Ohio Children's Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter issued a joint letter today recommending widespread use of masks in schools with the following exceptions:

  • Children under the age of 2 years old

  • Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance

  • A child with a significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering (e.g. severe anxiety or a tactile aversion)

  • A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask

  • A child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction

August 3, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-30D after Ohio's Liquor Control Commission voted unanimously to end bar and restaurant alcohol sales at 10:00PM statewide. The governor’s executive order allows the new rule to take effect immediately. Under the order, no drinks can be sold after 10:00PM, and all drinks must be consumed by 11:00PM.

July 23, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine issued a statewide mask order that went into effect on Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m. All individuals in Ohio ten years and older must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

  • At an indoor location that is not a residence
  • Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
  • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

The mask order does not apply to:

  • Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability;
  • Those who are actively exercising or playing sports;
  • Those who are officiants at religious services;
  • Those who are actively involved in public safety; or
  • Those who are actively eating or drinking.

On July 22, Governor DeWine also issued a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher. Those traveling from one of the following states should self-quarantine for 14 days:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

July 16, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced on July 16 that new public health data has led the Ohio Department of Health to designate 19 counties as being in a Red Alert Level 3 Public Emergency as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The counties upgraded to Level 3 include: (1) Athens*; (2) Allen; (3) Delaware; (4) Licking; (5) Lucas; (6) Richland; (7) Scioto; and (8) Union. The following counties remain at Level 3: (1) Butler; (2) Clermont; (3) Cuyahoga; (4) Fairfield; (5) Franklin; (6) Hamilton; (7) Lorain; (8) Montgomery; (9) Pickaway; (10) Summit; and (11) Wood. Trumbull County has been downgraded to Level 2.

New counties upgraded to Red Alert Level 3 will be mandated to begin wearing masks in public beginning at 6 p.m. on July 17, 2020. Mask mandates will remain in effect in all counties continuing in Red Alert Level 3.

Residents in Trumbull County are no longer required to wear masks in public, however, they are strongly encouraged to do so. *Athens County is also on Ohio's Watch List because it is closely nearing Purple Alert Level 4. Butler, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton counties were removed from the Watch List but the threat of exposure and spread remains high.

Governor Mike DeWine also signed Executive Order 2020-29D to extend and improve emergency rules that will provide additional flexibilities to allow health care professionals to deliver services via telehealth. Through the emergency rules, the executive order permits the use of audio, video, and even text messaging to allow people to access critical health care services while remaining socially distant and safe.

July 13, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order enabling the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to use federal funding authorized under the CARES Act to enhance the state’s SharedWork program.

Participating employers agree to reduce the affected employees’ hours by a uniform percentage, between 10 percent and 50 percent, for up to 52 weeks. In return, those employees receive SharedWork compensation (which is a prorated unemployment benefit) and, while federally available, may also receive the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit each week.

July 9, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that effective on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., a new Ohio Department of Health order mandates face coverings in public in all counties that are designated as a Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency or a Purple Alert Level 4 Public Health Emergency. Those in counties designated as Level 3 or Level 4 are required to wear a face covering:

  • In any indoor location that is not a residence;
  • When outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household; or
  • While waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.

The order does not apply to children under the age of 10 or any other minor who cannot safely wear a face covering. The order also reflects the mask guidance in place for employees and businesses which does not require a person to wear a mask if their physician advises against it, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, if communicating with the hearing impaired, when alone in an office or personal workspace, and other similar measures.

Currently, seven counties in Ohio are designated at Red Alert Level 3 which indicates that those in these counties have a very high risk of exposure and spread. While no counties have reached Purple Alert Level 4, Franklin County is approaching this top tier. Any county that increases to Red Alert Level 3 will automatically be included in the face-covering mandate. Any county that decreases from Red Alert Level 3 to Orange Alert Level 2 will automatically be released from the face-covering requirement.

