OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
- On May 1, Ohio will begin a phased-in reopening of the state economy that will take place over a long period of time to minimize the health risk to business owners, employees and their customers. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, in consultation with Ohio Dept. of Health Dir. Dr. Acton, will lead the governor's board of economic advisors to identify best practices to ensure Ohioans health and safety as businesses begin the process of reopening. As Ohio begins to reopen, the Governor stressed the need to balance:
- Compliance with public health measures;
- Implementation of safeguards in business; and
- Protections for the most vulnerable Ohioans.
- In a joint letter to the Administration and Congressional leadership, the National League of Cities (NLC), along with the National Association of Counties (NACo), and The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), outlined what is needed from the federal government for the local response and recovery to COVID-19. You can read more in the article below.
- The Ohio Department of Administrative Services has provided guidance to assist local governments and political subdivisions in the delivery of virtual public/open meetings. You can access that resource HERE.
- Gov. DeWine is reminding Ohioans to complete the 2020 Census. Currently, Ohio's response rate of 52.2% is higher than the national average and higher than all neighboring states except Michigan, which has a response rate of 55%. To learn more, go to 2020Census.gov or call 844-330-2020.
- The League and the Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association (OMAA) are hosting a webinar that is free to all municipalities on Friday, April 24 from 11AM to 12PM on COVID-19-related workforce reduction, layoffs, furloughs, job abolishments and the CARES Act. You can find out more information and how to join the webinar HERE.
GOVERNOR DEWINE CONTINUES COVID-19 RESPONSE
- As of Friday afternoon, Ohio has 9,107 reported cases of coronavirus, 418 deaths, 2,424 hospitalizations and 740 ICU admissions.
- Gov. DeWine announced he will work closely with the Governors of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky to coordinate the reopening of the regional economy. The states will review four factors as they reopen their economies: the number of cases in the state and the number of hospital admissions, the amount of hospital capacity, the ability to test and trace cases of COVID-19, and best practices for social distancing in businesses.
- Lt. Gov. Husted has announced that by the end of next week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will be able to start processing the additional $600-a-week payments authorized by Congress's CARES Act. ODJFS is also planning to launch an online tool that will allow self-employed, 1099 workers to get in line early to ensure their paperwork is filed and ready for review once the technology is ready. The department projects that they will start processing those claims by May 15.
Correctional Institutions Update:
- The Governor has announced that due to the coronavirus, he is commuting the sentence of seven Ohio prisoners and is denying the request of 84 others.
- Gov. DeWine has approved the release of 105 inmates in Ohio. Each inmate will be tested for COVID-19 before release. The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) has been authorized to continue using the criteria set by the DeWine administration to identify other inmates that may qualify for release under the limited overcrowding statute.
- Comprehensive testing of inmates has begun at Marion Correctional Institution, Pickaway Correctional Institution, and Franklin Medical Center. Ohio is believed to be the first and only state in the country to conduct comprehensive testing in a state prison setting.
- Now that these facilities have comprehensive testing, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) expects higher reports of COVID-19 as the testing identifies positive individuals who otherwise are asymptomatic or would recover without a test. For example, the testing of one prison dorm in Marion found that out of 152 inmates, 39 percent tested positive for COVID-19 although they did not show any symptoms.
Public Safety and Healthcare Updates:
- Ohio's expanding the partnership with Battelle and the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) to extend their sanitization services to law enforcement agencies and EMS providers. Starting, local law enforcement and EMS agencies can bring their packaged N-95 masks to any Ohio State Highway Patrol Post in the state. The patrol will then bring those masks to Battelle for sanitization, which is being provided for free by Battelle.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued two new Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for serology tests to detect the presence of coronavirus antibodies. Gov. DeWine has cautioned companies in Ohio to ensure that they are purchasing tests that are approved by the FDA.
