State working to combat COVID-19 in condensed populations

By Ivy Potter - [email protected]

COLUMBUS —Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton stated on Tuesday that there were 4,782 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio. The data also showed 1,354 hospitalizations due to the virus and 417 individuals in intensive care units. The number of Coronavirus deaths jumped from 142 to Acton, reiterated that this information was based on limited testing.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Ohio Governor Mike DeWine stated that individuals enrolled in the program would soon receive additional benefits to help them during the pandemic. DeWine stated on behalf of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services that anyone enrolled to receive benefits that were not currently receiving the maximum allotment for their household size as of March would be getting an additional amount beginning this week.

“In addition, all snap eligible houses will soon be able to pick up a prepackaged box of food at their local food bank,” said DeWine. “Ohio obtained federal approval to waive verifications normally required at food banks to streamline the process and limit person to person contact.

DeWine stated Ohio Liquor Control met and issued an emergency rule in response to requests from restaurants with liquor licenses l.

“Going forward during this pandemic when you order a meal from a restaurant and if they have a liquor license, you will be able to get up to two drinks per order of food that will be prepackaged and can’t be opened until you get home,” said DeWine.

DeWine stated that as a state, we are evolving each day to combat this virus. DeWine said that until now we had done a good job of closing off nursing homes and various assisted living facilities to stop the spread of virus, but said we needed to do more to protect these vulnerable populations. DeWine stated that earlier this month, visitation was restricted to nursing homes, and now rules are being set in place in regards to Telehealth.

“Some of the people in the nursing homes are being seen by people in Telehealth, which is again another option to increase their access to good care. But we are doing this week some additional things,” said DeWine. DeWine stated that the effort is to pull people together in communities to tie health centers together and making sure we are all approaching these issues on the same team and clarify lines of communication.

DeWine stated that within prisons, social distancing becomes very difficult, and in regards to prisons, the state has a number of responsibilities which it takes very seriously.

“First, we must do all we can to protect prison staff. The vast majority of them cannot work from home. We need them, we appreciate them and we must give them the best working environment that we can,” said DeWine. “Second, we must do all we can to protect the inmates that are in our custody, which includes trying to protect them and staff from COVID-19. Third, we must protect the public from those who may cause them harm, many of the people who, in fact, are in prison.”

DeWine stated the number of intake in prisons is now down 20%, which will help reduce population. DeWine stated that last week 38 individuals which are pregnant, have a child in prison, or are over 60 with less than 60 days remaining to serve had letters sent on their behalf to local judges to determine if they would be eligible for release.

DeWine stated there are around 49,000 prisoners in Ohio, and that his team was looking closely for additional people who may be eligible for an early release.

DeWine stated a long-standing statute allows the director of Ohio’s Department of Corrections to alert a group called the correctional institution inspection committee of an overcrowding emergency and recommend that certain inmates be released to make more room. The CIIC is made up of members of the Ohio House and Senate and ensures a human correctional system.

DeWine announced due to the crisis, the CIIC is being alerted to review inmates within 90 days or less of their release date, eliminating violent or those who have previously been denied release, interstate offenders, and those with previous incarceration among other criteria leaving 26 inmates who qualify across the state.

DeWine stated the board would meet as early as Friday.

By Ivy Potter

[email protected]

Reach: Ivy Potter(740) 353-3101 Extension 1932

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach: Ivy Potter(740) 353-3101 Extension 1932

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved