COLUMBUS (WCMH) —  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D. MPH held a briefing to discuss the latest efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in the state.

As of Tuesday, 7,280 cases have been reported in the state, leading to 324 deaths. A total of 2,156 people have been hospitalized, 654 in critical care.


Governor DeWine said Tuesday the state is submitting a waiver to the federal government for more freedom for Medicaid recipients. He says the waiver will boost telehealth, waive signature requirements for providers and remove barriers to accessing nursing home care.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther joined DeWine by teleconference to discuss the city’s alternative care center at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Ginther says their greatest hope is the center will never be needed, but they must be prepared just in case it is.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted discussed the state’s dispute resolution process, which settles conflicting rulings by county health departments. So far, there have been 194 inquires. Of those, 27 are under review and 10 have been ruled on by the commission.

Husted also discussed the eventual process of reopening businesses in the state. He said they have talked with many small businesses and large companies that have already gone through this in other countries to make sure everyone is safe when things reopen.

“It’s not going to be a light switch, it’s going to be a slower process,” said Husted.

The state is now using updated criteria when reporting case numbers, based on CDC guidelines.

Before this change, the guidance only allowed doctors to count COVID-19 cases that had been confirmed by a laboratory test. Now, the new guidance will include cases that meet the following criteria:

  • A person will be counted if a quick test determines the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in the blood
  • A person will be counted if there is clinical evidence and epidemiological evidence of the presence of COVID-19 when there is no other likely diagnosis, even if there’s no lab test

Tuesday’s numbers include 7,153 laboratory confirmed cases and 127 cases under the expanded criteria. A total of 309 deaths are laboratory confirmed cases, with 15 more meet the expanded criteria.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources: