DeWine Announces Reopening of Adult Care Centers, Mandatory Testing at Assisted Living Facilities
Ohio's adult day care and senior centers may begin reopening Sept. 21 at a reduced capacity, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday. Those facilities have been closed since March 23.
"We can do two things at once. We can be safe. We can be protective," DeWine said. "But we can try to get back to normal and so it's important to do it."
The governor said the late September start date will allow adult and senior facilities time to determine their ability to open and to prepare for reopening. A variety of factors need to be considered, including case status in the surrounding community, risk level in the county, access to testing and local hospital capacity, he said.
In order to open facilities are required to:
- Open with a limited capacity based on safe social distancing.
- Limit entry to the facility to those who are necessary for the safe operation of the program.
- Screen all participants and staff and keep a daily log.
- Conduct baseline and repeat testing of staff and participants.
- Require all staff and participants to wear face coverings with limited exceptions.
- Use cohorting of participants when possible and alter schedules to reduce contact.
- Implement CDC guidance for cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing.
DeWine also issued an order requiring all assisted living facilities to participate in COVID-19 testing for staff and residents. The statewide testing initiative for Ohio assisted living facilities is already underway, he said. Baseline saliva testing will be offered to all assisted living staff and residents at no cost to facilities. The tests can be self-performed and can provide results within 48 hours of being received by the lab, he said.
"Our focus has been and remains protecting Ohioans while navigating this pandemic," DeWine said. "To achieve this, we must have 100% participation of all assisted living facilities in Ohio."
As of Thursday, Ohio has reported 112,003 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 3,929 deaths. The state saw an increase of 1,122 COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths in the last 24 hours.
DeWine noted that some of the counties with the highest occurrence of COVID-19 in the last 14 days are Ohio’s more rural counties, including Mercer, Darke, Laurence and Preble counties.
"What has happened is we've seen the urban areas, that a bigger percentage of people are wearing masks for a longer period of time and we've seen those numbers come down," he said. "Unfortunately, we're seeing the numbers go up in our rural areas."
Under the Ohio Public Health Advisory System Clark, Loraine, Preble and Trumbull counties have moved from orange to red. A total of 9 counties are now at the red Level 3 Public
Emergency alert level, the lowest number since the alert system was started by the state. Seven counties dropped from red to orange, including Montgomery and Cuyahoga counties which have been red every week since the advisory system was enacted. Six additional counties dropped from orange to yellow.