This week’s COVID-19 news, views, updates

Apr 22, 2020 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

This is a picture of the CDC’s laboratory test kit for SARS-CoV-2. CDC tests are provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories and Department of Defense laboratories that were either previously qualified for being able to perform a similar type of test used to detect influenza, or have been recently approved by their state public health laboratory for SARS-CoV-2 testing.

GOVERNORS SEEK FEDERAL HELP TO INCREASE TESTING

Vice President Mike Pence said on Fox News Sunday that it was possible to double coronavirus testing capacity with help from the nation’s governors, despite their insistence they don’t have the equipment needed. Pence said the administration expects that 150,000 tests per day can be increased to 300,000 per day if states activate all of their laboratories that can do coronavirus testing.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press, “I could probably double, maybe even triple testing in Ohio virtually overnight, if the FDA would prioritize companies that are putting a slightly different formula together for the extraction reagent kit. We have a worldwide shortage of some of the materials that go into this.”

A bipartisan group of governors complain it’s unrealistic to expect states to carry the responsibility of ramping up testing. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that it was “delusional” for Trump and Pence to say the United States has enough testing for states to begin opening back up. “We’ve been fighting for testing,” he said. “It’s not a straight forward test. We don’t even have enough swabs, believe it or not.”

“To try to push this off, to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing — somehow we aren’t doing our job — is just absolutely false,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said on CNN. “Every governor in America has been pushing, fighting and clawing to get more tests, not only from the federal government but from every private lab in America and from all across the world.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP: TESTING CAPABILITY ENOUGH TO OPEN COUNTRY

“I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away” with restrictions, President Donald Trump said on Saturday. “America’s testing capability and capacity is fully sufficient to begin opening the country.”

Most health care experts and many governors strongly disagree. Just 1% of Americans have been tested for the virus so far, with supply shortages widespread and no apparent plan to expand testing to the level needed to track and contain new outbreaks.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN HOSTING LIVE FACEBOOK SESSIONS

Sen. Sherrod Brown is hosting daily Facebook Live sessions as he works to keep Ohioans safe and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. The daily updates are scheduled to take place every weekday at 12:45 p.m. on topics of interest to Ohioans. Timing and schedule changes will be posted to Brown’s Facebook page.

WHERE’S MY STIMULUS CHECK?

The Treasury assured everyone that its efforts to send stimulus checks this week would be easy-peasy, with the majority of checks issued last week by direct deposit or mail. Millions are still waiting to get much-needed cash as unemployment in the U.S. skyrockets.

Understaffed agencies, however, continue to struggle to deliver or deposit the stimulus checks three weeks after a $2 trillion package was approved.

Most will receive tax-free $1,200 or $2,400 payments to individuals or couples, $349 billion in Small Business Administration loans or $260 billion in unemployment benefits to 22 million people out of work.

The SBA ran out of loan money, almost no unemployment aid has reached eligible self-employed and gig workers, and a significant number of Americans visiting the IRS.gov website saw the message: “payment status not available.”

OTTAWA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE MODIFYING OPERATIONS

In response to guidance from the Ohio Department of Health, the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is applying modifications to operations to support federal, state and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The following services and operations will be suspended until further notice: Visitor center operations remain closed; Refuge boardwalk is closed; and partnership hiking trails that connect Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge to state lands are closed.

Outdoor spaces remain accessible to the public, including more than 12 miles of hiking trails. The refuge urges visitors to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.

PORT CLINTON TEE BALL AND SAFETY TOWN CANCELLED

Due to the pandemic and the uncertainty of when large groups can gather, Tee Ball Skill Program and Port Clinton Safety Town has been cancelled for 2020, reports Sandye Ostheimer, Administrative Assistant for the City of Port Clinton.

POSTMASTER DISTEL HAS ADVICE TO ASSIST IN MAIL SERVICES

Postmaster Barbara Distel of the Lakeside Marblehead Post Office has advice for helping local postal employees provide essential services to the community. Their one constant throughout the coronavirus crises has been a commitment to fulfilling the vital mission of the U.S. Post Office.

Note that the CDC, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Surgeon General have all said there is a very low risk this virus is being spread through the mail.

The USPS wants to keep customers and employees safe by maintaining a safe distance of six feet between individuals, as well as between you and your letter carrier or post office clerk while they are performing their duties.

Remember that anything without postage and not related to USPS business should not be placed in mail boxes.

“The outpouring of support you have shown has had a great impact on everyone at the Postal Service,” said Postmaster Distel. “Knowing how much you care means everything to us. On behalf of all employees at the Lakeside Marblehead Post Office, thank you.”

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