COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine ordered all United States and State of Ohio flags to be lowered Tuesday to half-staff on all buildings and public grounds throughout the state until sunset on Friday.
On Monday the Ohio COVID dashboard reported 1,611 cases, 120 hospitalizations, 16 ICU visits and 58 deaths against a 21-day average of 2,681 cases, 145 hospitalizations, 269 deaths and 16 ICU visits.
According to State of Ohio data, the highest number of cases in one day was 13,523 on November 30. The height of hospitalizations was also November 30 at 401. Deaths peaked at 209 on December 16.
During a Monday COVID briefing, DeWine reported 343 new COVID cases in Ohio nursing homes, a sharp decline from the one-day December high of 2,832.
According to the COVID tracking dashboard, Ohio has reported a total 16,874 deaths due to the virus since the global outbreak began.
Those numbers coupled with vaccinations administered to nursing home residents and employees coalesced to compel the governor to remind Ohioans that visitation is permitted in nursing homes if a home meets the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria:
- no new onset of COVID cases in the last 14 days;
- not currently conducting COVID outbreak testing;
- CMS reports county positivity rate of below 10%.
Half of Ohio Counties are below the 10% positivity rate threshold according to the latest report released by the CMS for the week ending February 17. The county with the lowest positivity rate according to the federal agency is Madison at 1.9%.
The Ohio COVID website containing data on testing reports a current positivity rate of 4.9%. However, Ohio calculates the rate using the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests performed, which is different than what some states report. Some states calculate positivity rate by looking at the number of people with positive tests divided by number of tests performed or people tested.
“Compassionate care visits, which are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, are always permitted,” said DeWine.
DeWine sent a letter to Ohio nursing homes regarding compassionate care visits and visitation based on county positivity rate.
According to DeWine, nursing homes are required to report their visitation status on the Ohio Long-Term Care Visitation Dashboard. As of February 22, the dashboard lists 1,395 registered facilities – 52% permitting indoor visitation, 38% outdoor visitation, 73% window visitation and 11% no visitation.
The governor also said Monday he will be re-examining crowd restrictions at professional sporting events around the state and signaled he may allow up to 30% of stadium capacity in the near future.
The entire Monday briefing can be viewed below.
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Jack Windsor is State House Reporter at The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. Windsor is also an independent investigative reporter. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Ohio Flag” by Jeff Kubina. CC BY-SA 2.0.