(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
STATEWIDE HIGH INCIDENCE
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 today’s 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.
Ohio also had another record-breaking day for new cases reported in a 24-hour period, with 7,101 cases reported between yesterday and today. A total of 268 new hospitalizations were reported, as well as 35 more deaths.
A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio’s 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s website.
NEW ZIP CODE DASHBOARD
Governor DeWine today 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.
NEW FLU DASHBOARD
Governor DeWine also announced a new 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 a.m.
The new flu dashboard can be found at flu.ohio.gov.
FUNDING FOR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS
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.
GRANT ASSISTANCE STILL AVAILABLE
Lt. Governor Jon Husted today 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-served 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 haven’t 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.
BRENT SPENCE BRIDGE
Governor DeWine today signed a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Hamilton County due to the catastrophic crash that heavily damaged the Brent Spence Bridge which connects Cincinnati and Kentucky.
Although Kentucky leads all bridge maintenance, Governor DeWine authorized the Ohio Department of Transportation to assist with repairs so that the bridge can reopen as soon as possible.
The state of emergency declaration will allow Ohio to recover bridge repair expenses from the Federal Emergency Relief Program.
GOVERNOR’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY
First Lady Fran DeWine announced today that the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program is now being offered to children in all of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Kids from birth to age five statewide are now eligible to receive a free book in the mail each month, no matter what county they live in.
When First Lady DeWine started this program with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, only a handful of counties offered the books and 13 percent of Ohio children were enrolled.
Parents are encouraged to enroll their kids in this free literary program. To sign up, visit ohioimaginationlibrary.org