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State works to head off COVID’s effect on economy

On the day it was announced that Ohio has seen 87 new COVID-19-related deaths, Gov. Mike DeWine was working to head off economic challenges brought about by the pandemic by unveiling a jobs initiative intended to help unemployed Ohioans seeking work.

The effort comes as the state remains slow in its recovery from the ongoing pandemic.

Also in an attempt to head off potential liability triggered by COVID-19, DeWine on Monday signed into law legislation granting tort protection against coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Tom Humphries on Tuesday said the legislation approved earlier by legislators will help local businesses emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The civil immunity extends to individuals, schools, health care providers, businesses and other entities, provided they were not showing reckless, intentional or willful misconduct. It also shields health care providers from liability in tort actions regarding the care and services provided during the pandemic unless they were acting recklessly or displaying intentional misconduct.

COVID DEATHS

During his regular press conference Tuesday, DeWine said he is greatly concerned by the 87 reported deaths, but he explained they didn’t happen on that specific day. As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, it’s common for reported cases to lag behind actual ones — sometimes by several weeks or even months.

Of the 87 deaths, one occurred May 6 with 83 percent happening in the past month, DeWine said.

County coroners have up to six months to report causes of death, but usually don’t take close to that long, he said.

Among the 87 deaths, five were reported in Mahoning and two in Trumbull counties.

The seven Mahoning Valley deaths is the same amount of COVID-19 reported deaths in the area between Sept. 5 and Monday.

DeWine also Tuesday listed the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents for each county.

The Mahoning Valley posted some of the lowest numbers in the state. After having some of the highest numbers during the early months of the pandemic, cases in the Valley have significantly dropped in the past month.

Between Aug. 31 and Sunday, there were 44.2 cases per 100,000 residents in Columbiana County. That’s 54th among the state’s 88 counties and the highest of a Valley county.

Mahoning County was 68th with 31 cases per 100,000 while Trumbull County was 71st with 27.8 cases per 100,000.

Ohio reported 139,485 total COVID-19 cases through Tuesday — an increase of 1,001 from a day earlier — with 117,130 presumed recovered and 4,506 deaths.

Mahoning County listed 2,966 total cases Tuesday with 2,569 presumed recovered and 279 deaths.

Trumbull County reported 1,823 total cases Tuesday with 1,617 presumed recovered and 129 deaths.

Columbiana County had 1,902 total cases Tuesday with 1,746 presumed recovered and 71 deaths.

JOBS INITIATIVE

DeWine’s job’s initiative is starting in Cuyahoga County and can be accessed online at ohiotowork.com.

“We hope to expand the effort to more areas of the state,” DeWine said. “Right now, we have more than 30 employers signed on with the initiative.”

The program brings together employers, nonprofits, educators and training providers to help Ohioans learn new skills and restart their careers, he said.

“Ohio to work will help someone who is out of work to identify a new career opportunity, train for it and then be placed with an employer,” DeWine said. “We know it can be a challenge to find a job right now, but we also know employers are hiring in industries like health care, technology and advanced technology.”

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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