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Ohio to start opening for business today

The state is gradually opening for business today during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonemergency health procedures that don’t require an overnight stay start today and dentist and veterinarian offices can open.

Essential businesses were permitted to remain open during the pandemic, and there are numerous exemptions — such as going to the grocery store, pharmacies and to work — to the stay-at-home order.

That stay-at-home order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. today with Gov. Mike DeWine saying Thursday he’ll extend it, presumably today, with lesser exemptions for when businesses reopen. It was first issued March 22 and then extended April 2.

Manufacturing, distribution, construction and general offices can reopen Monday.

On May 12, consumer, retail and some service businesses will be allowed to open.

Asked about some retail and service businesses planning to open today in violation of the state policy, DeWine said, “We’re trying to phase openings in. We’re trying to continue to buy us some time so that we don’t have the curve going straight up again. We would say if you open up early, it’s a mistake. We hope people will follow the law.”

He added: “I know everyone is anxious to get moving again, but this is a balance. We want to open up, but we must protect the public. It’s why we have specific protocols and it’s why we are layering the openings.”

DeWine hasn’t said when he plans to allow dine-in eating at restaurants and reopen businesses such as bars, daycares, hair and nail salons, entertainment venues and gyms.

He also urged people to social distance from each other as it’s the “best way to protect” against the virus.

“When people don’t practice social distancing themselves, they are endangering other people,” DeWine said.

COVID-19 DATA

There was one COVID-19 death reported in the Mahoning Valley on Thursday, but one previously reported case was removed.

The newly reported fatality was in Trumbull County.

Mahoning reduced its number by one Thursday with its county public health district saying a probable cause has since been determined to be negative for the virus.

This came one day after 19 deaths were reported. Eight of those 19 occurred between Sunday and Wednesday.

Reported deaths lag behind actual ones, sometimes by a few weeks.

There remain 135 deaths in the Mahoning Valley: 80 in Mahoning, 31 in Trumbull and 24 in Columbiana counties.

Mahoning County has the third-most COVID-19 fatalities in the state. Trumbull has the ninth-most and Columbiana has the 13th-most among the state’s 88 counties.

There were 975 COVID-19 deaths in the state as of Thursday, up from 937 a day earlier and 799 Tuesday.

April 17 was the deadliest day in the state with 48 COVID-19 fatalities.

There were 18,027 confirmed cases of the virus in the state Thursday, up from 17,303 Wednesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The 724 increase in cases Thursday is higher than the 488 per day average in the state during the past five days.

Statewide, 3,533 people were hospitalized as of Thursday because of the virus, up from 3,421 Wednesday.

There were 1,035 people in intensive-care units Thursday in Ohio, up from 1,014 Wednesday.

There were 828 cases and 243 hospitalizations in Mahoning County on Thursday, up from 804 and 238, respectively, Wednesday.

That continues to be the seventh-most cases and fifth-most hospitalizations among Ohio counties. Mahoning is the 12th-most populous county in Ohio.

There were 308 cases and 138 hospitalizations in Trumbull County on Thursday, up from 305 and 136, respectively, Wednesday.

Trumbull remains the Ohio county with the 11th-most cases and seventh-most hospitalizations. It’s the state’s 15th-most populous county.

Columbiana County recorded 253 cases and 98 hospitalizations, up from 247 and 95 a day earlier.

It continues to have the 14th-most cases and eighth-most hospitalizations in the state. It’s Ohio’s 26th-most populous county.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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