Major announcements from the DeWine administration during daily coronavirus briefings for the week included extending through the end of the academic year the order closing school buildings; appointment of a Minority Health Strike Force to examine the disproportionate effects of the virus on African-American Ohioans; the assignment of former Govs. Dick Celeste and Bob Taft to lead a “strike team” on expanded coronavirus testing; relaxation of the order against elective surgeries to allow procedures the administration said were never supposed to be interrupted in the first place. Case statistics reported by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) over the week showed an increase from 9,107 cases and 418 deaths on Friday, April 17 to 14,694 cases and 656 deaths on Thursday, April 23.
"Yes, we're in a recession." Such was the assessment of Jared Bernstein, a former Obama administration economic advisor and current senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, during a recent webinar conducted by the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN). "Folks who make that call typically make it after the fact, but there's no question in my mind," he said. "In terms of its length, that's as much of an epidemiological question as an economic one."
Ahead of Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to extend the school closing order, the Ohio Federation of Teachers issued a call to keep students away from school buildings for the remainder of the academic year in the name of safety.
To account for social distancing practices, this year's Trauma-Informed Care Summit for educators and behavioral health providers will be held online on Tuesday, May 19 and Wednesday, May 20. Registration information for the event and a full schedule of workshops can be found at https://www.eeds.com/live/122243.
With school buildings officially shut through the rest of the academic year, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) also called off events for the spring. OHSAA had been advising local school leaders that any decision by Gov. Mike DeWine to extend the closing of school buildings for the 2019-2020 school year, as he did Monday, would bring corresponding action from the association.
With a week left until the deadline to return absentee ballots to boards of election for the presidential primary, nearly 1 million Ohio voters have cast absentee ballots, according to new figures released by Secretary of State Frank LaRose on Tuesday. LaRose said nearly 1.7 million voters have requested an absentee ballot as of close of business on Friday, April 17. Of those requests, nearly 1.4 million were requested by mail, and 271,002 were requested and cast in person. There have been 975,158 absentee ballots cast in total, while there are 692,725 outstanding absentee ballots.
Speaker of House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) announced that the House would reopen the week of May 4 with a staggered staff to facilitate safe distancing and a committee hearing arrangement with limited attendees in the meetings.