(The Center Square) – Ohio officials have put in place an order mandating residents to stay at home except for “essential activities” as the state tries to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The “Stay at Home” order closes all nonessential businesses and takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday. It will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 6, unless state officials rescind or modify it.
“Essential services,” such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, hospitals and restaurants that provide takeout meals, will continue to operate under the order. However, officials are asking residents to use public transportation and ride-sharing only for necessary travel.
“We haven’t faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years – we are at war,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement. “In the time of war, we must make sacrifices, and I thank all of our Ohio citizens for what they are doing and what they aren’t doing. You are making a huge difference, and this difference will save lives.”
Ohio has 351 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and three people have died in the state from the virus, officials said on Sunday. Of those, 83 people are hospitalized in the state.
The Ohio National Guard will not be called to enforce the order, according to the governor’s office.
“Right now, we are in a crucial time in this battle,” DeWine added. “What we do now will slow this invader so that our healthcare system will have time to treat those who have contracted COVID-19 and also have time to treat those who have other medical problems. Time is of the essence.”
Meanwhile, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy ruled pharmacists or retailers may not dispense chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – potential treatments for COVID-19 – unless a “prescription bears a written diagnosis code from the prescriber,” or a COVID-19 “diagnosis has been confirmed by a positive test result.”
If prescribed for a COVID-19 diagnosis, prescriptions are limited to a 14-day supply, and refills are barred without a new prescription.
Additionally, starting on Thursday, child care centers must operate under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license, which stipulates a maximum of six children in a class, no more than six children to a teacher and minimal sharing of spaces or mixing of groups. State officials are also urging centers to keep the same teachers and children in a room whenever possible.
The approach will continue until at least April 30, but officials may revise the end date.
The “Stay at Home” order is just the latest action from state leaders in a bid to limit human contact and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
On Saturday, DeWine ordered organizations the provide vocational habilitation services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to stop providing services in settings with 10 or more people. The governor handed down a similar order Friday for senior centers and adult care services.