Nearly 20 Percent of American Renters Are Behind on Payments, Analysis Shows

About 18% of renters, or roughly 10 million people, in the U.S. are behind on their monthly payments as of early January, according to an Urban Institute analysis.

Researchers Jim Parrott, a fellow at the Urban Institute, and Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, calculated that 18% of U.S. renters were behind on payments and warned that if lawmakers didn’t act fast, there could be a major eviction crisis. The average delinquent renter is four months behind on payments and owes $5,600, the researchers estimated using Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

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Chinese Media: COVID Originated in U.S. Military Lab

A Chinese state broadcaster revived a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a US military lab, and told its millions of viewers  there is “something fishy” happening at Fort Detrick in Maryland.

A female anchor on China’s Central Television Station ​Thursday asked viewers: ​​”Exactly what fishy businesses were going on?​,” the Daily Mail reported.

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 900,000, Economists Expected 925,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 900,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Jan. 16, in which there were 965,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 16 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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Governor DeWine Extends Ohio Curfew Indefinitely: The Way Out of This Is the Vaccine

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that the temporary curfew he imposed in Ohio the day before would be extended past Saturday, and he gave little indication when or if the curfew would be lifted at all.

Word of the extension came at the end of DeWine’s press briefing as a response to the first question asked by media.

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Biden to Extend Student Loan Payment Freeze Until September 2021

President-elect Joe Biden will order the Department of Education to extend the student loan payment moratorium through September in one of his first presidential moves.

Joe Biden is set to sign the executive order on Wednesday following his inauguration, extending the current pause on student loan payments, which has been in effect since March, according to CBS News. The order is a fulfillment of Biden’s campaign promise to prioritize the U.S. student loan debt crisis.

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Commentary: Five Ways Hospitals Can Help Fix Vaccine Rollout Debacle

Hospitals have come under sharp criticism for their part in the chaotic COVID-19 vaccine rollout. That’s because in the rush to get the vaccine out quickly, many hospitals were shipped more vaccine than anticipated and fewer staff took it than anticipated. As a result, hospitals accrued a vaccine surplus and offered it to their low-risk grad students and young administrative staff working from home and are now scrambling to figure out what to do with the rest. The answer should be simple: give it to older members of your community, but a recent letter from the American Hospital Association cited a number of important barriers to effective vaccine distribution including a lack of coordination and guidance from federal, state, and local governments. 

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U.S. Scientist Who Led Charge Against COVID Lab Leak Theory Admits He Was Trying to Protect Chinese Scientists

The U.S. scientist behind an effort to stymie debate surrounding the possibility that COVID-19 could have accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology admitted through a spokesman that he did so to protect Chinese scientists from online criticism.

Dr. Peter Daszak, the president of the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, orchestrated a statement published in The Lancet medical journal in February, prior to any serious research on the origins of COVID-19, condemning “conspiracy theories” that suggest the virus doesn’t have a natural origin.

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Three Weeks After Christmas, Ohio COVID Hospitalizations Trend Down

January 15 marked three weeks since Christmas – two from New Year’s celebrations. Statewide hospitalizations have trended downward since Christmas and deaths more so, according to the Ohio COVID dashboard.

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Biden Taps Former FDA Head to Oversee Federal Vaccination Effort

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration and a member of his coronavirus advisory board, to lead the nation’s vaccination effort, the transition team announced Friday.

Kessler, who will become the chief science officer of the COVID-19 response according to a press release from Biden’s transition website, led the FDA under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He will be responsible for ensuring that Biden’s vaccination plan — which calls for 100 million vaccinations in 100 days — is successful.

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U.K. Lockdown Could Last Nearly Three Months

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the end of lockdown may be delayed beyond mid-February and would last until the end of March, telling MPs the government will be “extremely cautious” about lifting restrictions and reopening schools.

On Monday, Prime Minister Johnson plunged England into a third national coronavirus lockdown. The lockdown includes a strict stay at home orders and the closure of all schools.  Mr Johnson resisted calls from Tory MPs to guarantee the rules will start to be eased after the first review on February 15, the prime minister made it clear that a successful roll-out of the vaccine programme  to the most vulnerable will be key to determining when the lockdown measures can be lifted. Adding on a lag for achieving immunity after vaccination and relieving “the pressure on the NHS”, he then tacked on a further two or three weeks, saying “we should remain cautious of the timetable ahead”, Breitbart reported.

