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Coronavirus: Question isn’t when state will reopen, it’s how, DeWine says

A member of the National Guard loads fresh food into the back of a vehicle at The Foodbank Thursday. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF
A member of the National Guard loads fresh food into the back of a vehicle at The Foodbank Thursday. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF

As Ohio officials face more questions about when the state will start to reopen Gov. Mike DeWine reminded everyone the question they’re looking to answer is how.

While schools and non-essential businesses are closed, business owners and school administrators  need to look at what steps they’ll take to protect staff and the public once reopen.

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton said that face masks could continue to be part of Ohioans’ daily, especially those with pre-existing conditions, lives once the state starts to loosen restrictions.

“Until we have a vaccine this monster will be around us,” Gov. Mike DeWine said.

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Lt. Gov. Jon Husted reminded businesses that as orders are lifted and people go back to work, they will still need to provide a safe work environment for employees.

Business owners should look at getting cloth face masks and other practices to ensure that when the time to reopen comes, it can be done safely.

Acton also stressed the importance of social and physical distancing as the state continues to work on plans to reopen.

“We’ve won the first battle,” she said. “But we can’t stop here.”

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Ohio still has a shortage of personal protective equipment and the state is still limited on testing, Acton said.

Once testing is more widespread, the state can better detect coronavirus hot spots and flares and see what parts of Ohio is being hit the hardest, DeWine said.

She also announced a new order that shared the addresses of those who have tested positive with the virus with dispatchers so that first responders can properly protect themselves.

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The information will be confidential, she said.

However, she reminded everyone that anyone might be carrying the virus. Even if someone has recovered, they cold still pass it along.

The state’s dispute resolution commission has ruled on 10 disputes on essential businesses operating in multiple counties.

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Their rulings include pet grooming services, CBD stores and car washes, Husted said.

The commission has received 194 inquires, but most were rerouted to the local level.

There are 27 inquiries under review.

DeWine announced a Medicaid waiver that will be submitted to the federal government that will bolster telehealth services.

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The waiver will also remove staffing level requirements to give providers more flexibility and allow health care workers to focus on meeting the needs of Ohioans, DeWine said.

There are 7,153 cases of coronavirus and 309 deaths confirmed in the state according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The state has 127 probable cases and 15 probable deaths.

The state has reported a total 2,156 hospitalizations with 654 ICU admissions.

There have been 67,874 people tested for the virus in Ohio.

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