Coronavirus: Ohio still studying how to reopen day cares, DeWine says

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Gov. Mike DeWine delayed announcing when daycare centers will be allowed to reopen, saying his team is still developing science-based protocols to keep children and staff safe.

“I certainly know how very important this is. As we open Ohio back up that child care is absolutely an essential part of people being able to go back to work,” DeWine said, noting that much of his career has focused on child safety issues. “Let me be quite candid: mistakes that I have made in my long career come about when I didn’t have all the facts, when I didn’t dig deep enough, did not ask the right people. So, this process is continuing.”

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DeWine shut down day care centers March 26 but kept open 2,484 pandemic child care providers for children of front line health care and emergency response workers.

Ohio has about 7,500 licensed child care programs for 285,000 children, according to the state Department of Job and Family Services. Roughly 119,000 receive financial assistance from ODJFS for child care each month, which allows low-income parents to work. These numbers do not include private babysitters.

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DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted said by the end of the week, 92% of Ohio’s economy will be reopened.

On May 1, medical offices resumed operations; May 4, manufacturers, distributors and general offices were allowed to reopen; May 12, retailers will open their doors; May 15, hair salons and barbers can open again and restaurants and bars can begin patio service; May 21, restaurants and bars can start dine-in service again.

The state is offering a one-time rebate for bars and restaurants to help with the cost of restocking liquor. More information is available at http://wholesale.ohlq.com/.

While Ohio’s reopening has been phased in, some believe it’s too fast and could lead to a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths.

“The pace of what we’re doing is not consistent with anything I’ve seen on the health and science,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, who has generally supported DeWine’s steps in the public health crisis so far.

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He noted that DeWine opted to close polls and halt an election when Ohio had just 50 confirmed coronavirus cases, yet the governor is moving to reopen when there are more than 21,000 cases.

Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken said in a written statement that DeWine’s swift and early action positioned Ohio to be “the fastest of all surrounding states to reopen the economy.” Ohioans will be able to return to work but, she cautioned, Ohioans should continue to take precautions to protect others.

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Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, is planning to hit up local eateries for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late night snack on May 15. He said he wants to send the message to Ohioans that there is nothing to fear.

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Ohio Department of Health reported 23,400 confirmed cases, plus 1,377 probable cases; 4,413 hospitalizations; and 1,236 deaths, plus 121 deaths attributed to probable cases.

Dr. Amy Acton, ODH director, said five cases from five different counties show symptoms began in January — an earlier onset than previously known. The early cases were discovered through antibody testing, she said.

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University of Cincinnati’s Geospatial Health Advising Group predicted that eliminating half of the restrictions that Ohio put in place would lead to 10,000 coronavirus cases by June 30 and eliminating 70% of restrictions would trigger nearly 18,000 cases by then.

The group plans to update the model with the new conditions and make new predictions in the coming weeks, said Diego Cuadros of the UC Health Geography and Disease Modeling Lab.

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