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Rollout Leaves More Than 70 Percent of COVID-19 Vaccines Unused

More than 70 percent of COVID-19 vaccines have gone unused, still sitting in freezers US health officials said on Monday.

In Daytona Beach, hundreds of senior citizens camped out in their vehicles in chilly overnight temperatures in the low 40s to secure a place in a vaccination line Tuesday morning, a day after seniors jammed the roads to the vaccination site,  NBC Miami reported.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Announces Health Dept Curfew Order Which Contains Several Exceptions

Today Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Director’s Second Amended Order that All Persons Stay at Home During Specified Hours Unless Engaged in Work or Essential Activity.

Sources inside the state government told The Star in November that the original curfew order came as a reaction to significant backlash from Ohioans as information leaked that Governor DeWine was going to push for another shutdown.
One source said, “people in the room when the decision was made agreed that a curfew wouldn’t do anything significant,” but would be an acceptable compromise the DeWine team would accept.

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Ohio Governor DeWine Rescinds Quarantine Guidance for Classrooms and Schools, Not Sports and Extracurriculars

During a COVID briefing on Wednesday Ohio Governor Mike DeWine rescinded the State of Ohio guidance suggesting students quarantine after being in close contact with other COVID-positive students in school and the classroom.

“Today we are changing our guidance,” said DeWine, who continued “I know that there’s been a great deal of pain – students not being able to do things because they are in quarantine. I fully understand that and I’m sorry that happened, but we had to follow the CDC guidance.”

The Governor said the decision was based on an evaluation of Ohio students, a CDC report involving students in Mississippi, and priority the Governor has given to teachers and staff to receive the COVID vaccine.

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Fewer COVID Patients in Hospitals, ICUs and on Vents in Almost Every Region in Ohio

  Governor DeWine or Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff spend a portion of press briefings discussing the issue of hospital capacity, often warning Ohioans that if cases continue to climb, hospitals around the state will be overrun and care for other non-COVID patients may be crowded out. Consequently, The…

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One-on-One with Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro

Last week The Ohio Star reported on the Ohio Education Association (OEA) Position Statement, which called for schools to suspend in-person learning immediately until January 11. The document outlined four steps the union urges government leaders and schools to follow – reset, restart, reprioritize and resource.
OEA President Scott DiMauro accepted the invitation to talk with The Star in a one-on-one interview.
The Star asked questions submitted from Ohioans around the Buckeye State.

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Governor Mike DeWine Warns Ohioans to Watch Hospital Capacity as Health Director Mulls Outpatient Treatments for COVID-19

During the Thursday COVID briefing, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that he “took an oath to do everything to protect the lives and wellbeing of fellow Ohioans” and that the next three weeks will be the most critical in battling COVID.

DeWine then stressed the importance of Ohioans understanding and keeping an eye on hospital capacity in their respective communities.

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Commentary: Three Studies That Show Lockdowns Are Ineffective at Slowing COVID-19

Across America and Europe, many government officials are resuming lockdowns and tightening restrictions in the face of rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The collateral damage of lockdowns, which has been well documented, includes widespread poverty, depression, bankruptcy, and unemployment. Meanwhile, the benefits of lockdowns remain murky.

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Only 23 Percent of Republican Voters Would Vote for Gov. DeWine in a Primary

A statewide survey conducted by the Strongsville, Ohio GOP asked respondents “If a qualified Republican ran against Governor DeWine in the Republican primary, for whom would you vote?”

Only 23.8% said they would vote for DeWine, while an unnamed “qualified Republican” would get 39.2% of the vote.  Thirty-six percent were not sure and 1% would support an “other” candidate.

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Michigan Restaurant Owner Loses Franchise with Big Boy for Breaking Pandemic Restrictions

The owner of a restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, says it is being “forced to terminate” its contract with the Big Boy franchise over its decision to stay open despite pandemic restrictions. 

A recent order from the state of Michigan has closed indoor restaurant dining in the state from November 18 to December 8. It also closed in-person learning for college and high schools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. The order additionally cancels group fitness classes and organized sports. 

