Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday that the first COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Ohio. Shipments of 975 doses were delivered Monday morning to both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and UC Health in Cincinnati. Several health care workers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients immediately received vaccinations.
"It was such a moment of hope to watch the health care workers begin to get vaccinated today," Governor DeWine said. "Today is the first day of a process that will continue over the months ahead as Ohioans who choose to be vaccinated have their opportunity to receive the vaccine. However, until the vaccine is widely available for all Ohioans who choose to receive it, we must continue to use all available tools to prevent the spread of the virus, like wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and washing your hands."
Seven more hospitals in Ohio received their first vaccine shipments Tuesday, bringing the total number of vaccine doses delivered to Ohio on Monday and Tuesday to 98,475.
Governor DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine were present for the delivery of the vaccine shipment to Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center on Tuesday, and Lt. Governor Jon Husted visited OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus as it received its first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
In addition to those hospitals, COVID-19 vaccine shipments of 975 doses apiece were also delivered to:
Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
Aultman Hospital, Stark County
Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County
An additional 975-dose shipment was delivered Tuesday to OhioHealth Riverside Hospital for use at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens.
All the hospitals were selected based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity.
Although vaccine supplies are currently limited, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has advised that Ohio will continue to receive vaccinations throughout the month of December. Next week, Ohio is expected to receive 123,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as 201,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. During the week of New Year’s, Ohio is expected to receive an additional 148,000 Pfizer vaccines and an additional 89,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
As COVID-19 vaccines continue to arrive in Ohio, Cardinal Health’s OptiFreight Logistics business will help provide same-day delivery services. Once the vaccine is widely available, this partnership will allow Ohio to ship the vaccine to approximately 350 locations across the state.
Ohio Participating in Nursing Home Vaccination Program
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has invited Ohio to participate in an early scaled launch of vaccinations in nursing homes. Ohio began providing vaccinations in five to 10 nursing homes on Friday, December 18. Ohio had previously been scheduled to start its nursing home vaccination program in partnership with pharmacy providers on Monday, December 21.
Ohio to Launch Vaccination Dashboard
Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard in the coming days at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The dashboard will list the number of people vaccinated in Ohio and will be sortable by demographic and by county.
Guidelines Issued for Phase 1A of Vaccinations
Next week, local health departments in Ohio that registered as providers are expected to begin receiving vaccines. Governor DeWine outlined guidance for individuals who should be prioritized by health departments during Phase 1A.
Local health departments should coordinate the vaccinations of congregate care residents and staff, such as those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who are not enrolled in the federal long-term care pharmacy programs or are not registered as providers themselves. This includes people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers, as well as staff.
In addition, local health departments should prioritize vaccinating other health care providers who are not being vaccinated by hospitals and health systems and are not enrolled as providers themselves. These providers could include:
Home health workers
Emergency medical services responders
Primary care practitioners
Free-standing emergency department, urgent care, pharmacy, and dialysis center providers not vaccinated by hospitals or health care systems
Public health employees who are at risk of exposure or transmission, such as vaccinators
Mobile unit practitioners
Federally qualified health center providers
High-risk ancillary health care staff members
Funds Available to Bar and Restaurant Liquor Permit Holders
The $38.7 million Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is designed to assist Ohio’s on-premise liquor permit holders, but nearly 40 percent those eligible for the program have not applied so far.
As of December 17, 2020, about 9,400 Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund applications have been submitted of the 15,488 permits eligible.
Applications will be accepted through December 30, 2020, and funds cannot be distributed after December 31. The program will help licensees significantly impacted by COVID-19 and limited in the full use of their liquor permit. This applies to roughly 30 permit types, including bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries, casinos, and private clubs.
These permit holders need to have had an active on-premise permit as of close-of-business October 23, 2020. The business does not have to be currently open but must have an active liquor license. After applying, a licensee will receive $2,500 per unique business location.
Visit BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov for more information and to access the online application. Licensees must present their FEIN or SSN, liquor permit number, and address for each unique location at time of application.
Most Ohio Counties at Red Level
New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Richland County. Medina, Portage, Stark, and Summit counties all moved from Purple Level 4 to Red Level 3 this week. Governor DeWine cautioned that a decrease from Level 4 to Level 3 does not indicate that the situation in these counties is improving, but rather that health care indicators, such as hospitalizations, are plateauing at a very critical level.
"Red and purple are not all that different," Governor DeWine said. "They both mean that a county has a very high level of cases and a very high level of COVID activity in the health care system. Purple simply indicates counties where things are worsening noticeably, but red counties are also at very worrisome and unsustainable levels."
