COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted on Thursday provided updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a school reporting order and wastewater monitoring network.
School reporting order
Gov. DeWine announced details for Ohio’s forthcoming case reporting order for K-12 schools.
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, parents or guardians and school staff should notify their school within 24 hours of receiving a positive test or a clinical diagnosis. Within 24 hours after receiving that notification, the school should notify other parents and guardians about that case in writing, providing as much information as possible without releasing protected health information. The school must also notify their local health department within 24 hours.
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 15, and each Tuesday thereafter, local health departments will report the number of newly reported and cumulative cases to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health will publish this data by school or school district, including a breakdown by students and staff, each Thursday.
“We understand there is a balance between privacy and transparency, and we do not intend for protected health information to be released in our effort to provide information to Ohioans so they can make the right decisions for their family,” said DeWine. “Please remember that if a school has positive cases among their students or staff, it does not mean the school did anything wrong. Schools cannot control spread in the community, so it is important to practice safety measures not only in the classroom but also when you’re out in the community.”
The order will also require each school district or school to identify a COVID-19 coordinator to facilitate the reporting of case information, and upon request, schools or buildings are required to provide the local health department a copy of their pandemic plan.
Labor Day and spread by young Ohioans
Also on Thursday, Gov. DeWine encouraged Ohioans to take proper safety precautions over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. He stressed that citizens can still have fun, visit family, and travel, but face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing should also be part of your plans.
“It’s not about where we go, but rather, what we do when we get there,” said DeWine. “It’s about how we act when we’re with family and friends and what precautions we take. The decisions we make as we celebrate the unofficial end of summer will play a major role in how we begin the fall.”
DeWine also reminded young Ohioans of their responsibility to follow safety precautions, especially students attending a college or university.
Case data shows that those aged 18-22 currently make up 35-40 percent of all young Ohioans who have tested positive for the virus which is a significant increase from previous months.
“In Cincinnati, multiple off-campus parties with students attending from several universities on August 17 have resulted in at least 78 confirmed cases,” said DeWine. “Although college students might not get seriously ill, they could spread the virus to others who could. The responsibility falls on all of us to protect each other.”
Wastewater monitoring network
Gov. DeWine announced that information from Ohio’s new Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network is now available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The network was developed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the study of wastewater samples. The presence of coronavirus gene copies/fragments can be found in the waste of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and can be detected in wastewater as many as three to seven days before those infections lead to increases in case counts or hospitalizations in a community.
Defense manufacturing community
Lt. Gov. Husted announced that, in an effort led by the Development Services Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense has made a commitment to Ohio’s defense manufacturers and put the state in a position to receive a $5 million grant to improve manufacturing processes and train workers for next-generation jobs.
Ohio has been designated as a Defense Manufacturing Community, which is a program designed to support long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand the capabilities of defense manufacturing.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Mike DeWine.