With the widespread spread of the corona virus in Ohio prisons, Governor Mike DeWine said Monday the state must do everything it can to protect the public, prisoners and prison staff.
He outlined new steps to accelerate the release of a small number of prisoners whose release date was approaching or whose health conditions created an acute danger when the deadly virus circulated.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio increased to 4,782 and the number of deaths increased to 167, the state health department said. Case load is a 7% increase from Monday’s total.
Of these cases, 1,354 people were hospitalized and 371 patients were treated in intensive care units.
The number of announced countries, which do not always directly match the number reported locally, shows 199 cases with 12 deaths in Summit County (the county health department then updated the number of cases to 200), 110 cases with seven deaths in Stark County, 88 cases with three deaths in Medina County, 101 cases with seven deaths in Portage County; 29 cases in Wayne County and three cases in Ashland County. Confirmed cases have been documented in 81 of 88 states of Ohio.
A map released by the state health department shows a large swath of Portage County and several adjacent areas in the Stark and Summit districts are part of a growing “strong” group,
Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said officials worked tirelessly behind the scenes to fight COVID-19.
Acton said Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted has spearheaded a search for blood tests that can identify Ohio people who have antibodies and may already have and recover from the virus. Such testing is what will help Ohio get out of the COVID-19 outbreak, Acton said.
Acton spoke briefly Tuesday about the forecast model for the virus in Ohio. He said that “none of them were perfect alone” and that they did not predict the outcome but the actions of Ohio did.
That’s why social distance is so important, Acton said. That is evidenced by the fact that the actions taken have enabled hospitals to stay far below capacity, said Acton.
He told Ohio citizens that they “won the war” against COVID-19.
“What we now know here in Ohio and throughout the world is [distancing] really works, “Acton said.
While social distance in public has gone a long way to slowing the spread of the corona virus, it is challenging to keep people away from each other in some of the closer residences, DeWine acknowledged.
The Western Reserve Masonic Community, for example, the senior community living in Medina, said Tuesday that four of its residents had tested positive for COVID-19.
DeWine called the response in nursing homes and other long-term care and the elderly community in Ohio “work in progress.” He said officials need to ensure that nursing homes know who to contact if problems arise.
DeWine said jail also presents challenges.
“We must do everything we can to protect prison staff,” DeWine said. “Most of them cannot work from home. We need them. We really appreciate them.”
Around 141 inmates from minimal security facilities can be released with the steps described by DeWine.
Detainees are eligible for release under the Ohio Density Emergency law and have a release date on or before July 13, DeWine said during his daily press conference about the virus. The Governor encouraged the Penitentiary Inspection Committee to pay serious attention to the 141 detainees.
Another 26 detainees over the age of 60 who have at least one chronic health problem can also be released, the governor said. The prisoners under consideration have served at least half of their sentences.
DeWine said he did not have the ability to change sentences at once but asked judges and prosecutors related to cases to release 60 days ‘notice which is usually given to victims’ families.
Then, the case can be brought directly to the parole board. The parole board is ready to begin Friday’s meeting to resolve the issue, DeWine said.
DeWine said the detainees being considered for release were not habit-breakers, not yet convicted of murder, domestic violence, sexual violations, terrorism and more.
DeWine said the detainees who would be considered for release because of the virus included those who served time for nonviolent violations and those who might approach their release date.
Measures to free some prisoners took place amid an outbreak in two state prisons.
At least five inmates at Marion Penitentiary and five at Pickaway Penitentiary were tested positive for the virus. A total of 27 staff members, mostly in Marion, were also stated positive.
DeWine praised the state’s correction department, saying director Annette Chambers-Smith had done “an excellent job” in keeping the virus out although it was unavoidable that COVID-19 would make its way inside the facility.
Among the “screams” delivered by DeWine on Tuesday, he exhibited the ties of Kent State University and saluted the school and its alumni. The governor has taken the time at the start of his press conference to highlight Ohio colleges and universities in recent days.
Max Filby from Columbus Dispatch and Emily Mills from the Akron Beacon Journal contributed to this report.
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]