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Child care centers can return to full capacity Aug. 9

Ohio also bans full county fairs beginning Friday

Child care centers in Ohio will be permitted to be at their regular capacity, effective Aug. 9, but full county fairs that open Friday or later are banned.

“Child care providers have a choice to get a subsidy and maintain their current lower ratios or they can go back to the normal statutory ratio,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday. “Even with increased classroom sizes, child care providers will still have to comply with stringent health and safety requirements including face coverings for all staff with exemptions, symptom and temperature checks, handwashing and frequent cleanings of surfaces.”

Because of COVID-19, DeWine closed child care centers March 26 except for those that received a special pandemic license from the state to watch children of workers deemed essential.

All centers were allowed to reopen May 31 with no more than six infants and toddlers in a room, increasing to nine for preschool and school-age children.

With schools allowed to reopen — and some starting as early as next month — DeWine said the existing system no longer can work.

“Children cannot learn unless they are safe and cared for, and without access to child care, parents may resort to less-than-ideal options for their child’s care such as relying on an elderly grandparent who is at greater risk for contracting COVID-19,” he said. “By allowing normal ratios to resume, we’re giving parents more options.”

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is structuring a financial incentive to providers that maintain smaller ratios and classroom sizes, DeWine said.

DeWine also announced Tuesday that county fairs would be canceled, effective Friday. But junior fairs would be allowed to operate on fairgrounds with proper social distancing and face mask requirements.

“It’s clear we cannot have fairs that are safe,” he said.

Most county fairs in Ohio already either have been canceled or gone to junior fairs only. The Canfield Fair is planning a junior fair.

Asked about Columbus requiring bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. because of the pandemic and going to that statewide, DeWine said he’d discuss it Thursday.

DeWine said, “We believe we’ve started to see a plateau in some of these numbers — not all.”

That comment came the same day as 1,320 new COVID-19 cases were reported — the 11th-most for any day during the pandemic — and 1,144 people were in hospitals with the virus — the most for any day.

He said emergency room visits have decreased for those with COVID-19 in the past three-and-a-half weeks.

Tuesday was the 20th day out of the past 21 in Ohio to have at least 1,000 new COVID-19 cases. Those 20 days are among the top 25 for the most reported cases in the state.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 86,497 overall COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday with 61,056 “presumed recovered” and 3,382 fatalities.

The state added 38 deaths Tuesday with none in the Mahoning Valley.

Mahoning County listed 2,306 total cases Tuesday, up 26 from Monday.

Trumbull County reported 1,324 cases, an increase of 12 from Monday.

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