State Watch

DeWine asks Ohio communities to incorporate homeless shelters into social distancing plans

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said at his daily coronavirus press conference Monday that the state has created a task force to address the specific effects of the pandemic on the state’s homeless community and is working to incorporate their needs into social distancing guidelines.

“A big challenge is still helping reduce the number of people in homeless shelters. Shelters aren’t built for social distancing, so many communities are finding alternates to shelter or spreading out to other locations,” DeWine said. “We are asking all local communities to include homeless shelters in your planning so that we can more quickly help support these Ohioans to meet the social distancing guidelines.”

DeWine also announced an extension of his original order to close Ohio public schools, with the new order extending to Friday, May 1, with a reevaluation as the date approaches.

The governor added that Ohio prison inmates would manufacture personal protective equipment, saying that they had made 500 hospital gowns thus far and would be able to make 44,000 once they had access to additional fabric. He also said the inmates would soon be able to produce up to 5,000 “cough masks,” a lower-tech mask distinct from a surgical one. Once materials are delivered in mid-April, DeWine said, they will be able to produce 1,460 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of Ohio’s Department of Public Health, said the state had a total of 1,933 confirmed cases, with 475 hospitalizations and 39 deaths as of Monday. She added that there have been confirmed cases in more than 70 of the state’s 88 counties, with a median age of 53.

A total of 27,275 people have been tested, she said.

DeWine responded to a question from an Ohio inmate suing for release, saying he was in danger due to conditions within the penal system.

“Our concern, of course, is to keep our prison staff safe and the prisoners safe,” DeWine said, adding that every Department of Corrections employee has their temperature taken coming in and that employees are encouraged to stay home if they feel ill.

Tags Coronavirus Mike DeWine Ohio

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