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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — More than 1 million people filed unemployment claims in the past six weeks as Ohio’s stay-at-home order depressed the economy and led to widespread layoffs, the state reported Thursday.
For the week ending April 25, 92,920 people filed jobless claims, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That’s down from the 109,369 claims filed the previous week.
The numbers announced Thursday pushed total claims during the pandemic to 1,057,486, or about 340,000 more than the total number of claims over the past two years. The state says it has now distributed more than $1.45 billion in unemployment checks to more than 481,000 claimants.
The state says more than 1,600 workers are taking calls at Ohio’s seven-day-a-week call center.
“Each claim is important to us, and we recognize the hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many Ohio families,” the agency said in a statement.
Ohio begins its slow reopening Friday with many health care offices, followed by construction companies, distributors, manufacturers and offices on Monday, and retail businesses on May 12. Bars, restaurants and movie theaters remain closed, and sporting events and concerts are still prohibited.
Nationally, more than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began, forcing millions of employers to close their doors.
In other coronavirus-related developments in Ohio:
The state has 937 presumptive or confirmed deaths, and more than 17,300 cases, including more than 3,400 hospitalizations, the Ohio Health Department reported Wednesday.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Outbreaks in nursing homes across Ohio have killed at least 276 residents during the past two weeks. That represents nearly 30% of all the virus-related deaths in Ohio since the first one was reported in mid-March.
Two prison employees and 27 Ohio prison inmates have died from COVID-19, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
A total of 3,890 inmates have tested positive, but the prisons agency has only conducted universal testing at three facilities to date, leaving actual positive cases up in the air.