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Coronavirus: Gov. Mike DeWine closes BMV offices, salons, spas; National Guard may help hospitals - News - The Columbus Dispatch


A 2-year-old has been diagnosed with the coronavirus in central Ohio. Ohio State also reported its first cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced he will close salons, spas, tattoo parlors and nearly all Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices in response to the coronavirus.

Salons, spas and tattoo parlors will close at the end of business Wednesday. DeWine is also asking businesses to check the temperatures of people who still have to report to their workplace.

DeWine will also shutter 180 offices Ohio BMV offices at the close of business today. Five offices will remain open and some services will remain available online, the governor said.

“The virus is here,” DeWine said. “It lives among us and we must be at war with it.”

>> This story is being provided free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find more stories on coronavirus here. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Columbus Dispatch at subscribe.dispatch.com.

DeWine tried to dispel rumors he’d heard about the Ohio National Guard being activated and said its members. Ohioans could see members of the Ohio National Guard helping to erect tents at medical facilities across the state, he said.

Ohio’s capacity to test people for the coronavirus is limited and it will likely stay that way, DeWine said Wednesday.

DeWine asked Ohioans “not to fixate on testing.” He said that Ohio needs to reserve the limited number of tests the state has for the sickest. But, people who think they have the virus should monitor their health and stay home and isolate themselves, DeWine said.

“The vast majority of Ohioans who have symptoms do not need to get tested for this,” DeWine said. “If you’re feeling symptoms of what you think might be this virus, you should act like you have it.”

There are 88 Ohioans who have tested positive for the virus so far.

Ohio’s confirmed cases are scattered in 19 of the state’s 88 counties. There are 26 people who have been hospitalized so far, according to the state.

The age range of cases span from 2 years of age to 91 years of age, said Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health. There are 33 females and 55 males who have tested positive for COVID-19, Acton said.

“They’re just the tip of the iceberg of what’s actually happening in Ohio,” Acton said of the numbers.

DeWine’s comments on testing come the same day as a Franklin County 2-year-old tested positive for COVID-19. There are 88 Ohioans who have tested positive for the virus so far.

DeWine called on Ohioans to simply stay home. In an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the governor has already closed schools, gyms, bars and restaurants, movie theaters and more.

“This enemy is dangerous,” DeWine said. “It is relentless and it is using us, it is using us as its host and it is using us to survive to multiply and to go from person to person. But, we do have it in our ability to fight back.”

A Franklin County Public Health spokeswoman confirmed that a 2-year-old has tested positive for the virus. Further details on the 2-year-old’s status were not provided.

Ohio State University reported its first two cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The cases are the first within the Ohio State community, President Michael V. Drake said in a universitywide letter Wednesday.

>> This story is being provided free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find all our stories on coronavirus here. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Columbus Dispatch at subscribe.dispatch.com.

The two cases are unrelated to one another. Both individuals returned to central Ohio following separate out-of-state business trips — one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, Drake said.

The individuals are currently in self-isolation at home. One has not returned to campus since he or she started showing symptoms, and the other returned to campus for part of one business day, but “had no contact with students or patients, and had limited contact with others,” Drake said.

Anyone who may have been exposed to either person has already been contacted and is taking steps to self-quarantine for 14 days, Drake said.

“Ohio State is committed to doing all that we can to support these individuals and our broader community through what is undoubtedly a difficult time,” he said, noting the university continues to coordinate with city, state and federal officials.

The State Medical Board of Ohio on Wednesday approved several measures to deal with an expected surge of patients because of the disease.

The board passed three motions including one suspending continuing education requirements for physicians, one suspending in-person requirements for telemedicine and another to work with the state EMA board to re-license retired doctors and physicians assistants as well as making out of state doctors’ licenses viable in Ohio.

Dispatch reporters Jennifer Smola and Sheridan Hendrix contributed to this story.

mfilby@dispatch.com

@MaxFilby

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