- Regarding the critical shortage of test kit components worldwide, Gov. DeWine announced that a team of Ohio State University researchers created an in-house "recipe" to make the crucial viral transport media (VTM), which is the sterile solution needed to transport the swabs. The Ohio Department of Health and Ohio State will continue to work on eliminating swab manufacturing and design constraints through a rapid product development cycle, including clinical testing.
- Gov. DeWine has asked the Ohio Hospital Association to begin developing a plan to resume treating patients whose non-COVID-19 elective procedures were delayed or deferred due to the ongoing pandemic. The Governor has requested that plan be completed within one week.
- Gov. DeWine signed an order waiving the requirement for commercial vehicles to file an application for a single trip permit if they are transporting COVID-19 emergency relief supplies while traveling into or throughout Ohio. You can find a copy of that order HERE.
NLC SENDS JOINT LETTER
LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
This week, the National League of Cities (NLC), the National Association of Counties (NACo), and The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), sent a joint request to the Trump administration and to Congress to ask that funding support for local governments be included in any emergency coronavirus package currently under negotiations.
The organizations express their support for the inclusion of $250 billion in direct funding for all local governments. The letter also details how local governments at both the county and municipal level are battling against the epidemic in a partnership. The letter explains that both are providing unique services to protect both the public health and economic stability in spite of significant revenue loss due to the nationwide halt on economic activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We encourage our members to call their representatives in Congress and echo this support for direct funding to all local governments across the nation. You can read the letter HERE and you can find contact information for Ohio's congressional delegation HERE.
FEDERAL RESOURCES FOR LOCAL COVID-19 RESPONSE
Below is a list of resources across the country available to local governments responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that the National League of Cities (NLC) has announced they will not be hosting any in-person NLC events through July 31.
- NLC COVID-19 Response Resources for Local Leaders page (HERE);
- State League COVID-19 resource pages (HERE);
- "A Guide for Setting Up A Testing Site" (HERE) from the Florida League of Cities;
- A three-part FAQ series regarding the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Public Employment Law (HERE) from the Georgia Municipal Association.
- "Preparing for the Day After: How Micromobility Can Get Communities Moving Post-COVID". Tuesday, April 21, 1:00PM ET. The National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony will join transportation and mobility experts for a webinar hosted by Lime about ways government leaders, community organizations, the micromobility industry and cities can begin to prepare for a post-COVID world. Register HERE.
- "City Leaders Supporting Access to Nature During the Pandemic". Thursday, April 23, 3:30PM ET. City leaders seek to balance the need for access to nature while addressing public health concerns and physical distancing. Join a participatory discussion with leaders from the City of Houston and Seattle and NLC partners the Children & Nature Network, National League of Cities, City Parks Alliance and National Recreation and Parks Association. Register HERE.
- The Association of Washington Cities posts multiple webinars related to COVID-19, which you can access HERE.
U.S. EPA ANNOUNCES COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is updating its coronavirus website
to include new resources for state, local, and tribal agencies and intergovernmental associations. These resources will help EPA and its partners continue to provide the environmental protection the nation depends on without interruption during the coronavirus public health emergency.
"EPA is doing all we can to support our state, local, and tribal partners as we work together to address this public health emergency in our communities," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "The resources we are providing on this new webpage will help us coordinate our efforts, provide flexibilities when necessary, and effectively navigate through any challenges that may arise."
EPA's COVID-19 Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Agencies and
, which you can access HERE
information on grants, enforcement and compliance programs, water infrastructure, and a host of other issues important to effective environmental program delivery. The webpage will be updated regularly with new information.
During the response to the coronavirus crisis, EPA, states, tribes, and communities have encountered and resolved together many challenges requiring creativity and flexibility. EPA headquarters and the regional offices have participated in many virtual meetings with state and tribal environmental leaders to work through time-sensitive issues and the agency continues to maintain open lines of communication with all of our co-regulators. EPA is also continuing to update resources on its website and add to the list of surface disinfectant products that are
effective against SARS-CoV-2.
the EPA about any COVID-19 issue, you can