Here are the latest details about the state and region’s issues with the COVID-19 pandemic:
The fate of the remaining school year, including graduation requirements and state-mandated testing, are among the top issues before lawmakers planning a return to Columbus this week to address challenges posted by the coronavirus.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced an immediate freeze in state government hiring and ordered state agencies to identify immediate budget cuts of up to 20%. He also has frozen new contract services. “The earlier we start slowing down the spending, the more impact obviously it’s going to have,” he said Monday. He expects state lawmakers will act to align the state’s income tax deadline with the adjusted federal deadline of July 15.
Over the weekend, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose proposed a plan by which postage-paid absentee ballots would be sent to every Ohioan who hadn’t already voted in the March 17 primary, along with postage to return the form. LaRose also wants continued discretion to allow in-person voting on June 2 if Gov. Mike DeWine’s “stay at home” order is no longer in place.
Beginning Thursday, all child care centers in Ohio must operate under a temporary Pandemic Child Care license and follow guidelines including no more than six children in a class and one teacher to no more than six children. Available slots will go to the children of health, safety and other essential workers first.
Last week, nearly 140,000 Ohioans filed unemployment insurance claims in one week. State officials say these numbers dwarf any previous unemployment claims. The previous high for a month came during the recession in December 1981, when 205,159 claims were filed for the entire month, according to the Department of Job and Family Services.
• There are 442 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio in 46 counties. There are 104 hospitalizations, and six have died.
• Counties with recorded cases include Ashland (1), Ashtabula (3), Belmont (2), Butler (17), Carroll (2), Clark (1), Clermont (5), Clinton (1), Columbiana (2), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (149), Darke (1), Defiance (2), Delaware (7), Erie (1), Franklin (44), Gallia (1), Geauga (2), Greene (1), Hamilton (26), Hancock (1), Highland (1), Huron (1), Knox (1), Lake (8), Licking (1), Logan (1), Lorain (24), Lucas (9), Madison (1), Mahoning (23), Marion (3), Medina (15), Miami (17), Montgomery (7), Portage (2), Richland (1), Sandusky (1), Stark (12), Summit (28), Trumbull (3), Tuscarawas (2), Union (1), Warren (5), Washington (1) Wood (2).
• Following Congress’ passage of a bipartisan funding package to support COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts across the country, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) led 11 of their Ohio delegation colleagues, including Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), in urging the Trump administration to ensure that this funding be made immediately available for the research, development and review of products and treatments to help people suffering from COVID-19-related complications.
• The Veterans Memorial Civic Center announced that “The Color Purple,” slated for April 29, has been canceled. All tickets will be fully refunded. For more information, contact the box office at 419-224-1552.
• The Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert has canceled all shows through May 3. This includes “The Isaacs and Terry Bradshaw” April 17, “Here Come the Mummies” April 25, speaker Paul Keels April 26 and “Earth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure” on May 3. Refunds will be dispersed by mail. For more information, contact the box office at 419-238-6722.
• Charter Communications Inc. announced it will provide SHOWTIME and EPIX premium channels at no additional charge to Spectrum TV customers who do not currently receive those channels through April 19.
• Hilty Preschool and Childcare Center in Pandora has been approved as a temporary pandemic child care center. Normal operations will cease Tuesday and the center will reopen as a pandemic center Thursday. The children of healthcare workers will be given priority. To enroll a child, call 419-384-3220 or message the Hilty Preschool and Child Care Facebook page.
• The Van Wert Chamber of Commerce will be closed to the public until April 6. For details, contact 419-238-4390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce and affiliated support groups will host a webinar at 11 a.m. Wednesday to help local businesses understand the governor’s “stay home” orders and navigate small business loan and support programs.
The Chamber has also designated Wednesday as Local Restaurant Eat Out Day in Lima. Residents are encouraged to use drive-through or curbside pickup service to support local restaurants.
• American Township Trustees will hold an emergency meeting at 8:30 a.m. April 13 on township operations. There will be no public seating. Copies of the minutes and recordings of the meeting can be found at www.amertwp.us on the Trustee and Fiscal Officer tab. Office hours and information concerning American Township operations can also be found on that website.
• The Allen County Child Support Enforcement Agency lobby is closed but limited staff remain to do business. A drop box at the entrance is available for payments. To do payment by phone, call 419 224-7133, Opt. 6, or 1-888-965-2676, Option 5. Online payments may be made at https://oh.smartchildsupport.com. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to Ohio CSPC P.O. Box 182372, Columbus, OH 43218-2372. Please make sure to include your case number, order number and last four digits of your Social Security Number on your check/money order. Pay records may also be requested at the local number or https://childsupport.ohio.gov/login.jsf.
• Van Wert County Common Pleas Court Judge Martin Burchfield announced Monday that all jury trials in the general division of the court have been continued until further notice. As many hearings and conferences as possible are to be done by telephone or video link, the judge said.
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