Coronavirus: DeWine vows to veto bill limiting Ohio health orders

Gov. Mike DeWine said that he will veto a bill that would limit the Ohio Department of Health’s ability to issue health orders if it makes it to his desk.

“[Senate Bill] 311 is a disaster” he said. “I know it’s well-intended by the General Assembly, but when you look at the ramifications, this is not a bill that can become law.”

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The governor said the bill would prevent ODH’s ability to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and that health experts told him it’s “a dangerous idea.”

“Doctors, nurses and scientists have all advised me that this bill would do great harm if it became law,” DeWine said. “For that reason, if SB 311 passes, I will veto it.”

Montgomery County made the level 4 watch list for the first time as Franklin County became the first county to reach purple, or level 4, Ohio’s most severe level.

To reach level 4, a county must meet at least six indicators for at least two weeks. Counties on the watch list meet at least six indicators, but have not done so for two consecutive weeks.

Lake and Lorain counties were also placed on the watch list.

Logan County is the only orange, or level 2, county in the Miami Valley. The rest of region is red, or level 3. This week marks Darke County’s first time at level 3. There are 72 red counites in the state. There are no yellow, or level 1, counties remaining.

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An increase of antigen testing in Ohio resulted in a delayed coronavirus test reporting, the governor said.

The state doublechecks the results of antigen tests before adding the results to the state’s data. With recent increases in antigen testing, the state is starting to fall behind on confirming those results. Currently, there’s a backlog of 12,000 antigen tests.

Most of those 12,000 cases are expected to be confirmed cases, DeWine said. He also noted that the state has been confirming the antigen tests since the state has started using them and only recently fell behind in doublechecking.

On average, Ohio is running about 10,000 antigen tests a day.

Ohio reported 7,787 daily cases of coronavirus Thursday for a total of 326,615, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The governor noted that while the daily case number is already high, there are likely more positive cases due to the delay in reporting antigen tests.

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Deaths increased by 63, bringing the total to 5,890.

Ohio has a total of 23,560 hospitalizations throughout the pandemic, with 343 reported Thursday. There’s are 3,829 COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals Thursday, with 976 in southwest Ohio, according to ODH.

ICU admissions increased by 38 for a total of 4,318.

A statewide 21-day curfew is scheduled to start today. Ohioans are advised to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Exemptions include people going to and from working, seeking medical care or getting groceries or takeout.

DeWine announced the curfew on Tuesday, but has yet to release the full details.

Other communities across the state issued stay-at-home advisories as cases and hospitalizations continue to climb.

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Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County issued an advisory starting today and going through Dec. 17. Residents are asked to stay at home as much as possible and limit contact with those outside their household.

Similar advisories were issued in Franklin County, Columbus, Summit County, Cuyahoga County and Cleveland.

DeWine congratulated communities with stay-at-home advisories, saying that it’s consistent with him messaging.

“If you can stay home, stay home,” he said. “This is very, very serious. We have to take this down. The reason why we haven’t issued a statewide shutdown is because of the ramifications of a shutdown. Everything we do during the pandemic is a balance.”

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