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Ohio Governor and Chief Medical Advisor Asked About Speeding Up Delivery of Therapies to COVID Patients

The Ohio Star reported that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called a special press conference on Monday, November 23 alongside the Ohio Hospital Association leaders to address the state’s COVID hospitalization rise.

As reported, during the briefing doctors who lead each of Ohio’s three zones (the state is segmented into three areas) disclosed staffing shortages due to COVID quarantine orders, which had further depleted caregiving capacity already run thin by upticks in COVID hospital cases around the state.

The Star has received inquiries from readers describing their situations.  One woman told the story of her husband who was alerted that he had been exposed to COVID and within days began exhibiting symptoms. When he called his doctor seeking preventative therapies, he was denied.  The man was later admitted to a hospital for days, where he received therapeutic treatments that aided his recovery.

Consequently, The Star took the opportunity during Governor DeWine’s twice-weekly COVID presser on Tuesday to ask the following question:

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Ohio Governor DeWine Calls Special Presser to Talk State Hospital Capacity

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called a special briefing Monday to update Ohioans on the record number of COVID hospital admissions statewide. He was joined by members of the Ohio Hospital Association – Robert Wyllie, Cleveland Clinic; Andrew Thomas, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; Richard Lofgren, UC Health; Ronda Lehman, Mercy Health.

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Ohio Public Health Advisory System – Indicator Seven, ICU Occupancy

Sustained increase in ICU bed occupancy is the most relevant of the bunch comprising the Ohio Public Health Advisory System indicators because it measures overall ICU capacity and specifically looks at COVID patients in intensive care.

Ohio logged 2,092 COVID cases by onset date on October 15. One month later that number grew to 6,087 according to the Ohio COVID dashboard.  Despite the run-up in cases and a spike in hospitalizations – which have not correlated to a matching percentage of deaths (which continue to hold well below peaks from April) no county in Ohio has tripped indicator seven.

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New Model Will Reduce Medicare Part B Drugs Costs, Save Taxpayers $85 Billion Over Seven Years

President Donald Trump and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new drug payment model Friday that will significantly lower the cost of Medicare Part B drugs, in a move the president said was a threat to “Big Pharma.”

Beginning in early January, the Most Favored Nation Model will test an innovative way for Medicare to no longer pay high-cost, physician-administered Medicare Part B drugs than the lowest price charged in similar countries.

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Gov. DeWine Congratulates Joe Biden on Winning 2020 Presidential Election Before Official Determination

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Thursday “we need to consider the former vice president as the President-elect.”

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Four to Six Week Nationwide Lockdown Could Curb the Pandemic and Jumpstart the Economy, Biden Covid Advisor Says

Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, said that a 4-6 week lockdown that shut down businesses and compensated workers for lost wages may curb the spread of the virus and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed.

Osterholm, the director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told Yahoo Finance Wednesday that the strategy would help decrease daily case counts and hospitalizations until an effective vaccine arrives.

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DeWine Names New Chief Medical Officer, Director of Health Department

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced several new additions to the Ohio Department of Health on Twitter on Thursday, citing the pandemic as the reason for the new appointees.

DeWine named Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff as the Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health. Vanderhoff had previously served as senior vice president and chief medical officer for OhioHealth, a healthcare outreach for the United Methodist Church, since December 2008.

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Ohio’s Undecided Voters Concerned About Race, COVID, Health Care and the Economy

Ohio has only twice swung in favor of a losing candidate during a presidential election – in 1944 and 1960. Otherwise, as Ohio goes so goes America.

According to The State of the Nation, a 50-state survey, Ohio voters are concerned about racism, the economy and healthcare.

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OHIO COIVD Report: Cases Up, Hospital Utilization Down

OHIO “REPORTED” COVID data for Monday, November 2, 2020:

Cases:  2,909

Hospitalizations: 182

ICU: 23

Deaths: 37

*Reported numbers reach as far back as the beginning of the pandemic (which the state officially recognizes as 1/2020, despite contact tracing data that indicate the virus was here in 11/2019). Example: the deaths number is likely double-to-triple the actual number of deaths today.

Hospital utilization, per the Ohio key metric hospitalization page, continues to drop – with the exception being ventilator usage which has plateaued.

