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Here are the latest updates, changes and cancellations related to the COVID-19 outbreak in Ohio and the USA. This list will be updated on a DAILY basis. Please keep checking back on a regular basis.

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Support for Small Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

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Sports Announcements

From the Knox County Emergency Operations Center

 

​The guidance for all reopening businesses and activities can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov under the Responsible Restart tab.

The Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory can be found HERE.

ALL text in RED was updated Tuesday, 8/25/20

For more information, go to https://www.knoxhealth.com/
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

 

8/25/2020:

In Knox County, we have 234 confirmed cases. There are 26 active cases and 194 recovered cases. 59 people are currently being monitored and seven people are currently hospitalized. There have been fourteen deaths. For more information from Knox Public Health, click HERE.

Ohio now has 110,343 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6152 probable cases for a total of 116,495 cases in all 88 counties, with 12,956 hospitalizations and 2903 ICU admissions. There have been 3716 confirmed deaths and 280 probable deaths for a total of 3996 deaths.

DeWine provided an update on the County Risk Level Alert. The governor had unveiled the Alert system in his June 2 press conference. Each county is observed for seven data indicators that identify the risk level:

  1. New cases per capita.

  2. Sustained increase in new cases.

  3. Proportion of cases that are not congregate cases.

  4. Sustained increase in emergency room visits.

  5. Sustained increase in outpatient visits.

  6. Sustained increase in new COVID-19 hospital admissions (based on county of residence).

  7. ICU bed occupancy.

 

A county's total number of indicators determine its Alert Level. Alert Levels will be updated on Wednesdays and announced on Thursdays during the press conference. The Alert Levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 (Yellow): Zero to one indicators present. There is active exposure and spread. Residents are expected to follow all current health orders, including social distancing, masks, and limited group sizes. 29 Counties, including Knox, Ashland, Coshocton, and Richland, are at level 1.

  • Level 2 (Orange): Two to Three indicators are present. There is increased exposure and spread. Residents should exercise a high degree of caution. This means following the same guidelines for level 1 counties and also avoiding contact with high risk persons, decreasing in-person interactions, and limiting unnecessary trips to visit those in medical or residential care. 50 counties, including Morrow, Licking, Holmes and Delaware, are now at level 2.

  • Level 3 (Red): Four to five indicators present. There is very high exposure and spread. Residents are asked to comply with the guidelines for both level 1 and level two counties. In addition, they should limit activities and consider online options. They should also consider necessary travel only and limit attending group gatherings of any kind. There are now 9 counties at Level 3

  • Level 4 (Purple): Six to seven indicators are present for two consecutive weeks. There is severe exposure and spread. In addition to following the guidance for level 1, 2, and 3 counties, residents should only leave home for supplies and services. 

Counties that are on their first week of six to seven indicators are on a watchlist. There are no counties currently on the watchlist.

Governor DeWine also announced that Adult Day Cares and Senior Centers will be allowed to reopen on September 21 in a reduced capacity. The delay in opening will give the centers time to prepare based off of the order's guidelines. The requirements for a center to reopen include:

  • Open with a limited capacity based on social distancing.

  • Limit entry to the facility to those who are necessary to the safe operation of the program.

  • Screen all participants and staff and keep a daily log.

  • Conduct baseline testing of all staff and participants.

  • Require all staff and participants to wear face coverings with limited exceptions

  • Use cohorting of participants when possible and alter scheduling to reduce contact.

  • Implement CDC Guidance for cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.

All the details of the order are online at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

The governor also revealed a statewide testing initiative for Ohio's assisted living facilities is underway. The Ohio Departments of Health and Aging have secured a testing provider who is able to offer baseline saliva testing to all assisted staff and residents at no cost to the facility. Tests are minimally invasive and provide results within 48 hours of being received by a lab. DeWine will be issuing an order requiring all assisted living facilities to participate in COVID-19 testing for staff and residents. Details are online at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted informed Ohioans that they are now able to receive temporary vehicle tags for private sales online at oplates.com.
 

The new sports health order has been signed by Ohio Director of Health Interim Director Lance Himes. The full order can be read HERE.

Governor Mike Dewine's Tuesday press conference featured an anticipated update on sports. The governor announced a new order regarding sports, one that includes not just high school athletics but any organized sport at any level. The new order will allow all sports to go forward at present, provided they follow the guidance. According to Lt. Governor Jon Husted, OHSAA site inspectors will be present at contests to ensure all rules are followed. Failure to comply can result in forfeit of contests and disqualification from competing. 

The order states that no spectators will be present for school sports except for family members or someone "very close" to the student-athletes. Schools will determine what the attendance rules look like, including rules for those in attendance to see members of cheerleading squads or marching bands. No other details of the order were announced, but it will be released online soon. 

DeWine hopes that the desire for a season will inspire the state's young people to be as careful as possible.

The latest numbers show an increased spread in rural areas rather than urban. Overall positivity in the state is on a decline. 

