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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hamilton County Expecting Financial Help From State/Federal Government Due To Coronavirus

denise driehaus
Courtesy of
Hamilton County
County Commission President Denise Driehaus

Hamilton County, like most local governments, is waiting to see if it will get any financial help from the state and federal governments for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

NPR reported Wednesday morning the congressional $2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package, pending final approval, will include "$150 billion to state and local governments to address spending shortages related to the coronavirus pandemic."

County Commission President Denise Driehaus said she'll be participating in a conference call to learn more about the federal package. She said that will also include help for small businesses as well as governments.

"There's a significant strain to local government and the services that we are providing, trying to stay up and running at this time virtually has been challenging," Driehaus said.

The economic slowdown caused by the pandemic is expected to reduce county revenues, including sales tax proceeds, the hotel/motel tax, and money from parking facilities.

"We're going to have some significant losses in those funds," Driehaus said. "And so, we are relying on our partners at the federal level and state level to help us through some of the financial hardship."

The county has already implemented a hiring freeze, and similar measures have been enacted by the state and city of Cincinnati.

Driehaus said the state has provided extra funding to the county to assist people with emergency needs if they qualify. Up to $3,000 is available and that can be used for rent, car repairs and other emergency needs.  Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services is managing those funds, and additional information is available by calling 513-946-1000.

Meanwhile, Hamilton County is also working to secure more personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and first responders in the county.

County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director Nick Crossley said they are asking local agencies to conserve PPE.

"We are working aggressively with our state and federal partners and the federal government to get that supply chain moving," Crossley said. "And making sure that we have enough personal protective equipment to serve the critical needs for people that need health care services."

Crossley said if a local organization is completely out of PPE, the county is trying to assist as much as possible.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.