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Business group asks employees to model anti-virus measures

December 1, 2020 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A leading Ohio business group on Tuesday asked employees to model best practices for reducing the spread of the coronavirus as it warned of the impact the current spike in cases could have on the economy.

The Ohio Business Roundtable, a nonprofit organization of big economy chief executive officers, wants workers to encourage mask wearing at any gathering outside immediate family, avoid large gatherings such as game day celebrations, and reconsider indoor holiday parties.

“This is not a choice between our health and a strong economy; the two are strongly connected,” said Pat Tiberi, the roundtable’s president and CEO and a former longtime Republican congressman. The group dubbed the effort the Coalition to Stop the Spread.

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The announcement came as Ohio’s economy continues to show signs of weakness. Last week, the state said 30,177 Ohioans filed initial claims for unemployment compensation, a 21% jump from the week before. The state also said 263,737 people filed claims for continued unemployment, a 4% increase from the previous week and a figure considered a better indicator of economic strength.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 7,199 new cases per day on Nov. 16 to 8,251 new cases per day on Nov. 30, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.

More than 5,200 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus on Tuesday, another record.