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Ohio shuts schools for three weeks

Associate Professor of Nursing Kris Bowman, left, Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted tour the Central Ohio Technical College nursing lab Feb. 26. Today, Dewine announced that all Ohio schools will be closed for three weeks, starting Monday, in response to COVID-19. (Joshua Morrison/Mount Vernon News via AP)

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that children in the state will have an extended spring break of three weeks, beginning Monday.

The decision, he said, was made after consulting with health experts and will be reviewed as part of the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19, which includes limiting public gatherings.

The Youngstown City School District will be closed Friday to prepare for the state-imposed three week closure.

But the city schools staff are expected to report Friday to their regular buildings.

DeWine led off his news conference Thursday afternoon by talking about a 55-year-old man who has the coronavirus in Trumbull County.

Though the governor did not say what hospital the man is in, it is apparently the same man who is at St. Joseph Warren Hospital as the hospital reported Wednesday evening.

The governor called the person with the virus a “55-year-old male in Trumbull County … who has no travel history outside the state of Ohio. He has been hospitalized.

“Fortunately he did not go to work when he felt these symptoms. He felt sick,” the governor said.

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Here is the story from The Associated Press:

COLUMBUS (AP) — A look at developments related to the coronavirus as Ohio tests for additional cases after confirming its first five.

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TESTING

Health officials say five people in the state have tested positive for the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. Ohio is currently testing 52 people who have shown symptoms of respiratory distress and has cleared another 30 people.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

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CANCELLATIONS

Gov. Mike DeWine ordered schools closed for three weeks beginning Monday. He acknowledged the disruptions it will mean for families but said it’s necessary to help prevent the spread of the virus. The announcement came as Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order banning gatherings of over 100 people. The ban is not absolute and exempts work places, religious gatherings, weddings and funerals, and other events. Numerous cancellations preceded the announcement across the state. Ohio State University canceled the annual football team scrimmage dubbed the Spring Game, scheduled for April 11, an event that regularly attracts tens of thousands of fans to Columbus. Cincinnati canceled its Findlay Market Opening Day Parade on March 26, a 100-year tradition on the Reds’ opening day. The Cleveland Orchestra canceled three concerts scheduled for this week. Schools had already canceled concerts and other school performances.

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PREVENTION

In Cuyahoga County, judges, prosecutors and the sheriff’s office have agreed to allow as many low-level offenders as possible to reach plea bargains as a means of getting them out of jail to reduce the risk of the virus spreading through the inmate population. Nearly all Ohio’s public colleges and universities are now temporarily moving to online or remote learning, as are many of the private schools. Attendance at Ohio high school postseason tournaments will be limited to relatives of athletes, the media, coaches and school administrators. Nursing home visits are sharply restricted, and multiple polling places have been moved from senior centers ahead of the March 17 primary.

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