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Ohio woman who lost 3 family members urges people stay home

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman whose brother, mother and father died of coronavirus pleaded for people to stay at home and follow social distancing guidelines, while President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for Ohio and ordered federal help for state and local recovery efforts.

A look at coronavirus-related developments in Ohio on Wednesday:

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CARE

Gov. Mike DeWine said he’s sending the National Guard to Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus to assess spaces for extra hospital beds for an anticipated surge in cases.

The Health Department said it’s received Ohio’s allotment of personal protective equipment from the national strategic stockpile. That includes more than 100,000 gowns, nearly 500,000 gloves, and more than 670,000 masks. But Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said the supplies don’t meet the state’s needs and urged that supplies be conserved and new items donated.

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CASES

In Grove City in suburban Columbus, a woman whose brother, mother and father died this week of coronavirus pleaded for people to stay at home and follow social distancing guidelines, according to WSYX/WTTE-TV in Columbus. A GoFundMe page has been created to support the family.

More than 2,500 cases are confirmed, with 65 deaths as of Wednesday and nearly 700 people hospitalized, officials reported. That doesn’t reflect all cases in Ohio, because the state limits testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers.

Acton ordered hospitals that don’t do their own testing to send tests to labs used by the state to speed up results.

For most people, COVID-19 displays mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can be more severe, causing pneumonia or death.

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ECONOMY

Attorney General Dave Yost sent a cease-and-desist order to craft company Hobby Lobby following reports that several stores were open in Ohio, demanding proof the stores meet the “essential business” requirements under the state’s stay-at-home order. A message was left with the company seeking comment.

DeWine signed an executive order asking lenders to suspend mortgage and rent payments from small businesses for 90 days. He also said Ohioans on food stamps now have the option to order online and pick up groceries outside the store.

President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration late Tuesday for Ohio and ordered federal help for state and local recovery efforts. Gov. Mike DeWine had been urging such a move.

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PRISONS

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says three inmates at three different institutions have been isolated pending testing. Marion Correctional Institution is under quarantine after a staff member tested positive, and six inmates at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus are also under quarantine. No inmate has tested positive.

In Toledo, an inmate and a nurse at the Lucas County Jail each tested positive, according to The Blade.

THE NEW NORMAL

In New Middletown in northeastern Ohio, a man following social distancing rules used a bucket truck to greet his mother whose room is on the third floor of a nursing home, according to WFMJ-TV.

In Columbus, City Attorney Zach Klein warned criminal charges would be brought against anyone faking a COVID-19 diagnosis to evade arrest.

In Ohio’s Amish country, families are instructed to come one at a time to schoolhouses a couple times of week to pick up assignments and have lessons graded, according to The Daily Record.

IN-PERSON CHURCH GATHERINGS

“It is not a Christian thing to do.” said DeWine, responding to reports that some churches are continuing to hold services, in reference to the danger that presented. DeWine called that practice “a huge mistake.”

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Associated Press writers Mark Gillispie in Cleveland, John Seewer in Toledo and Kantele Franko in Columbus contributed to this report.