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Coronavirus Update: First Ohio Death, Senior Centers, Telehealth & More

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Coronavirus Update: First Ohio Death, Senior Centers, Telehealth & More3D print of a SARS-CoV-2 — also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19 — virus particle. Image via the National Institutes of Health.
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Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.

Friday afternoon, March 20 it was announced in Governor Mike DeWine’s daily press conference that Ohio has officially seen its first Coronavirus-related death in the state in Lucas County.

Senior Centers

Friday also saw the governor order the closing of all senior citizen centers by end of business day Monday, March 23. These centers provide daycare for the state’s older population while relatives and family members are away.

The governor said that provided meals would continue through delivery to seniors’ homes, and that other important services provided by centers should also continue.

Street Sweeping

The City of Columbus is delaying the April start of its annual street sweeping program. Residents, for now, can disregard street signs restricting on-street parking with posted sweeping days and times. Street sweeping will continue as needed, however, ticketing and towing will not be enforced. A reevaluation of the suspension that will occur mid-April could resume the program as early as May.

Telehealth for Medicaid Patients

The Ohio Department of Medicaid, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Governor’s Office executed emergency rules to ease restrictions regarding telehealth.

Restrictions regarding provider and patient locations, as well as the types of technologies and interactions that can be used have been changed, in an effort to expand telehealth options for all individuals covered by Medicaid, including patients without established providers. This includes a variety of providers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, dieticians, counselors and others.

The easing of restrictions allows more people to receive many health care services from the safety of their homes, instead of traveling to providers’ facilities, risking exposure to the coronavirus and putting more pressure on health care systems. Find more information here.

Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Cross said in a Thursday press conference that she has heard from private insurance companies considering making similar services available as well.

For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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