Ohio child care providers soon to return to full capacity

Attorney General Mike DeWine. Photo by Jim Otte
Attorney General Mike DeWine. Photo by Jim Otte

Ohio child care providers will soon be able to return to the class sizes they had before the pandemic or get a subsidy if they keep their lower ratio, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday.

Child care providers have been grappling with how to keep their business viable while keeping kid-to-staff ratios low in an effort to slow the coronavirus spread. Many working parents — both at home or returned to the workplace — have also reported a struggle with the already limited child care options suddenly turned more scarce during COVID-19.

ExploreCoronavirus: Daycare centers to open under strict guidelines

When the changes go into effect Aug. 9, DeWine said child care providers providers will still be required to comply with state health guidelines, including face coverings for all staff, temperature and symptoms checks and frequent hand washing. DeWine said that he will continue to monitor data and reports of coronavirus in daycare facilities to keep children, staff and their families safe.

“Without access to child care, parents may resort to less-than-ideal options because they have no choice for their child care. That might include relying on elderly grandmother or grandfather, who normally everything would be fine, but today they are at much greater risk for COVID,” DeWine said.

DeWine also announced an order limiting all fairs starting on or after July 31 to junior fairs. There will be no grandstand events, rides or games. The fairs will be limited to 4-H and FFA competitions.

DeWine said the state has to set priorities and what happens in the summer will determine how kids go back to school and whether Ohio jobs and economy can grow.

“What we do at our county fairs and what we do all summer ... is really going to determine what happens as we move forward, is going to determine what our fall is like,” he said.

DeWine said that more information about bars will be announced on Thursday.

The governor cited outbreaks connected to other fairs as the reason behind the order, saying that the state is working on keeping crowds down while allowing 4-H and FFA members to still show their projects.

ExplorePrevious coverage: Special childcare centers will keep parents in essential jobs working

Ohio is starting to see a decrease in coronavirus-related emergency visits, DeWine said. He called the announcement “good news” as ER visits can be an early indicator of how well a state is fighting the virus.

New cases appears to have plateaued but are still at around 9,100 new cases per week.

“We believe we have started to see a plateau in some of these numbers,” DeWine said.

More than 1,300 new cases and 38 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours before the Tuesday press conference.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,144 COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized in Ohio, with 363 of those patients in the ICU and 176 on a ventilator. Two weeks ago, there were 1,024 patients COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized, 316 of those patients in the ICU and 146 on a ventilator.

Since the start of the pandemic, the median age of Ohio patients who have been hospitalized is 64. Out of those who have been hospitalized, 55% were listed as white patients, 32% black, 4% other, 3% multi-racial, 3% unknown, and 2% Asian.