COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Daycare centers have been ordered to make dramatic changes this week as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered all centers operate under a temporary pandemic childcare license beginning this Thursday, March 26.
During his daily coronavirus briefing, DeWine announced the order, which will, among other steps, limit the number of children per room to six.
The governor said the step was being taken, “to minimize the risk to these children from other children in regard to coronavirus, but also the risk it poses to that child’s family. Putting them into groups of six, we are minimizing that risk.”
DeWine said numbers in state-run daycare centers are already dropping due to the COVID-19 coronavirus shutdown. At the start of the shutdown, there were 117,000 children at state-run daycare centers; that number is now down to 17,000, the governor said.
While DeWine didn’t have specific numbers for privately run daycare centers, he estimated 183,000 children at centers at the start of the shutdown, now down to 40,000.
These declines are without any intervention or orders from the state, DeWine added.
“As days have gone on, the number of children in daycare has gone down dramatically,” DeWine said.
DeWine said that while daycares are being limited, they are not being shut down entirely because of the service they provide for essential employees like health care workers and first responders, among others.
The state Department of Health announced 351 confirmed cases of the virus Sunday. The number of deaths in the state from the disease remains at 3.