June 22, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order altering the definition of “good cause” for unemployment throughout the COVID-19 State of Emergency. “Good cause” now includes:

  • A medical professional recommends that an individual not return to work because that person falls into a category that is considered high-risk for catching COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their employee cannot offer teleworking options.
  • The employee is 65 years of age or older.
  • There is tangible evidence of a health and safety violation by the employer that does not allow the employee to practice social distancing, hygiene, and wearing personal protective equipment.
  • The individual has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and subject to a quarantine period as prescribed by a medical or health professional.
  • The individual must stay home to care for a family member who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that Phase II of the Responsible RestartOhio plan for sports activities allowed contact practice for all sports to resume on Monday, June 22, 2020. Football, lacrosse, and other contact sports can resume scrimmages and full training regiments as long as safety protocols are observed.

June 17, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine passed House Bill 81 providing for Workers’ Compensation coverage for post-exposure medical diagnosis services for a detention facility employee’s exposure to another person’s blood or bodily fluids.

He also announced that Ohio will borrow money to meet its unemployment obligation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state requested $3.1 billion in borrowing authority from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Governor Mike DeWine and Lance Himes, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health, announced that county fairs and animal exhibitions are permitted to re-open, subject to social distancing requirements and exceptions. 

June 15, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, announced that Ohio is expanding testing and encouraged those who want a COVID-19 test, including those who are low-risk or asymptomatic, to talk with their health care provider or contact a testing location to arrange a test. Governor DeWine also announced a series of "pop-up" testing locations, beginning with six locations in Columbus. These temporary testing sites will be available all over the state, including in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Portsmouth, Dayton, Xenia, Columbiana, Akron, and other locations.

Lt. Governor Husted also announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will receive an $8.5 million federal Employment Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant to help reemploy individuals who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help employers rebuild their workforces.

June 8, 2020:

On June 5, Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, announced that on June 19, 2020, the following may re-open: (1) casinos; (2) racinos; (3) amusement parks; and (4) water parks.

Dr. Acton also signed the Third Amended Director’s Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities, With Exceptions, to permit properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities to begin to allow outdoor visitation on June 8, 2020. The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes.

June 3, 2020:

Governor DeWine announced on June 2 that health care providers, including dentists, may resume all surgeries and procedures that had previously been delayed if they meet required safety criteria.

Governor DeWine also reported the creation of three programs to help small and medium-sized businesses in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency: (1) Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program; (2) Ohio Minority Micro-Enterprise Grant Program; and (3) Appalachian Region Loan Program.

Finally, Governor Mike DeWine stated that, as of right now, Ohio intends to reopen schools in the fall, but individual starting dates will be up to each local school board. In the near future, broad reopening guidelines will be issued for schools in regard to protecting the health of students and staff when the school year resumes.

June 1, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine and Amy Acton, MD, MPH, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, announced child care facilities may reopen as long as they meet all safety standards.

May 28, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced a plan to lift restrictions on visitation at assisted living homes in Ohio. Beginning on June 8, 2020, properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation. The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes.

May 27, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, announced the formation of a new Congregate Care Unified Response Teams to test residents and staff members in Ohio's nursing homes. Beginning this week, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams, which will include medically-trained members of the Ohio National Guard, will begin testing residents and staff within nursing homes on two parallel paths: (1) all staff in all Ohio nursing facilities will be tested to help nursing home administrators gauge the status of the virus in their facilities and help isolate the virus to stop it from infecting their community; and (2) testing will be conducted in facilities where residents or workers have confirmed or assumed positive cases. Testing will be conducted on all staff, and the testing of residents will be based on a clinically-driven strategy that targets those who have likely been exposed to COVID-19. By testing residents based on their potential interaction with a confirmed COVID-19 case, the nursing facility will be better equipped to isolate the virus and contain spread within the facility.

May 26, 2020:

On May 22, Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, and Amy Acton, MD, MPH, Director of the Ohio Department of Health announced that all gyms, fitness-based recreation centers, dance instruction studios, and other personal fitness venues are permitted to reopen as of May 22, 2020 within Ohio so long as all safety standards are met. All businesses shall maintain six-foot social distancing for employees and members of the public. Businesses must follow additional industry-specific guidance in the Director’s Order.