Governor DeWine unveiled a new public service announcement featuring four of Ohio's frontline nurses. The nurses describe what it’s like taking care of COVID patients in Ohio's hospitals.
The featured nurses are Erin Russo of Memorial Hospital in Marysville, Dara Pence of OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Jasmine Shavers of Miami Valley Hospital, and Lisa Burich of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.
List of States Under Travel Advisory Updated
Those entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Positivity rate is an indicator of how much COVID-19 there is in a community, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is recommending against travel to those states with high positivity. If someone must travel, ODH is recommending 14 days of self-quarantine after leaving those locations. This advisory is intended for both leisure and business travel and should be heeded by both Ohioans and out-of-state travelers. It is intended as guidance and is not a mandate; consider the information here along with other factors (mode of transportation, lodging, activities, ability to social distance when traveling, personal health factors, etc.) when making travel decisions for yourself and your family.
The positivity rates come from state-level aggregate data from The COVID Tracking Project (covidtracking.com/data), which is also the source that Johns Hopkins University uses for testing data on their dashboard at coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/individual-states. Positivity information for Ohio’s travel advisory is updated once a week on Wednesdays, using data from that Tuesday. Positivity rates may have changed since our most recent update.
South Dakota 43.0%
Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wyoming have all experienced recent reporting irregularities with the total numbers of tests performed, and we are not able to calculate accurate positivity rates.
For more information on the COVID-19 travel advisory and for tips on how to quarantine effectively, click here.
Export Interns Help Businesses Increase Sales
The State of Ohio wants to help businesses grow, and a program offered by the Ohio Development Services Agency can provide the boost needed to improve international marketing or logistics.
The Ohio Export Internship Program places students who have completed export-focused coursework with businesses seeking to boost exports. College students from across the state can apply to take the export course at The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business, the Cleveland State University Monte Ahuja College of Business, the Youngstown State University Williamson College of Business Administration, or the University of Dayton School of Business Administration.
Participating businesses receive a 50 percent reimbursement for intern wages, up to $3,600. Companies can apply now for summer 2021 interns. Students will be matched with companies in April 2021, and the internships run from May to August 2021.
For up-to-date information on sector-specific operating requirements, continued closures, and other business resources, click here.
Celebrate Safe. Celebrate Small.
The Ohio Department of Health has produced a guide to help families celebrate safely during the 2020-2021 holiday season. The guide provides alternatives to large in-person celebrations for a variety of holidays, including Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Orthodox New Year, and others.
"This year’s holidays will look different as we make adjustments to keep our loved ones and ourselves healthy, so we can celebrate together in the future," Governor DeWine said. "Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, please keep the celebration small, and wear a mask and stay socially distanced if you absolutely must celebrate with individuals outside of your household."
To download the holiday gathering guide, click here.
SBA Simplifies Process for PPP Loan Forgiveness
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, has released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness applications more swiftly.
SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2, 2020. SBA will continue to process all PPP forgiveness applications in an expeditious manner.
The SBA also is continuing to accept applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans for losses related to the pandemic. For additional information, visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.
Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) across the state are available to help businesses with their loan forgiveness and disaster loan applications. To find a local SBDC, click here.
Ohio Manufacturing Alliance Helps Businesses Find PPE
The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 created the Ohio Emergency PPE Makers’ Exchange as an online marketplace where organizations that need personal protective equipment (PPE) and related equipment can find a wide selection offered by Ohio manufacturers. This online service is especially well-suited for organizations that may have lower-volume needs.
For more information and to participate in the Exchange, click here.
The Alliance is a public-private partnership led by The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership and its partner organization MAGNET, the Ohio Hospital Association, and JobsOhio, in partnership with the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and the Ohio Department of Health.
A list of Ohio Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) certified companies selling PPE and related products and services is available here (PDF).
In addition to the resources available via the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance Makers’ Exchange, another list of vendors providing various PPE is available here (PDF).
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We’re Here to Help Businesses Get Assistance
The Ohio Development Services Agency has many resources to help business owners make it through the current crisis and prepare for a strong future. Here are some of the resources, and most of them are offered at no cost to businesses.
We’re Pushing News and Information on Social Media
Development also is using its social media channels to raise awareness of programs and assistance available through the state and federal governments. We also are urging small businesses to reach out to Ohio Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Assistance Centers around the state for help in applying for federal assistance and to plan for the future.