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Deaths Are Low but DeWine Sounds the COVID Alarm

Governor Mike DeWine said on Tuesday that “all Ohioans should be alarmed” with the trajectory of the state’s COVID numbers.

DeWine reported 2,509 cases, 198 hospitalizations, 20 ICU visits and 22 deaths.

However, reported numbers are always higher than the actual numbers for the day – reported numbers can go as far back as the beginning of the epidemic.

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Lance Himes Email Riles Up Ohioans, Many Believe ODH Will Mandate COVID Vaccine

An email from Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes riled-up Ohioans. The email was sent Tuesday to prospective attendees of an ODH webinar on the state’s vaccine plan. 

In the email, Himes wrote, “It is important to note that the Ohio COVID-19 Vaccination Program strategy is a draft framework outlining how to implement mandatory requirements once more details of a vaccine are known.” 

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DeWine Hits Ohio Circuit Again – Proclaims Red Wave

With just 15 days remaining before the 2020 presidential election, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was delivering a stump speech on Monday – “there is a red tide going through Ohio.” However, DeWine wasn’t talking about, and stumping for, Republican President Donald J. Trump. Instead, he was campaigning for COVID.

DeWine was referring to the rising case numbers in rural areas and “just about everywhere,” in Ohio – which has led to counties throughout the state reaching code red on Ohio’s public health advisory system.

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Governor DeWine Predicts ‘Very, Very Heavy’ COVID Storm

Ohio now has 29 counties colored red by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, according to remarks made by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine during his press briefing on Thursday.

That total represents 65% of Ohio’s population of just under 11.7 million, according to the Governor.

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CDC Report Indicates Masks May Increase Chance of Infection with COVID or Other Respiratory Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks.
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.

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Europe, US Reel as Virus Infections Surge at Record Pace

Coronavirus cases around the world have climbed to all-time highs of more than 330,000 per day as the scourge comes storming back across Europe and spreads with renewed speed in the U.S., forcing many places to reimpose tough restrictions they had eased just a few months ago.

Well after Europe seemed to have largely tamed the virus that proved so lethal last spring, newly confirmed infections are reaching unprecedented levels in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland, and most of the rest of the continent is seeing similar danger signs.

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Ohio’s Advisory System Counts COVID-like ER Visits

This is the sixth story in and eight-part series on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS). The system assigns one of four colors to each of Ohio’s 88 counties based on the level of COVID exposure and spread.

OPHAS is a supplement to the numerous statewide COVID mandates and is supposed to be a data-driven framework that gives local leaders a tool for use in deciding local and county school, business and other public policies.

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Perspective on Ohio Governor DeWine’s Trip Around Ohio to Talk ‘COVID Spread’

Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine made his rounds in Ohio on Friday – among other spots, stopping near Toledo and Youngstown to talk about COVID “spread.”

The Ohio Star covered one of the briefings, during which DeWine said if Ohioans don’t mask, distance and follow mandates then schools and colleges will inevitably go remote and businesses will likely shutter because people will be afraid.

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Richland County Is Close to Becoming the First Ohio County to Reach ‘Code Purple’ on Ohio’s Emergency Map

  Richland County is teetering on the verge of becoming the first Ohio county to reach code purple on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS). According to OPHAS,  purple means that the county is experiencing “severe exposure and spread” and residents are to leave home for only “supplies and…

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Robbed: Ohio Department of Health, Governor DeWine Take High School Golfer’s Historic Moment

Lauren Bevins made school history.

The senior golfer was the first female from Eastern High School (Beaver, Ohio) to qualify for the district golf tournament.

On Tuesday morning Bevins would have not only been the first to qualify, she would have been the first to compete.

Lauren never got the chance to pull a club from her golf bag.

The senior golfer was named in a COVID case and contacted by public health officials who told her to quarantine for 14 days. The district golf tournament fell on day 10 of Lauren’s quarantine.

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Ohio Public Health Advisory System: Indicator Five – Outpatient Visits for COVID-like Illness

OPHAS has seven indicators and each of Ohio’s 88 counties is assigned a color based on the number of indicators that are triggered.

Indicator five measures the sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness.

According to the state website, the indicator “provides information on the health care seeking behavior of the population and a sense of how concerned residents are about their current health status and the virus.”