The following are also permitted to re-open: (1) baseball; (2) softball; (3) batting cages; (4) golf courses; (5) miniature golf; (6) local and public pools and aquatic centers; (7) tennis facilities; (8) skills training for all sports; and (9) general non-contact sports including bowling alleys. All businesses shall maintain six-foot social distancing for employees and members of the public. Additional guidance in the Director’s Order must be followed for each specific sport and venue.

Auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, parades, fairs, festivals, indoor trampoline parks, indoor water parks, and movie and other theatres (excluding drive-in theatres), are still not permitted to re-open.

Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, and Amy Acton, MD, MPH, Director of the Ohio Department of Health also announced all school buildings that provide K-12 instruction in Ohio are to remain closed to students until 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2020. This order does not apply to or exclude sports authorized to re-open as of May 22, 2020.

May 20, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine released details of the new "Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory" which replaces the Stay Safe Ohio order that was issued by the Ohio Department of Health on April 30, 2020.

The health order replaces language requiring Ohioans to stay at home with limited exceptions with language that strongly recommends that citizens, especially those who are high-risk, stay at home as much as possible. The order does not change the mass gathering restrictions, which remain at a 10-person limit.

The new health advisory also lifts overall travel restrictions and the requirement to quarantine if someone travels to or returns to Ohio. Unnecessary travel within or outside of Ohio is not encouraged.

May 19, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that he is assembling an enforcement team to ensure that bars and restaurants are operating safely under the Responsible RestartOhio plan. Bars and restaurants reopened to patrons for outdoor dining on Friday, May 15. Dine-in service is scheduled to resume on May 21. The enforcement team will operate as part of the Ohio Department of Safety's Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) and will conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants. Businesses found violating the Stay Safe Ohio order will receive administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses. The OIU team will also work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against business owners who do not follow the order, which includes the requirement that patrons remain seated while eating/drinking and that parties stay six feet apart.

May 15, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that beginning May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if providers can meet required safety protocols.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols. This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports. Public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen also on May 26 if the facilities can meet required safety protocols. Furthermore, gyms and fitness centers can reopen if they meet safety protocols.

May 14, 2020:

Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted announced that sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, cosmetic therapy will be permitted to reopen on May 15, 2020 with the implementation of proper safety measures. Tattoo and body piercing services will also be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures.

May 7, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, announced the next phase of the Responsible RestartOhio plan as it relates to restaurants, bars, and personal care services. Restaurants and bars in Ohio will be permitted to reopen for outdoor dining on May 15 and for dine-in on May 21. Personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons, and tanning facilities may reopen on May 15.

May 5, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced the categories that Ohio will prioritize for COVID-19 testing under Ohio’s new plan for increased COVID-19 testing.

May 1, 2020:

Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health issued a “Stay Safe Ohio Order.” The new order will replace the previous "Stay at Home" order, which expires at 11:59 p.m. on May 1. Under the new order, certain businesses and operations are permitted to reopen so long as all workplace safety standards contained in the new order are met. The new order expires at 11:59 pm on May 29, 2020.

April 29, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine reemphasized that face coverings are required for employers and employees while on the job. Exceptions for employers and employees include when: (1) an employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job; (2) wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices; (3) wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes; (4) if wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies; (5) an employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace; and (6) there is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee. If any of these exceptions apply to a business or employee, written justification must be provided upon request.

April 28, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, announced that beginning May 1, 2020, all medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a healthcare facility or do not require inpatient hospital admission and minimizes use of personal protective equipment may move forward. This includes regular doctor visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests. Dental services and veterinary services may also proceed if a safe environment can be established.