DeWine also highlighted the start of school districts throughout the state. 340 school districts will return to a full 5 day in seat model. 172 schools are going with a hybrid system, mixing virtual with in-seat learning. 61 districts will be fully remote. 39 districts have not provided their plans. All 3 scenarios appear in the 12 red level counties in the state

Governor DeWine reminded Ohioans that whatever is in your community will be reflected in your schools. He gave a plea to families and citizens, saying that if we want our kids to go to school and be in activities then we are all responsible to minimize spread in the community. This means wearing masks, social distancing, and not going to large gatherings.

The governor invited doctors from three of Ohio's Children's Hospitals to provide information and regarding how COVID-19 relates to children and schools. 

Dr. John Barnard, Chief of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital, shared data showing that children can get COVID-19 and at frequent rates. Tests conducted by Ohio's six Children's Hospitals have had an 8.6% positivity rate for the virus among children displaying symptoms. The positivity rate is 1.4% among asymptomatic children, but that number is increasing. Teenagers test positive more frequently than younger children because they are more active and minority children have a higher positivity rate. 

Dr. Patty Manning, Chief of Staff at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, provided four important strategies that schools need to follow in order to ensure health and safety of both students and staff. The strategies, in order of descending importance, are masking, distancing, hand hygiene, and cleaning surfaces. Dr. Manning also reported that ventilation is also important. She advised parents to let children know it is okay to be uncertain and that prepare them for returning to school. This means giving warning or what they can expect, rehearsing such behaviors as hand washing and mask wearing, and preparing them for the restart of schedules and structures.

Dr. Adam Mezoff, Chief Medical Officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital, explained protocol that schools should follow if there is any exposure or symptoms. The protocol provides general guidance to determine when a student is clear to return to class, when they should go home, and when those they have come into contact with should be tested. Dr. Mezoff also instructed all students and school staff that if they are sick then they need to stay home, even if it is not COVID.

Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine have tested negative for COVID-19 once again in their second PCR test. 

In a test administered August 6 in Columbus, Governor Mike DeWine has tested negative for COVID-19. First Lady Fran DeWine and staff members have also all tested negative for COVID-19. The test used was a PCR test. This test is known to be extremely sensitive, as well as specific, for the virus.  The PCR tests for the Governor, First Lady, and staff were run two times.  They came back negative the first time and came back negative when they were run on a second diagnostic platform. The governor's office reports that they feel confident in the results of these tests. The test administered to the Governor in Cleveland, as part of the protocol required to meet the President, was an antigen test.  These tests represent an exciting new technology to reduce the cost and improve the turnaround time for COVID-19 testing, but they are quite new, and we do not have much experience with them here in Ohio.  The state will be working with the manufacturer to have a better understanding of how the discrepancy between these two tests could have occurred.

Lt Governor Jon Husted provided an update on a previously announced $50 million grant program for schools. Funds from the grant will be provided to schools needing to purchase internet related equipment for low-income students. Husted announced that they have removed the matching requirement from the grant and that applications will be open for school districts beginning on Monday, August 10.

In the August 4 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine added a new mandate for schools planning to reopen with in-seat classes. The state previously gave broad guidance to schools with the only mandatory order being that masks or face coverings would be required for all employees. The state is now adding an addition based off of guidance from the Ohio Children's Hospital Association and the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Based off the joint recommendation of these organizations, masks will be required for all K-12 students returning to school in the fall. The exceptions, as listed by OCHA and AAP are:

  • Children under the age of 2

  • Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance

  • A child with significant behavioral or psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated by the use of a facial covering (e.g. severe anxiety)

  • A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may be anxious wearing a mask

  • a child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction

Asthma, allergies, and sinus infections are not qualified exemptions for using a face covering or mask, according to OCHA and AAP.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided an update on sports. He reminded Ohioans that non-contact sports have been cleared to return to competition and contact sports have returned to practice. The state is still working to finalize a plan for returning to play in the fall. This includes pro sports as well, as both the Browns and the Bengals have plans that are being looked at. Both teams are expected to return to play, but they are still figuring out the safe return of fans.

Governor DeWine shared that he is sending a letter to faith-based communities with information on keeping members safe. One case study referenced in the press conference showed an individual spread the virus to 91 others at a church. In addition, Ohioans are reminded to still exercise caution when spending time with family and friends. Just because someone is related to you does not mean you are immune to getting the virus from them, the governor shared.

Ohio is entering into a multi-state purchasing agreement to expand the use of rapid point of care tests. The state is joining Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia to ramp up this type of test in order to help detect outbreaks sooner with faster turnaround times, expand testing in congregate settings, and to make testing more accessible for the most at-risk and hard hit communities.

Governor DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton, who had worked at the beginning of the pandemic as the Ohio Director of Health, has decided to step down from her position as Chief Health Advisor. Acton will be leaving state employment and returning to her position at the Columbus Foundation, where she worked before her cabinet appointment.

Governor Mike DeWine revealed in the July 30 press conference that the day's case increase of 1733 has been the highest Ohio has seen at any point in this pandemic.

