During the May 4 daily press conference, Governor Mike DeWine reported that trend lines regarding coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are “not exactly where we would want, but give the idea that we are going in the right direction.” As Ohio businesses begin to reopen and people wonder whether to expect a new surge, he and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Amy Acton noted that “we won’t see immediate changes in the numbers because they take a while.” Rather, the numbers will be used as a baseline for future comparison, with numbers over a 21-day period as the trend to watch. They both stressed, “it’s still about what you do” and urged Ohioans to “continue to be cautious.”
Both DeWine and Acton encouraged Ohioans to “celebrate that we are in a better place than we might have been”
DeWine announced that a “very aggressive testing program” will begin this week with the expectation that Ohio will soon be able to run 22,000 tests per day throughout the state.
New guidelines were revealed regarding who will have priority in testing. Of special interest to the human services community was the emphasis on “congregate living settings.” As noted in Priority 1, this means more than nursing homes and prisons. Other examples include residential facilities for mental health/substance use treatment, psychiatric hospitals/group homes, settings for people with intellectual disabilities, homeless and domestic violence shelters, youth detention centers and more.
In addressing the roles of various players in the fight against COVID-19, Acton noted that ODH is like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in that they both engage in research, help to shape policy and provide assistance when needed. “Everything that happens in public health happens at the local level,” she said. “Communities have to make the best decisions for themselves.”
Both DeWine and Acton encouraged Ohioans to “celebrate that we are in a better place than we might have been” and to be vigilant in maintaining behaviors proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19: handwashing and social distancing.
In response to protests of “trust us to do what is right,” Lt. Governor John Husted said that the state’s policies depend on the belief that Ohioans will do the right things.
“Everything that happens in public health happens at the local level”
All three—DeWine, Acton and Husted—reminded everyone that COVID-19 is still a seriously contagious disease that will be around for some time into the future. They encouraged use of coronavirus.ohio.gov to stay informed about the virus and “how we can protect ourselves, our families and each other.”