Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed an order Thursday afternoon prohibiting mass gatherings of 100 people or more in the state of Ohio in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The governor also ordered schools to close for three weeks starting on Monday.
The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state rose to five on Thursday. There are 52 persons under investigation and 30 people who have had negative tests returned. The fifth person who tested positive is a male patient at Mercy Health St. Joseph Warren Hospital in Trumbull County. He has no history of travel outside the state of Ohio.
As far as K-12 schools, the governor said the risk of death for a child that contracts COVID-19 is not very high. They are, however, potential carriers and schools will close for three weeks.
"We are announcing today that children of the state will have an extended spring break of three weeks. This will begin this coming Monday. Each school will determine access to the building after that," he said.
DeWine also said that critical needs that students have such as food assistance will be addressed.
"We know it's disruptive to the families, but we have to do this if we want to slow this down," he said.
DeWine and Acton signed the order banning the group of people numbering 100. As of now, mass gathering are prohibited in the state of Ohio bringing together more than 100 people in one room.
This excludes shopping malls, airports, typical office environments, and schools, as those are defined as areas where 100 or more people may be "in transit." It does not include athletic events that exclude spectators. Immediate family members of athletic participants may be present. The order does not apply to religious gatherings, weddings or funerals.
"These numbers will grow," DeWine said. "We are told by medical experts, whatever the number is today, it will double in six days and that continues on and on."
At a news conference earlier Thursday, Toledo and Lucas County officials reiterated that there are no confirmed cases in our area, though testing has taken place.