COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton held their daily news conference on the coronavirus outbreak at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, there were 4,782 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. The Ohio Department of Health said of the 1,354 people hospitalized, 417 were in the intensive care unit. The virus has caused 167 deaths in Ohio.
All Ohio residents enrolled in SNAP will get an additional payment this week, DeWine said. All SNAP-eligible households will also be able to pick up a pre-packaged box of food at their local food bank.
DeWine said the Ohio Liquor Control Commission passed an emergency rule to allow places with liquor licenses to sell and deliver alcohol. Under the rule, customers can purchase two prepackaged drinks per meal.
On the topic of state prisons, DeWine asked judges to consider the release of 23 pregnant and postpartum inmates, and 15 inmates ages 60 and up who are within 120 days of their scheduled release.
The state also asked for 141 other inmates who are scheduled to be released within 90 days to be let out. Inmates not considered for release are those convicted of sex offenses, homicide, kidnapping, abduction, terrorist threats, ethnic intimidation and domestic violence, as well as those who have been denied in the past and and those with prior convictions.
Acton spoke about modeling, which is a frequent question asked during the daily updates. She said they looked at worst-case scenarios so they could prepare for them.
“It is not a science that predicts the outcome. Our actions predict the outcome,” the health director said. We are flattening the curve, but Acton said if we let up on the restrictions, the cases will go up.
All of the measures, from business closures to social distancing to masks in public, are intended to buy time for the state’s hospitals by delaying the peak. The state is focused on building up ICU capacity and acquiring personal protective equipment, or PPE.