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DeWine Says Restrictions for Years, Then Backpedals as Ohio Reports Limited and Late Antibody Study

During the twice-weekly COVID presser, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine invited Dr. Abigail Norris-Turner on Thursday to speak to Ohioans. Norris-Turner revealed the results of a random statewide antibody study former Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton mentioned in April and promised May 11.

Regarding the 1,200-person study, Acton said during a press conference on May 11 “[t]hey’re volunteering to help us learn more about the prevalence of this disease, many of whom may not know they have had it.”

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Gov. DeWine Announces National Guard at Presidential Debates, COVID, Sports

Governor DeWine’s office sent out an email update on Thursday about COVID, the upcoming presidential debate and sporting events.

In COVID news, 67 counties remained in their current state of exposure while Portage County dropped from level 3 to level 2.

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State Rep. Grendell’s ‘Restore Ohio Now’ Bill Gains Momentum in Ohio House, Needs Speaker’s Guidance

Nineteen state representatives signed on to support law that would effectively put an end to COVID restrictions, the bill’s author, State Representative Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland) told The Ohio Star Wednesday.

“Government cannot protect us from every single one of life’s risks,” Grendell said.

The Star reported that the Representative-crafted a bill that would immediately cancel Governor Mike DeWine’s Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Ohio.

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Gov. DeWine Discusses Ohio COVID Updates

Governor Mike DeWine discussed programs Wednesday aimed at helping Ohio deal with COVID.

In an emailed press release, DeWine’s office announced the creation of a new demographic dashboard which will allow those interested to break down COVID cases by race and ethnicity, as well as age and county. DeWine said the “dashboard will help better track health inequities and disparities” and that “this data will also help put critical decisions into context for policymakers.”

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Governor DeWine’s Comments on Nursing Home Visitation Spark Questions

Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed an order on July 2 that went into effect on July 20. The mandate permits outdoor visitations at senior homes around the state and prohibits indoor visits.

“If you have a loved one and you cannot get into a nursing home, that is the nursing home that is stopping you from going in – it is not the health department” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on September 17 during a semiweekly COVID press conference.

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Gov. DeWine Did a Number of Things to Address COVID-19 This Week

Governor Mike DeWine’s office released a review of the state’s COVID-19 status and response as well as a list of actions taken by the state.

The governor updated this week’s coronavirus numbers, which saw 69 counties remain at their current level of exposure, and Preble County being downgraded from a level 3 to a level 2. In other COVID-19 news, the state has it’s own dashboard for COVID tracking of children and schools in conjunction with the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and local health departments.

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Ohio Representative Diane Grendell Drafts Bill to End COVID Emergency in Ohio with ‘Restore Ohio Now’ Bill

Ohio State Representative Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland) announced Wednesday the introduction of a bill to “terminate the COVID-19 state of emergency in Ohio.”

The representative lauded Governor Mike DeWine for his swift response to COVID saying that he “responded appropriately.” However, Grendell said the administration “continues to use the state of emergency to restrict businesses and all Ohioans.”

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Federal Judge Calls Pennsylvania Gov’s Orders Illegal, Ohio Gov DeWine Defends His Own Orders at Press Conference

Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania issued a declaratory judgement, citing violations of the U.S. Constitution to strike down Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s authority to close businesses, issue stay-at-home orders and limit gatherings.

Although the decision is not binding in Ohio it sets precedent that other judges may reference.

Gyms, restaurants, sports businesses, water parks and dance studios are some of the businesses that have filed lawsuits against the Ohio Department of Health and Governor Mike DeWine.

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Freedom of Information Applies to Only the Educated, Say Ohio Wesleyan Professors

Delaware, Ohio City Council met Monday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. to consider a resolution requesting past-due information from the Ohio Department of Health.

Resolution 20-53 requests the total number of tests administered in the city, as well as the total number of tests in the county to be released to the Delaware General Health District from the Ohio Department of Health.

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Healthcare Activist Says Patients Aren’t Being Allowed Crucial Visitors

A nurse turned medical activist is accusing an Ohio Healthcare Provider of refusing to help her husband after she complained about the Hospital’s visitor policies.

Michelle Estel, says that she received a letter from Fairfield Medical Center (FMC), where her husband was receiving chemotherapy for his lymphoma stating that the hospital could no longer provide care to him since the relationship between he and the hospital was “no longer effective.” 

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