Coronavirus Update: 2 Franklin County Deaths, Stay at Home Order, Response Funds & More
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
Editor’s note 3/23/2020: This article has been updated to include more information regarding the two COVID-19 deaths reported in Franklin County.
Over the weekend, the big news out of Governor Mike DeWine’s office was a “Stay at Home” order issued across the state, asking all nonessential workers to shelter in place and only leave their homes for essential activities.
“In the time of war, we must make sacrifices, and I thank all of our Ohio citizens for what they are doing and what they aren’t doing. You are making a huge difference, and this difference will save lives,” said Governor DeWine.
“This order should not cause panic, and I urge the residents of Columbus to act responsibly,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, in his own statement on the order. “You will still have access to necessities and health care…to keep our community healthy and safe.”
On Monday, COVID-19 cases jumped to 442, with 104 hospitalizations and six deaths. Forty-four cases and two COVID-19 deaths are residents of Franklin County. That includes one 85-year-old male Columbus resident who became ill and died in Minnesota.
More information from the past few days include resources for employers and employees, restrictions on daycares and childcare centers and more.
On Monday, March 23 Columbus Crew SC owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam pledged to donate $1.5 million to coronavirus relief funds, including $500,000 to the Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund. Diamond Hill Capital Management has also gifted $500,000 to the fund.
The United Way of Central Ohio’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund has grown to nearly $660,000 in matched donation, which will assist nonprofits in meeting immediate needs. United Way will begin distributing grants on March 30.
In Franklin County, the Office on Aging, Child Support, Job and Family Services, and the county dog shelter are still being staffed with reduced hours. Find a full list of changes to county services and office availability here.
Businesses and workers can also now access resources related to COVID-19 in one place here. The website includes information on unemployment benefits, the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, the deferral of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation insurance premium payments and more.
It has been announced that beginning Thursday, March 26, all Ohio childcare centers must operate under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license. The program, operating until at least April 30, will only allow up to six children to one teacher per classroom and requires precautions such as limiting the use of rigorously-cleaned shared spaces and limiting parent interaction to drop off and pick up.
Treatment for COVID-19
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy passed a rule related to prescribing two antimalarial drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — for purposes of treating COVID-19. At this time, no prescription for the two drugs may be dispensed by a pharmacist or sold at retail, unless otherwise approved by the Board’s executive director.
The move comes after President Trump touted chloroquine for possible treatment against COVID-19 on Friday, reportedly causing shortages and poisonings related to the drug nationally and in other countries. Leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has so far described the drug as having only “anecdotal evidence.”
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.