Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, has signed a "stay-at-home" order for Ohioans due to COVID-19 during a March 22 press conference at the Ohio Statehouse.
The order will be effective at 11:59 p.m., Monday, March 23 and will remain in effect until April 6, when it will be reassessed.
“I’ve said over and over to you that every one of us matters and everyday matters, but today is the day that matters,” Acton said. “Today is the day that we have to batten down those hatches. Today is the day we’re doing the final orders about staying at home.”
DeWine said there is nothing in the order that has not already been asked for Ohioans to do. The order can be enforced by local health and law enforcement departments.
“We can do this,” DeWine said. “We are Ohioans. We are Buckeyes. We are strong. We can get through this. We can do this.”
He said the order permits exceptions to stay at home including leaving home for essential activities is permitted for health and safety, necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, work deemed essential and to take care of others. However, he said playgrounds are closed.
The order states all businesses and operations in the state, except essential businesses, are required to cease all activities within the state. The businesses that are allowed to stay open must follow good protocol in regard to health, DeWine said.
Businesses listed as essential in the order include:
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine
- Food, beverage and licensed marijuana production and agriculture
- Organizations that provide charitable and social services
- Religious entities
- First amendment protected speech
- Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
- Financial and insurance institutions
- Hardware and supply stores
- Critical trades
- Mail, post, shipping logistics, delivery and pick-up services
- Educational institutions
- Laundry services
- Restaurants for consumption off-premises
- Supplies to work from home
- Supplies for essential businesses and operations
- Home-based care services
- Residential facilities and shelters
- Professional services
- Manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries
- Critical labor union functions
- Hotels and motels
- Funeral services
“This is a war on a silent enemy,” Acton said. “I don’t want you to be afraid. I am not afraid, I am determined.”
All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside of a household are prohibited by the order.
Also covered during the press conference was the rush on prescriptions of a possible coronavirus treatment which is wiping out the supply for those who need it.
DeWine said Ohio’s pharmacy board called an emergency session and passed an emergency measure to bar pharmacists from dispensing chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, unless a person tested positive for the virus.
“They set out specific provisions in regard to the prescribing of this drug,” he said. “This drug will be allowed to be prescribed for its intended purposes and it certainly will be prescribed for COVID-19 for someone who has tested positive for that.”
DeWine said all day care centers beginning on March 26 must operate under a temporary pandemic childcare license and can have a maximum of six children per room.
“The obvious concern in regard to daycare is when you’re putting a large number of children together, social distancing does not work too well and children are known to share about everything,” DeWine said. “It is time now to move to that next stage with daycare and our goal is to keep the kids safe, keep the families of the children safe and also to make sure there are enough essential workers starting with the health care industry to be able to man our hospitals and to do the jobs that need to be done.”
When the Ohio General Assembly begins its session next week, DeWine said he will ask them to forgo state mandated testing this year.
“I think it is time for us to make the decision and I’m asking them to forgo state mandated testing,” he said.
Ohio now has 351 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths, the Ohio Department of Health reported March 22. That's an increase of 104 confirmed cases March 21.
The individuals who have tested positive range in age from 1 to 91.
The state has had 83 hospitalizations due to the coronavirus.
Number of cases by county:
- Ashland (1)
- Ashtabula (2)
- Belmont (2)
- Butler (17)
- Carroll (1)
- Clark (1)
- Clermont (5)
- Clinton (1)
- Columbiana (2)
- Coshocton (2)
- Cuyahoga (125)
- Darke (1)
- Defiance (2)
- Delaware (6)
- Erie (1)
- Franklin (34)
- Gallia (1)
- Geauga (2)
- Greene (1)
- Hamilton (19)
- Hancock (1)
- Huron (1)
- Lake (6)
- Licking (1)
- Lorain (19)
- Lucas (5)
- Mahoning (18)
- Marion (1)
- Medina (10)
- Miami (13)
- Montgomery (5)
- Portage (1)
- Richland (1)
- Stark (10)
- Summit (23)
- Trumbull (3)
- Tuscarawas (2)
- Union (1)
- Warren (3)
- Wood (1)
If you have questions regarding COVID-19, call 833-4ASKODH (833-427-5634) or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.