Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
Daily COVID-19 numbers — As of Thursday, April 17, Columbus Public Health reports 855 cases of COVID-19 in Columbus and Worthington. In Franklin County, 1,212 cases and 19 deaths have been reported. Statewide, 8,414 cases and 389 deaths have been reported.
Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Public Health commissioner, last reported in a virtual City Council Town Hall on Tuesday that there are nine deaths in Columbus and Worthington. An updated death count is expected Friday, April 17 in the health department’s weekly COVID-19 report.
Weekly unemployment numbers — 157,218 Ohioans filed for employment during the week ending on April 11. That’s a 68,973 person decrease from the previous week and a 855,197 total since the week Ohio’s “Stay at Home” order was put in place on March 22.
On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the state of Ohio would begin a gradual reopening of businesses beginning on May 1.
DeWine said businesses reopening would be dependent on their ability to assure the protection of employees — and if applicable, customers — with the same cleanliness and distancing guidelines and policies that have become the public’s new normal with COVID-19, including the availability of masks, sanitizers and physical distancing.
“The workplace is going to change,” Gov. DeWine said in his daily coronavirus update.
He said how the state proceeds will be dependent on a number of variables, including where the state is in terms of flattening the curve, hospital admissions and personal protective equipment inventory.
Gov. DeWine did not say whether schools would open back up on May 1, but said a decision may come early next week.
State Partnership — Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio governors will work together on reopening efforts, announced Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker.
Masks for the Homeless — As COTA issues a policy requiring all riders to wear face masks, the Community Shelter Board has begun acquiring masks through either donations or purchase for local shelters. The Ohio State University Medical Center and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio have donated masks, while the board has ordered masks from menstrual product supplier Aunt Flow, for distribution to shelters this week.
More Battelle Donations — The Columbus-based company announced it is donating $1 million to three central Ohio organizations for coronavirus pandemic emergency support. The YMCA of Central Ohio will receive $500,000, the Community Shelter Board will receive $250,000, and LifeCare Alliance, also known as Meals on Wheels, will receive $250,000.
Prison Population — The state of Ohio reduced its overall prison population by a total of 311 inmates last week via local courts.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.