DeWine updates Ohioans on county fairs, nursing home visits; COVID case rate continues to drop


News Journal



COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

County fairs

The Ohio Department of Health issued a revised order that allows for the reopening of all fair activities if certain health conditions are met. The updated order includes compliance with the statewide mask order and social distancing. Additionally, there will be a 25 percent maximum for indoor grandstand capacity and a 30 percent maximum for outdoor grandstand capacity.

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health will issue updated order and guidance regarding festivals, parades, proms, and spring sports.

For spring sports, students will not be required to quarantine because they have an incidental exposure to COVID-19 in a classroom unless symptoms develop.

Nursing homes

DeWine discussed the new federal regulations for nursing home visitation, as well as Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program.

The visitation guidelines, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate visitation should be happening in nursing homes. There are a few specific exceptions that would limit visitation, such as outbreaks in the facility or an extreme number of cases in the community. Full information on the federal nursing home visitation guidance is available at cms.gov.

Additionally, DeWine highlighted the progress being made by Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program ensures new nursing home residents and employees, and established residents and employees who previously decided not to receive a vaccine, can still choose to receive one. Governor DeWine emphasized the importance of every nursing home resident receiving a vaccine.

Long-term care facility visitation status is available on the dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Cases statewide

DeWine announced that, statewide, Ohio is currently at a rate of 155 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people during the past two weeks. Last week, statewide data put Ohio at 180 cases per 100,000 people.

“In Ohio, we are still at a very elevated level of cases, but today’s health data is certainly trending in the right direction,” said Governor DeWine.

In an evening address last week, Governor DeWine announced that when Ohio reached 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be lifted.

Governor DeWine today detailed four initiatives that are making rapid COVID-19 tests more accessible to Ohioans:

Health centers

The state’s ongoing partnership with federally qualified health centers has led to the availability of over 150,000 rapid tests at community health centers. These centers have professionals on-hand to administer the tests free of charge.

Local Health Departments

Local health departments have partnered with their communities to make at-home testing available to schools, nonprofit organizations, and first responders.

Public Libraries

The state has recently partnered with public libraries to make at-home tests available to more Ohio communities. During the first two weeks, Ohio has partnering with 120 libraries.

K-12 Schools

A new partnership launched today will bring 200,000 at-home tests to Educational Service Centers. To increase confidence and safety in schools, Governor DeWine encourages school districts to take advantage of this resource and develop aggressive testing plans.

Between libraries and local health departments, at-home testing is accessible in 76 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Some of these areas had disproportionate access to testing earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.

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News Journal