Covid-19 news, views, updates 7-23-20

Jul 22, 2020 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Put-in-Bay testing confirms 66 positives, 43 from Ottawa County

The Ottawa County Health Department (OCHD), along with several public health partners, conducted mass testing for COVID-19 on Put-in-Bay on Friday and Saturday, July 10-11. The Ohio Department of Health verified 954 specimens were collected and of those 66 were positive, 43 from Ottawa County.

The testing focused on employees of Put-in-Bay establishments, but no one was turned away. The mass testing gained baseline knowledge of the number of employees having an active COVID-19 infection and to isolate those individuals to stop the spread of the virus. The final results demonstrated a 7% positivity rate of COVID-19 on Put-in-Bay, lower than originally anticipated by health officials.

Canada is telling Americans to stay home for another month

The U.S.-Canada border will likely continue to be shut down for at least another month to all but “essential” travelers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For Ohioans, the rule has prevented anglers from fishing Canadian waters, or visiting their vacation homes on Pelee Island.

While Americans are eager for the border to open again, Canadians are not so happy to see them come back because of the much higher rate of COVID-19 in the U.S. The border has been shut down in 30-day increments since March 21, a burden on border towns that welcome cross-border tourists and traffic.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other prominent politicians are adamantly opposed to reopening the border, as are 89% of Canadians, according to a poll. A similar closure is in place on the Mexico border.

Gov. DeWine hints statewide mask mandate may be necessary

Ohio is at a critical point in the COVID-19 pandemic, said Gov. Mike DeWine, and implored Ohioans to take appropriate action to reverse the rapidly increasing spread of the virus.

“More Ohioans are getting sick than at any previous point in this pandemic. We are sliding down a very dangerous path, with our once flattened-curve starting to sharpen and spike,” said Gov. DeWine. “This is a worrisome, disturbing reversal of our progress — a jarring reminder of just how quickly our fate can change.”

DeWine said on “Meet the Press” Sunday that more orders will be announced this week because cases “are occurring in bars, occurring in churches. It’s occurring from people who have traveled out of state. But a lot of it, frankly, is just people in casual settings: 20, 30, 40, 50 people gathering together.”

Legislation to blunt Ohio health order penalties is vetoed

A bid by the Ohio Legislature tried to soften the penalties for violating state and local health orders prompted Gov. Mike DeWine to veto the bill last Friday.

“In the midst of this pandemic, now is not the time to change tactics and impede local health officials’ ability to protect all Ohioans,” said Gov. DeWine. “Our collective goals are always to ensure the safety of the public, guard against the health care system from being overwhelmed, and allowing all Ohio workers and businesses to do what they do best, which is grow the economy.”

The legislation was first introduced in the House last May by Rep. D.J. Swearingen of Ottawa and Erie counties to increase penalties for drug dealing, but it also slashed fines for violating local health orders. The bill had cleared the House 72-23 and Senate 18-10.

Marathon LPGA Classic still on, but without golf fans

A surge in COVID-19 cases in Lucas and surrounding counties has prompted Marathon LPGA Classic tournament director Judd Silverman to reverse a decision by Gov. Mike DeWine to allow fan attendance for the Aug. 6-9 event at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania.

“We know it is the right thing to do for the safety of the community, our sponsors, volunteers and LPGA players,” said Silverman.

The tournament was approved for 2,000 fans per round, about the same number who attend Cedar Point and the Toledo Zoo each day. The tournament stands to lose $1 million without fans and the pro-am golf events.

Toledo mandates masks to be worn in places of business

Expecting an increase in Covid-19 positive tests, Toledo City Council mandated last week that masks and face coverings must be worn in places of business around the city. It follows mask mandates of various types being approved by Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton.

Businesses where masks must be worn include restaurants and bars, including outdoor seating, as well as groceries, retail stores, pharmacies, public areas of hotels and motels, gyms, community centers and city buildings.

RestartOhio helps guide colleges to safe reopening

The Ohio Department of Higher Education, in consultation with Ohio colleges, universities, the Ohio Department of Health and health experts across the state have developed guidelines to help campuses safety reopen.

The Responsible RestartOhio Guidance for Institutes of Higher Education guidelines includes minimum operating standards for all campuses, as well as best practices to further enhance those standards.

“By implementing these minimum requirements and implementing best practices, our higher education communities can continue to educate students and prevent the spread of Covid-19,” said Gov. Mike DeWine.

Ohio Controlling Board approves $300 million for schools

To help K-12 schools and institutions of higher education address increasing costs associated with the Covid-19 safety measures, the Ohio General Assembly sought to have the Ohio Controlling Board approve an initial request on Monday to allocate $300 million to Ohio schools. Legislators earmarked $200 million for higher education and $100 million for K-12 schools from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

The funding will come from federal CARES Act dollars to help schools meet their unique individual needs, said Gov. DeWine. The funding would be available to all two- and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, including adult career teach providers.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted asks Covid-19 survivors to donate plasma

Ohioans who have fully recovered from Covid-19 should consider donating plasma, said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

“Convalescent plasma, which is plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients, is rich in antibodies that could possibly attack the virus that causes Covid-19,” said Husted. “Although the treatment of Covid-19 patients with convalescent plasma remains in the investigative stage, it shows promise to lessen the severity or shorten the length of Covid-19. It is something that could potentially save lives in our continual fight against the coronavirus.”

If Big Ten opens football season, non-conferences games scrapped

It’s still a tossup whether the Big Ten will open its football season this fall, but if it does there will not be any non-conference games on the schedule. Big Ten officials said they made the decision relying on medical advice relating to travel and scheduling. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said it would be “much easier if we’re just working with our Big Ten institutions.”

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