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Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine (R), took immediate action after the first three people tested positive for COVID-19 in his state on March 9th. After declaring a state of emergency, Gov. DeWine called for all k-12 schools to close for at least three weeks (starting March 17th), which was later extended through the end of the semester. In the following weeks, Gov. DeWine shut down more and more amenities (bars, nursing home visits, restaurants, etc.) until March 22nd, when he announced a stay-at-home order. By all accounts, Gov. DeWine and the director of the Ohio department of health, Dr. Amy Acton, were doing very well. In contrast, Louisiana, which shared the date of the first confirmed cases with Ohio, had more than double the number of confirmed cases by April.
However, during May, things started going downhill. Businesses and restaurants started to reopen, and, on May 29th, the stay-at-home order expired. For all intents and purposes, Ohioans went back to normal. A few businesses required masks, but most did not and many Ohioans didn’t see the reason to suspend their comfort to wear one. For a few weeks of June, cases actually went down, but on June 14 (notably 2 weeks after the stay-at-home order expired) cases started to go up very quickly. Around the same time, Dr. Amy Acton resigned.
Gov. DeWine did not reverse the reopening plan in Ohio; rather, he asked people to limit their gatherings, and said things would be decided on a county-by-county basis. Many counties and cities started to enforce mask orders. Gov. DeWine issued a state-wide mask order on July 23rd for any public exposure. For the most part, this has been effective. In terms of newly reported cases per day, the numbers have started to decrease. Whether the mask order is enforced or not depends greatly on where you are. In some places, everyone wears masks and everyone enforces it. However, when driving into more rural areas especially, it is not uncommon to see crowds of people in bars not wearing masks.
Most recently, Gov. DeWine tested positive for COVID-19, right before he was supposed to meet with President Trump. Thankfully, a few hours later, he tested negative after taking on a more sensitive test. Many Ohioans worry for Gov. DeWine as he has said that he has asthma. Furthermore, having Ohio’s governor, the second governor to test positive for COVID-19, (after Oklahoma) shows the dire place that Ohio is likely headed towards. In the last few weeks, the number of new cases in Ohio has held steady with about 8,000 every week. The total number of cases in Ohio is 101,731 (as of 8/11), putting it in the top 20 states with the most cases.
Ohio continues to push schools to reopen in just a few weeks. This has been met with some concession and some disapproval. Montgomery County, among other counties, has officially recommended schools to start the year virtually and to suspend all high-risk activities from band to contact sports. Many schools, unfortunately including my own, have chosen not to follow these guidelines, and continue to hold band and sports practices with every intention to start the year with in-person learning.
Hopefully, Ohio will regain the momentum from the beginning of the pandemic in order to keep Ohioans everywhere safe.
Written by Clara Leach
Laura A. Bischoff, Kristen Spicker. “Coronavirus Timeline: A Look at the Orders Changing Life in Ohio.” Dayton, Dayton Daily News, 13 May 2020.
The New York Times. “Ohio Coronavirus Map and Case Count.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Apr. 2020,
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