COVID-19 news, views, updates for 8-13-20

Aug 12, 2020 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Face mask mandate for school kids set by Ohio Department of Health

The Ohio Department of Health has issued a health order requiring K-12 children to wear face coverings while at school. The new mandate comes after the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter issued a joint letter  recommending widespread use of masks in schools with the following exceptions:

  • Children under the age of 2 years old
  • Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  • A child with a significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering (e.g. severe anxiety or a tactile aversion)
  • A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask
  • A child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction

“Without a vaccine, we are limited in the ways that we can protect the people of Ohio,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “For schools to have a fighting chance to stay open this fall, widespread face coverings for K-12 students will increase the odds that kids will go to school and stay in school.”

Riverview Healthcare Campus opens to visitors this week

The tent is up outside of Riverview Healthcare Campus in Oak Harbor, and residents can enjoy outdoor visitation with family. All Resident Representatives have scheduled their first visit and family and friends wishing to visit a resident can call to set up an appointment.

The staff will be taking appointments for two weeks at a time, as circumstances can change quickly with the virus. Call the front desk between the hours of 5 a.m.-7 p.m. to schedule an appointment at 419-898-2851 Ext. 4000.

Visitation will need to be cancelled if there is a severe weather threat, the facility (staff or resident) has a positive case of COVID-19, or the protocols in place are not closely followed.

Ohio joins a six-state agreement to expand rapid testing for COVID-19

Ohio is entering into a multi-state purchasing agreement with Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia to expand the use of rapid point-of-care tests for COVID-19.

“Over the past week, we have conducted an average of 22,334 COVID-19 tests a day with Ohio’s current testing procedure, but rapid point-of-care tests are faster, simpler, and less expensive,” said Gov. DeWine. “Expanding the use of this testing will serve as an important screening tool and a critical addition to our plan to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

More rapid point-of-care testing will help Ohio detect outbreaks sooner with faster turnaround time, expand testing in congregate settings, and make testing more accessible for the most high-risk and hard-hit communities.

ODH warns Ohioans that informal gatherings can spread virus

The Ohio Department of Health is continuing to warn Ohioans about community spread connected to informal gatherings between family and friends.

“The truth is that it is easier to be scared of a stranger than a friend. Maintaining social distance and choosing to not gather together is really a sign that you care about your loved ones,” Gov. DeWine said.

Church officials must be cautious in holding services

Ohio’s faith-based community is receiving important health information to allow Ohio churches, synagogues, and mosques to share ways to better protect their worshipers.

One case study shows that a man with COVID-19 attended a church service in Ohio, and following that service, 91 additional people from five counties developed symptoms.

“I know that our faith-based leaders want nothing more than to protect their worshipers, but we also know that the virus can easily spread in places where people gather,” said Gov. DeWine. “It is vital that, any time people gather together, everyone wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and while indoors, making sure there is good ventilation and airflow.”

Dr. Amy Acton still available in an advisory role

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio’s former director of the Ohio Department of Health, has decided to leave state employment and return to her role at the Columbus Foundation, where she worked previously.

“While it saddens me that she will be leaving my office, she has assured me that she is just a phone call away and will be available to continue advising us as we move through this pandemic,” said Gov. DeWine.

Gov. DeWine tests positive, then negative twice

On Thursday morning, Aug. 6, Gov. DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted took antigen tests for COVID-19 as part of the standard protocol to greet President Donald Trump on the tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland. While Lt. Governor Husted tested negative, Governor DeWine tested positive and returned to Columbus where a second test was administered.

In a second PRC test Thursday evening, Gov. DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and members of the staff tested negative for COVID-19.

The PCR test looks for the specific RNA for the SARS CoV-2 — in other words, the genetic material specific for the virus that causes COVID-19.  This test is known to be extremely sensitive, as well as specific, for the virus.

Ohio officials feel confident in the results from Wexner Medical Center, which used the same PCR test used over 1.6 million times in Ohio by hospitals and labs all over the state. The antigen tests represent an exciting new technology to reduce the cost and improve the turnaround time for COVID-19 testing.

Six employees test positive after Trump fundraiser in Cleveland

Six employees from the Shoreby Club in Bratenahl, in the Cleveland area, where President Donald Trump held a campaign fundraiser Thursday, tested positive for the coronavirus through a rapid antigen test, said Cuyahoga County Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett.

“These are not cases – these are rapid positive antigen tests that are concerning, so we recommend people who have one of those be isolated immediately,” Dr. Gullett said at a news conference Friday, Aug. 7.

Employees were told to isolate and get a PCR test, which is the more standard test given in Ohio, Gullett said.

The employees were told to go home Thursday afternoon, along with four others that were in close contact with the potential positives, she said.

Ohio spending $50 million to expand internet for families, students

Lt. Gov. Husted announced that schools can begin applying for the new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant this week, with $50 million allocated through the grant program to help provide hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students.

Schools can begin applying for this grant opportunity at https://ohio-k12.help/broadbandohio-connectivity-grant/. The public website is live, but schools will not be able to apply until Monday.

After hearing feedback from various groups that the matching grant requirement would create a barrier for districts, it has been removed from the program. Many school districts have already begun to make purchases for the upcoming school year, and as a result, purchases made since July 1 of this year are eligible for support from this program.

The application period will close Friday, August 21.

To help schools make the best purchasing decisions based on their needs, internet providers have begun to list their equipment and pricing information in one centralized location to the benefit of Ohio schools through a Request for Information. Visit procure.ohio.gov to review the RFI.

The K-12 School Computer Products and Services RFI was released to the public on July 23, and a variety of companies have provided responses.

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