Coronavirus: State sending out face masks today; DeWine orders hiring freeze in state government

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The state is sending all personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, to county healthy departments and hospital today said Ohio Department of Health Amy Acton.

However, the supply is still low.

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“We are talking about boxes, not truckloads,” Acton explained.

She added that the state is waiting on federal shipments more PPE.

Gov. Mike DeWine ordered an immediate hiring freeze in state government, outside of positions essential to slowing the spread of coronavirus.

He also ordered a freeze on all government contracts in the state.

DeWine clarified said that the families first responders, hospital staff, healthcare workers and other essential workers will have priority when it comes to childcare.

Starting Thursday, childcare centers must have a temporary pandemic license to operate and can only have six children per room.

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Children of essential workers have priority for childcare spots. Any remaining spots will be open to the rest of the public, DeWine said.

Six people have died from coronavirus and there are at least 442 confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio, according to Acton.

Two deaths were reporting in Franklin County and one in Cuyahoga, Erie, Lucas and Stark counties.

The age range is from less than 1 year old to 93 years old, with a medium age of 52, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton said.

The virus has been confirmed in 46 counties, including Butler, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Warren.

There have been 104 hospitalizations in the state due to the virus.

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Lt. Gov. Jon Husted addressed a stay at home order scheduled to go into effect Tuesday.

While essential businesses will still be open, Husted said they have to operate in a safe and healthy environment.

If a business cannot ensure a clean and safe working environment, it should not be open, he said.

Husted said employers should read the order and use common sense when it comes to deciding to open.

They should also consider if they would have a good reason for staying open if the health department came to their business.

DeWine said local police and health departments would be in charge of investigating any violations of the order, but did not specify how violators would be punished.

In some cases, the investigarots may give a warning and then possibly a citation if the violation isn’t corrected.

“We would not have issued this if it wasn’t a matter of life or death,” DeWine said.

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When asked how long the various orders are expected to last, DeWine said he hopes to lift them as soon as possible.

He couldn’t give an exact time, but said each order has weighed on him, especially knowing that some of them have left Ohioans without jobs.

However, the stressed the importance of public health and saving people’s lives.

Anyone with questions regarding the virus should call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

We will continue to update this story throughout the press briefing.

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