COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and Lt. Governor Jon Husted held a news conference, Thursday, to provide updated information on the state’s response to the spread of COVID-19. 

As of Thursday, there are 2,902 confirmed cases in the state, 802 leading to hospitalization. A total of 81 deaths have been reported. 

The latest models project a mid-to-late-April peak for coronavirus cases in Ohio.

During Thursday’s news conference, DeWine took a moment to thank Ohioans for making the sacrifices during the spread of the coronavirus. He said he knows how hard it is for people to stay home and not see loved ones. 

“We don’t know when we’re going to hit the peak,” said DeWine. ”But what you are doing is saving lives.” 

One big announcement from DeWine was that he would be extending Ohio’s Stay at Home order until at least May 1.

“Everything about this lags about a couple weeks behind, and you have to make moves early,” said Dr. Acton prior to signing the order during Thursday’s news conference. “This order I’m signing is to think about you and all the sacrifices you’re making.”

Acton said that people should expect a slow return to normal life when numbers begin dropping. She said there are five areas where there needs to be a stabilization before they begin lifting orders: 

  • Testing
  • Modeling, to get numbers for more accuracy 
  • Hospitals stabilized 
  • Robust contact tracing 
  • Lower numbers that are stabilized  

Governor DeWine also announced Thursday the formation of an economic advisory group for Ohio.

“Just as we have looked to [medical] experts to help us through this crisis, we’re also looking to [economy] experts as we move forward,” DeWine said. “As we come out of this, we will focus on our economic recovery.”

Lt. Governor Husted touched on the unemployement numbers that were announced for Ohio, Thursday.

According to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, there were 272,117 jobless claims in the state during the last week.  

For the last two weeks, the claims stand at 468,414 in the state. Which, according to ODJFS is a record. 

To put that in perspective, 364,603 initial jobless claims were filed during the entire year in Ohio in 2019. 

DeWine also encouraged employers to allow employees to wear masks during their shifts in order to stay safe, and keep the public safe.

During Wednesday’s updated, DeWine showed a new division of dividing hospital capacity in the state. Normally, hospitals coordinate their efforts in eight regions. The state is now grouping those regions into three zones.

DeWine also announced the start of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19. The alliance is a group of organization that are coming together to manufacture materials needed to fight the virus in the state.

Anyone who believes they can help the effort should visit

Dr. Amy Acton signed an order Wednesday requiring hospitals to send their tests to other hospitals to process instead of private labs. DeWine called the turnaround time from private labs unacceptable.

The order will also allow the state to use rapid testing. Although those tests are not here yet, the Governor said he believes they will be in the next week. These tests will help speed up the process but Ohio will still have a limited number of tests.