Schedule set for voting lawsuit; patients include 2-year-old
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court set a speedy schedule to hear an elections lawsuit filed by the state’s Democratic Party, while the state said it has received nearly 78,000 unemployment applications in just three days. A look at coronavirus-related developments in Ohio on Wednesday:
The state has nearly 90 confirmed cases of the virus, including 33 women and 55 men, with 26 hospitalizations and no reported deaths. Those include a 2-year-old boy in central Ohio and two Ohio State University employees. The oldest patient is 91. Dr. Amy Acton, the state health director, said the state is now limiting testing to those who are hospitalized and to healthcare workers.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
The Ohio Supreme Court wants all arguments and counterarguments filed by March 27 in a lawsuit filed by the state’s Democratic Party challenging the decision by Secretary of State Frank LaRose to move the primary to June 2. No time extensions will be granted. The Bernie Sanders campaign has not taken a position on Ohio Democrats’ push for all-mail voting, said state Rep. Mike Skindell, a state co-chair. Attorney General Dave Yost told Ohio’s 88 elections boards to contact LaRose’s office immediately if they are sued locally over the postponement, since a goal should be a single resolution by the state Supreme Court.
Gov. Mike DeWine added barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors and spas to the list of businesses he ordered to shut down. The state is also closing 181 driver’s license bureaus while keeping five open to issue commercial licenses to truckers. DeWine ordered the state highway patrol to stop ticketing drivers for expired licenses and asked other law enforcement agencies to do the same.
DeWine asked all employers to immediately begin taking employees’ temperature each day, and asked they take a “liberal” approach to allowing people to work from home whenever possible. Amazon announced it would hire 4,600 in Ohio, even as Honda, which has 15,000 Ohio employees and is the state’s largest manufacturer, said it will suspend all North American production beginning next week. The city of Akron furloughed 1,800 workers deemed “nonessential,” giving them the option to take personal leave or file for unemployment.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it had received 77,817 unemployment insurance benefit applications online in the past three days, compared to 2,900 during the same three days last week. DeWine asked the U.S. Small Business Administration to allow businesses and nonprofits to apply for low-interest loans of up to $2 million that are being made available because of the coronavirus’ impact on the economy.
DeWine said “it’s obvious” schools will remain closed longer than the three-week period that began Monday. He said if closures go through the school year, testing could be waived and all efforts would be made to allow eligible students to graduate.
Yost issued a legal opinion saying judges can suspend jury trials over coronavirus concerns.
“She’s really feeling isolated now that the kids can’t come to see her.”
—Fran DeWine, wife of Gov. Mike DeWine, talking about the isolation her 93-year-old mother is feeling, as she urged people to use technology to connect with older people.
The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, John Seewer in Toledo and Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributed to this report.