Public Health, Dayton city officials give update on COVID-19 response

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Public Health and Dayton city officials held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to offer an update on COVID-19 response in the area.

Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper was joined by Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge, Mayor Nan Whaley, Vice President of Community Impact for United Way of Greater Dayton Tracy Sibbing, and Sarah Hackenbracht, the President and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

Cooper said Tuesday that he would no longer disclose the number of confirmed cases in the area, as this information is a “gross under-representation” of the urgency at which these cases are spreading and developing. Dr. Amy Acton with the Ohio Department of Health has said that these daily case updates are but a snapshot in time, and do not provide an accurate representation of all the cases that are likely going untested or unconfirmed.

That being said, the Ohio Department of Health dashboard shows that as of Wednesday afternoon, there are 41 confirmed cases in Montgomery County, with nine hospitalizations and one death reported.

Public Health workers are now looking into roughly 360 employers in the area after receiving complaints or questions about their continued operations during the stay at home order. Starting Thursday, the department will send out cease and desist orders to those businesses who are deemed non-essential.

Commissioner Judy Dodge spoke on the county’s emergency operations as the pandemic continues.

She says the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new program to help companies keep their workers employed during this time. Click here for more information on the Paycheck Protection Program.

The county’s Workforce Development team is still working with companies looking to hire. Those interested can call 937-225-5627.

Dodge says the county has agreed to help with funding in three critical service areas: senior citizen services, homeless solutions, and food equity. County resources can be found at this website.

There are roughly 70,000 people in the county on SNAP benefits.

In order to ensure these citizens have access to food, DeWine said they have been working with the USDA to enable a ‘click and collect’ for SNAP recipients. Those receiving SNAP benefits are able to shop online and swipe their EBT card from their car.

April 1 means rent is due for many in the Miami Valley. This could present a challenge for those who are not able to pay rent. Mayor Whaley says you should not move out if your landlord tries to evict you unless law enforcement is present, and offered a template to send to your landlord in order to try and work with them:

Click here for more information about evictions in the Miami Valley.

April 1 is also Census Day. Whaley says taking the time to fill yours out is “vital to the community.”

“Every single person that fills out the census, that equals $1,800 per person per year in our community,” she said. “That allows us to do the services that we’re using right now.”

Tracy Sibbing with United Way of Greater Dayton says their organization remains operational. Those in need can call 211 any time of day to be connected with someone who can help you find what you’re looking for.

Sibbing says United Way is working to bridge gaps between those in need of food and those who may not have access to transportation. While volunteers are certainly welcome, those interested should be confident that they are healthy enough to do so.

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

“As we continue to build out those plans, and we link in with new partners through the Ohio National Guard, we are also now looking at our external capacity in the community and looking at how we can better partner with our Ohio National Guard partners and bring them into the spirit and the way in which we work here in the Dayton area,” said Sarah Hackenbracht of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

She says area hospitals are not only working to acquire extra physical space, but the necessary equipment, supplies, and workers to go along with the anticipated surge in cases.

As of Wednesday, there are 2,547 confirmed cases in the state, 679 leading to hospitalization. A total of 65 deaths have been reported.

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