Governor signs order allowing counselors, social workers to telework

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an order allowing counselors, social workers and family counselors to tele-work without excessive requirements and training.

“In this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, those who need those services can get them,” DeWine said during his daily news conference on Saturday.

There are 3,739 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and 102 deaths as of Saturday, April 4, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Deaths have been reported in 30 counties.

A ninth confirmed death was reported in Miami County from April 1 from SpringMeade Health Center in Tipp City, according to Miami County Coroner William Ginn. He said Saturday there is a suspected 10th COVID-19 death in Miami County from Koester Pavilion in Troy, but it hasn't been confirmed. The two nursing homes have seen a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus.

The first Ohio state prisoner tested positive for COVID-19 at Marion Correctional Institute, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Thirty people were tested, the state prisons said, but only one tested positive.

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“The DeWine administration’s announcement that it will provide a list of 23 pregnant women and 15 elderly people to be considered for release from state prison is the start of an important recognition — that people who pose no substantial public safety risk don’t need to remain incarcerated, especially during a pandemic,” said Shakyra Diaz, Ohio director for Alliance for Safety and Justice.

The governor has a number of internal measures at his disposal that could help mitigate an outbreak in Ohio’s prisons, Diaz said.

“The tremendous impact of a spread in a prison is extremely profound,” Diaz said. “This is an area that we hope that the governor will evolve and expand efforts to safely reduce the incarceration in the state of Ohio because it will have a tremendous impact.”

DeWine did not address in his news conference the positive testing of an Ohio prisoner, but did talk about ways to increase capacity of hospitals. He discussed postponing elective surgery and hospitals working to build out within their buildings.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and DeWine commended people who wear non-medical-grade masks in public after the Center for Disease Control suggested that everyone cover their face any time they are in public.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said that masks are meant to be used in addition to social distancing and staying-at-home, not as a substitute.

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“These are for us to wear to protect other people,” she said.

Acton said that hospitals are fighting to get masks and medical equipment. Anyone who can wear a homemade mask should, she said.

“Don your cape, and when you’re out and about, don your mask,” Acton said.

Husted discussed Wi-Fi and internet connection. People who are in need of stronger internet might need to leave home to get access, he said. The state of Ohio has created a map of internet hotspots available for public use.

Ursel McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, discussed taking care of older adults in the community throughout the pandemic.

“Let’s remember to keep an eye on our older adults,” she said. “Their years have brought them patience, resilience and bravery.”

McElroy spoke to caregivers during the time of the pandemic. She encouraged those who are caregivers for older adults to make sure they are taking care of themselves as well as those that they care for.

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