They also announced that beginning on May 4, 2020, manufacturing, distribution, and construction businesses may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. Additionally, beginning on May 4, 2020, general office environments may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

Beginning on May 12, 2020, consumer, retail and services, may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

Not included in the Responsible Restart Ohio Plan are the following types of establishments, which are ordered to remain closed due to their increased risk of potential COVID-19 exposure: (1) schools and daycares; (2) dine-in restaurants and bars (carry-out is still permitted); (3) personal appearance and beauty businesses; (4) older adult daycare serveries and senior centers; (5) adult day support or vocational rehabilitation services in group settings; and (6) entertainment, recreation, and gyms. Large gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited in the Plan as well.

April 24, 2020:

Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Department of Health issued an order permitting doctors to resume elective surgeries. Doctors and patients should consider the current health situations and make a joint decision, and patients must be informed of the risk of contracting COVID-19 during the post-operative recovery process.

April 21, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that K-12 schools in Ohio will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year. The Ohio Department of Health also announced it will again allow hospitals to utilize commercial laboratories in addition to hospital laboratories performing COVID-19 testing.

April 19, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, provided a recovery phase update. The Governor reiterated that it will not be an overnight change but instead will be gradual and careful and involve balancing compliance with public health measures, implementing safeguards in the business, and protecting the vulnerable. The Governor also addressed testing in state prisons.

April 17, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that the state economy will begin the process of reopening on May 1. The governor said during his press briefing that the state government is planning its reopening on the date his stay-at-home order expires. DeWine told his residents to prepare for things “to be different” as masks and social distancing become the normal in workplaces.

April 16, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced today that he has asked the Ohio Hospital Association to begin developing a plan to begin treating patients whose non-COVID-19 elective procedures were delayed or deferred due to the ongoing pandemic.

Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted announced that by the end of next week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will be able to begin processing the additional $600-a-week payments authorized by the federal CARES Act. ODJFS also plans to launch an online tool that will allow self-employed, 1099 workers to get in line early, so that as soon as they have the technological ability to process their claims, they will already have their paperwork in and be in line for review. The department expects to be able to begin processing those claims by May 15, 2020.

April 13, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that Medicaid, the managed care plans, and MyCare Ohio plans have come together to remove barriers for members receiving Medicaid benefits during this crisis. Medicaid has eased several pharmacy benefit restrictions.

April 9, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that he has asked the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to give up to $1.6 billion to Ohio employers to help ease the economic impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s economy and business community. The proposed amount equals 100% of the premium employers paid in policy year 2018.

April 8, 2020:

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission passed an emergency rule to allow establishments with an existing on-premises liquor permit to sell and deliver alcohol, including high-proof liquor in limited quantity, for off-premises consumption. Breweries can also now sell beer and wine that are not their own without food purchase, but food purchase is required for the sale of high-proof liquor. Under the rule, patrons can purchase no more than two drinks per meal. All drinks must be closed and remain closed during transport as per the open container law cited in ORC 4301.01(B)(6). This rule will remain in effect for up to 120 days unless rescinded by the Liquor Control Commission, whichever occurs first.

Governor Mike DeWine announced a new office, the Ohio Office of Small Business Relief, has been developed within the Ohio Development Services Agency to better coordinate Ohio's efforts to identify and provide support for Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses during COVID-19.

April 7, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced the state is expanding healthcare services at alternative sites. Furthermore, Lt. Governor Husted announced that the administration’s Dispute Resolution Commission, which was initially announced last week, is now prepared to receive submissions from essential businesses as well as county health departments. The panel will specifically seek to resolve disputes when two county health departments disagree on whether a type of business should or should not be deemed essential during the state of emergency. The purpose of the commission is to provide clarity and ensure that similarly-situated businesses are treated fairly, regardless of which side of a county line they operate.

April 3, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced the establishment of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19.

Governor DeWine also announced today that Ohio's Stay at Home order has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020. The new update also includes the creation of a dispute resolution process for situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion on what is or is not an essential business. The order additionally requires that essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at one time. These businesses must ensure that people waiting to enter the stores maintain safe social distancing.

The Executive Order also states that travelers arriving to Ohio should self-quarantine for 14 days. Exceptions include persons who live and work in trans-border areas, heath care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and designated essential workers.

