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DeWine: Schools ready to reopen

Columbiana County ranks 9th in state in COVID cases; caution at flea markets urged

With school about to start in the coming weeks — some in person, some virtual and others a combination — Gov. Mike DeWine said districts “are doing a very good job getting ready.”

DeWine said Tuesday: “I have every confidence that they will do everything they can to keep Ohio’s children safe. But whatever is going on in their communities will be reflected in the schools.”

He added: “My plea to everyone today is that if we want our kids to go to school in person, to play sports, to be in extracurricular activities, it’s up to all of us to cut down the spread in our communities.”

DeWine said 325 school districts with 590,000 students — about 38 percent of all students in the state — will reopen full time in person; 55 districts with 398,000 students – about 25.6 percent of all Ohio students — are going entirely remote; while 154 districts with 380,000 students — about 24.5 percent of all state students — are opening with a mixture of the two, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

Information on the remaining 78 districts wasn’t available, he said.

DeWine announced Aug. 4 that face masks were required for students, with a few exemptions, in kindergarten through grade 12 to return to class. But he’s declined to issue a statewide plan for school districts, repeatedly saying that’s a local decision.

During his Tuesday news conference, DeWine was joined by three children’s hospitals officials.

Dr. John Barnard, chief of pediatrics with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said most children do reasonably well if they get COVID-19 with only a small percentage getting very sick.

He pointed out that among children, those who are 17 years old “seem to be contracting coronavirus at a higher rate than their younger peers. This could be because they are more likely to socialize with more people.”

Dr. Patty Manning, chief of staff at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said that ventilation is key to keeping the virus in check in classrooms.

“Teachers should try to open windows or teach outside, if possible,” she said.

Dr. Adam Mezoff, chief medical officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital, urged teachers and students to stay home if they’re sick, even if it’s not COVID-19.

COVID DATA

Also Tuesday, DeWine discussed a ranking of the state’s 88 counties by the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents between July 22 and Aug. 4 with Columbiana being ninth with 111.9 cases per 100,000. The report listed 114 total COVID-19 cases in the county while the number of cases in the county during that time has been 103, according to Ohio Department of Health data.

DeWine remarked that Columbiana County has had outbreaks at two long-term care facilities and issues with people attending a flea market with little social distancing and few face masks.

The report had Mahoning County at 34th in the state with 72.6 cases per 100,000 residents, or 166 total cases between July 22 and Aug. 4. But daily ODH data shows there’s been 289 new cases between those dates.

The report had Trumbull County at 57th with 48 cases per 100,000 residents, or 95 total cases. Again, the daily ODH data is significantly higher, showing 244 cases between those two dates.

ODH officials couldn’t be reached Tuesday to comment on the discrepancies.

Meanwhile, after two days of being below 900 new COVID-19 cases, 1,095 additional cases were reported Tuesday in Ohio.

ODH reported 102,826 total cases Tuesday with 80,885 presumed recovered and 3,708 deaths.

There were 35 additional deaths reported Tuesday including one each in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Mahoning reported 2,595 total cases Tuesday with 1,997 presumed recovered and 255 deaths.

Trumbull County listed 1,549 total cases Tuesday with 1,213 presumed recovered and 108 deaths.

Columbiana County had 1,671 total cases Tuesday with 1,437 presumed recovered and 60 deaths.

Also Tuesday, DeWine discussed the weekly travel advisory for Ohioans who visit states with a COVID-19 positivity rate of at least 15 percent. Those who travel to those states are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel upon their return to Ohio.

The states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi and Nevada — the same states that were on last week’s list.

Also on Tuesday, Ohio was among five states that have been removed from a travel advisory in New York asking returning travelers from those states to quarantine for 14 days.

COVID-19 by the numbers

The number of cases, changes in cases and deaths in counties in the region and statewide as of Tuesday:

County Cases Change since Change since Deaths

yesterday last week

Trumbull 1,549 +15 +108 108

Mahoning 2,595 +29 +158 255

Columbiana 1,671 +6 +88 60

Ohio 102,826 +1,095 +7,720 3,708

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health

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