State Closes Schools, Bans Large Gatherings

(Ohio) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced that the state will close schools for the next three weeks.

School closing for public and private districts will be effective at the end of class on Monday, March 16th, for three weeks through at least April 3rd. Officials note a review will be conducted before permitting schools to open, meaning the closure could extend longer than three weeks.

Additionally, the state is banning gatherings of more than 100 people. An order was signed on Thursday banning gatherings; however, it does not include grocery stores, forms of transit or athletic events that exclude spectators, among other things.

Reports indicate the fifth confirmed case is a 55-year-old man from Trumbull County. He has been hospitalized and did not go to work after he started to develop symptoms. Officials noted that the five cases reported Thursday are expected to double within six days.

He explained an expectation for the numbers to continue to grow an indicated those confirmed currently are likely just a small fraction of those already infected in the state.

The state is also expected to issue regulations to stop all visitation at nursing homes and state psychiatric hospitals. Those working at these facilities will have their temperatures tested regularly. According to the state health department’s website, there are currently 52 Ohioans awaiting test results for the coronavirus and 30 others have tested negative for COVID-19 so far.

State officials are also seeking additional poll workers for Ohio’s Primary Election Day on Tuesday, March 17th as a result of some workers unable to participate due to health risks for the virus.

Many schools across the state, including the largest in Ohio, Columbus City Schools with roughly 50,000 students, have canceled or postponed large school events. Some districts are also preparing for online learning options.

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