April 2, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued an order requiring weekly online reporting of statewide inventory of ventilators and other machines and devices that provide breathing assistance by any entity in the supply chain, from creation through end-use. Examples are manufacturers, producers, wholesalers, transporters, distributors, retailers, physicians, clinics, hospitals, and medical facilities.

April 1, 2020:

Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend its order to keep schools closed through the end of April. Ohio's previous order was set to expire on April 3, 2020. The new order will extend the closure through May 1, 2020.

March 23, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine ordered an immediate hiring freeze for all agencies, boards, and commissions under the control of the Governor. The only exceptions are for positions that provide a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, safety and security, or direct care or institutional services. Governor DeWine also ordered a freeze on new contract services for the state of Ohio, except for those services that are necessary for the emergency response.

March 22, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio will be under a "Stay at Home" order. Residents may only leave their home for “essential activities” and “essential travel,” which includes work for an “essential business” and also for healthcare purposes and to obtain necessary supplies. The order will go into effect beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020, unless the order is rescinded or modified.

Essential businesses include all those deemed critical by the CISA recommendations, along with grocery stores, stores that sell medicine, food related businesses, charitable organizations, religious entities, media, gas stations, financial and insurance institutions, hardware stores, trades providing sanitation and safety services to residents and essential businesses, mail services, laundry, restaurants for to-go and delivery, businesses providing supplies for essential services, professional services including legal and accounting services, hotels, funeral services, and manufacturers for critical industry items, among others. “Essential businesses” still must maintain six feet of social distancing.

Non-essential businesses may still operate portions of the business to carry out “Minimum Basic Operations.”

Under the Order, documentation is not required for an employee to travel to or from an essential business. However, the order recommends employers consider providing employees with appropriate documentation to support their travel to and from work.

March 21, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine ordered all adult day support and vocational habilitation services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to temporarily stop providing services in settings of more than 10 people. The order will become effective on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 9:00 p.m.

The Ohio’s Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) system announced that insurance premium installment payments due for March, April, and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) modified the process for haulers carrying heavy loads of essential goods. Haulers carrying essential goods can download and print the permit here.

March 20, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine announced that he is ordering all of Ohio's senior centers and adult day care services to stop providing care in congregate care settings. The closure begins at the end of business on Monday, March 23, 2020.

The Ohio Department of Insurance is issuing an order for insurers in Ohio to allow employers to offer employees a grace period for insurance premiums.

March 19, 2020: 

Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved their request to allow small businesses and nonprofits in Ohio to apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Loan applications can be completed online, or applicants can obtain a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955.

Governor DeWine also signed an executive order to expand and enhance telehealth options for Ohio Medicaid recipients and their providers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

March 18, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine ordered temporary closure of Ohio's barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, and tattoo parlors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor DeWine also ordered the temporary closure of most of Ohio's Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) deputy registrar locations and BMV driver examination stations.

March 17, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health has issued an order declaring that elective surgeries and procedures in Ohio's hospitals be postponed in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders.

Governor DeWine also signed an executive order establishing a temporary pandemic child care license that allows the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to provide child care to families where parents work in the health, safety, and essential service fields during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 16, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine issued an order regarding Closure of the Polling Locations in the State of Ohio on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

March 14, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine issued a Director’s Order to close all Ohio bars and restaurants to in-house patrons, effective at 9:00 p.m. on March 15, 2020. Restaurants with take-out and delivery options will still be able to operate those services, even as their dining rooms are temporarily closed.

March 12, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine announced that all K-12 grade schools close for a period of several weeks. The schools are to close on March 16 and will close to students through Friday, April 3. This order includes all public, community, and private K-12 schools in the state, but does not apply to Ohio’s childcare system such as daycare centers and home-based childcare providers.

March 10, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine issued a recommendation that large, indoor gatherings in Ohio be canceled or postponed due to the potential for coronavirus.

March 7, 2020:  

Governor Mike DeWine declared a State of Emergency in Executive Order 2020-01D. Purchasing and contracting requirements are restricted for procuring necessary resources and supplies.

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