While much of the state has been on a downward trend of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday said state and local health officials have been seeing the trendline in five counties in Southwest Ohio -- Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Warren, and Hamilton counties -- going up, something he called "worrisome." In response, DeWine said he is deploying the Ohio National Guard to the area and is directing more testing sites, and encouraging anyone in those five counties, especially those in zip codes that have seen the biggest increases, to get tested.
Later Thursday, DeWine signed an executive order that expands the definition of "good cause" for employees who refuse to go back to work to continue to collect unemployment. It now includes the following situations:
- A medical professional recommends that an individual not return to work because that person falls into a category that is considered high-risk for catching COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the employer cannot offer teleworking options.
- The employee is 65 years of age or older.
- There is tangible evidence of a health and safety violation by the employer that does not allow the employee to practice social distancing, hygiene, and wearing personal protective equipment.
- The individual has been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and subject to a quarantine period as prescribed by a medical or health professional.
- The individual must stay home to care for a family member who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional.
The recent flurry of legislative activity included final passage of numerous education policy and funding changes. The bulk of changes relate to temporary flexibility schools sought as they contend with the disruptions to education from the spring shutdown and now plan for a fall reopening that will have to include pandemic health precautions. The vehicle for those changes, HB164 (Ginter), started out as a measure on student religious expression in schools and use of school facilities for faith-related activities, a proposal that's been introduced in past sessions at least as far back as the 130th General Assembly.