Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration provided a “Week in Review” for the past week, with actions ranging from providing free books to kids to requiring schools to report coronavirus cases to local health departments.
The week started off Monday with DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announcing assistance for five projects to create 574 new jobs and retain 1,058 jobs statewide. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $23 million in new payroll and spur more than $68 million in investments across Ohio.
First Lady Fran DeWine on Monday announced progress in reaching young Ohio readers in the Ohio governor’s Imagination Library (OGIL) Program’s first year. Now, 206,463 Ohio children from birth to age 5 are enrolled to receive a free Imagination Library book in the mail every single month. The program is currently offered countywide to children in 78 of Ohio’s counties, with the program expected to grow.
Parents and caregivers can sign up children here.
Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed an Order on the Opening of Adult Day Care Services and Senior Centers, available here. It lays out a phased reopening plan that occupies eight pages.
On Tuesday, DeWine worried over people spreading the coronavirus during the Labor Day holiday and he told them to wash their hands and wear their masks, The Ohio Star reported. DeWine reported Ohio had the “highest number of new cases since the end of July,” which he called a “stark reminder that this virus has not gone away and it continues to spread in our communities.”
“It’s not about where we go, but rather, what we do when we get there,” said DeWine. “It’s about how we act when we’re with family and friends and what precautions we take. The decisions we make as we celebrate the unofficial end of summer will play a major role in how we begin the fall.”
He announced three new safety efforts to curb fatalities on Ohio’s roads, and give young drivers the tools to drive safely. The Ohio Highway Patrol Aviation Unit, which already uses helicopters to catch speeders, will “conduct targeted enforcement on crash-causing violations in Ohio Department of Transportation construction zones.”
Also on Tuesday, Husted announced that over 900 grants have been approved to help a reported 121,000 Ohioan students gain high-speed internet in their homes.
Husted announced a public service campaign featuring 99-year-old Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, a WWII Paratrooper who jumped into France before the D-Day invasion. Martin called on Ohioans to “mask-up.”
On Thursday, DeWine released the week’s Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that seven counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread.
DeWine said a total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and 12 counties moved from orange to yellow. There are now a total of 39 counties in the yellow level.
DeWine also on Thursday gave his order requiring all K-12 schools to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department, The Star reported. Schools must do so within 24 hours of notification of a positive test result from a student, teacher, staff member or coach. It also requires schools to notify all parents and guardians of case reports. The order did not mention a requirement to tell the staff.
DeWine is even interested in having his people study excrement in the name of fighting the virus.
He announced Ohio’s new Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network. More information is available here.
The network was developed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the study of wastewater samples. The presence of coronavirus gene copies/fragments can be found in the waste of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and can be detected in wastewater as many as three to seven days before those infections lead to increases in case counts or hospitalizations in a community.
The increase of COVID-19 cases in communities is typically tracked by testing people with symptoms, an indicator that lags behind the actual spread of the disease. Because of this, there is a need to use early monitoring methods that estimate the disease’s impact on the broader community.
Husted announced that, in an effort led by the Development Services Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense has made a commitment to Ohio’s defense manufacturers and put the state in a position to receive a $5 million grant to improve manufacturing processes and train workers for next-generation jobs.
As of a week ago, all child care providers in Ohio that serve publicly funded children were required to be rated on Ohio’s child care quality rating system, called Step Up To Quality.
Finally, DeWine announced that Greater Cincinnati Water Works will receive $725,000 in H2Ohio funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to remove and replace lead service lines and fixtures at nearly 200 child care facilities in Cincinnati.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.