 

The state has issued recommendations to go alongside the limitation of group gatherings to 10 people. These recommendations come as a response to the number of positive cases that have been spread at family and friend gatherings. The recommendations include:

 

  • Gatherings at households should be limited to family and close friends and should be no more than 10 people.

  • Residents in Red Counties should limit hosting or attending gatherings of any size.

  • Everyone should wear a mask at all times in gatherings and should maintain social distance.
     

Governor DeWine has requested the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to call an emergency meeting to consider enacting a statewide emergency rule related to liquor sales. The rule would be in response to the number of positive cases coming from bars. It would prevent the sale of alcohol at all liquor permitted establishments beginning at 10:00pm each night. Consumption of alcohol placed on tables before 10:00 must be completed by 11:00pm. The meeting will be held Friday morning at 9:00am. If approved by the commission, DeWine will sign an order to go in effect Friday, July 31.

Governor Mike DeWine began his July 28 press conference by announcing that Annette Chambers-Smith, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, has tested positive for COVID-19. Chambers-Smith has not physically been in a prison since June 26. She is currently working from home and contact tracing has begun for the rest of her staff.

 

Governor DeWine addressed Ohio's many fairs next, explaining that the goal had been to hold fairs in spite of COVID. Fairs had previously been asked to discourage congregating, ensure distancing, and require facial coverings for employees. In addition, each fair was provided with $50,000 from the state to aid them in making these changes. However, DeWine explained that it has become increasingly evident that Ohio cannot have regular fairs. The state will be issuing an order that will reduce all fairs to Junior Fairs. This means no grandstands, no rides, no games, and no carnivals. The reduction applies to all fairs beginning July 31 and after. 

The governor also gave an update on childcare. Effective August 9, childcare providers are permitted to return to their normal statutory ratios and class sizes. All childcare providers will have the choice of returning to normal class ratios or maintaining the current reduced ratios and receiving a significant subsidy. 

Regardless of whether or not they choose to adjust their ratios, childcare providers must still comply with health and safety requirements. These include face coverings for all staff and children over 10, symptom and temperature checks for staff and children on arrival, hand washing throughout the day, and frequent cleaning of regularly touched surfaces.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted addressed the challenge of holding virtual school when many children do no have access to reliable internet. In combination with Broadband Ohio and a collaboration with Innovate Ohio, the state has planned 3 steps to help students, schools, and low-income families with this issue. First, the state has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to internet providers in order to make available for schools the best pricing options for internet service and items such as routers and hot-spots. Second, the state is planning a $50 million matching grant for schools needing to purchase internet related equipment for low-income students. This grant is pending Controlling Board approval. Lastly, the state is looking into an E-Permitting system to get more broadband fiber placed to expand Internet access across Ohio.

Here is the latest update from Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller:

  • The Senior Fair has been closed. The Junior Fair is still happening. Harness Racing will still be scheduled as well, as it operates separately from the Senior Fair.

  • Now that Knox County is currently at risk level 2, residents should avoid contact with any high-risk individuals.

  • Testing in Knox County is still currently by appointment. You do not need to be showing symptoms to make an appointment. Call 740-399-8014

  • Tests results take 4-5 days to be analyzed.

  • Recent cases are coming from private gatherings, youth sports, religious events, and events such as weddings and funerals.

  • Antibody tests are not counted in the county's total confirmed positives.

  • You should never receive a letter from any Ohio health department that informs you of testing positive for COVID-19 or any other disease. You will receive a phone call. If you do not answer you will receive a generic voicemail asking you to call the health department.

  • There is an outbreak at a local long-term care facility. An outbreak is defined as 2 or more people infected within an area. Both residents and employees are infected. The facility had implemented safety plans that were approved by the Ohio Department of Health. They are handling the situation well and the infected residents are in isolation.

Governor DeWine revealed in the July 22 press conference that the daily case increase of 1527 is the second highest that Ohio has seen. the highest was Friday, July 17, which saw an increase of 1679 cases.
 

Last week Governor DeWine called on all Ohioans to wear masks in an evening address to the state. While indications show that more people have begun wearing masks, the governor announced an extension of the mask order to now include all counties. Beginning Thursday, July 23, citizens in all 88 counties will be required to wear masks in public. Mandatory public locations where masks are now required are indoor locations that are not a residence, outdoor locations where social distancing is unable to be maintained between people not in your household, and while waiting for, riding, or driving public transportation and ride share services.

Anyone with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing masks will be excused from the requirement. Governor DeWine said that anyone not wearing a mask in public should be assumed to have a medical condition. Other exceptions to the mask requirement are children under 10 years of age, those who are actively exercising or playing sports, officiants or speakers at religious services, anyone actively involved in public service, and anyone actively eating or drinking.

DeWine also addressed data showing that many Ohio cases are being traced to out of state travel. In response, he has issued a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from and Ohio residents going on visits to any state showing positivity rates of 15% or higher. Anyone coming into Ohio from these states is recommended to self-quarantine at a hotel or at home for 14 days. All states with 15% or higher positivity rates will be placed on a warning list that will be updated weekly. States currently on the list are:

  • Alabama

  • Arizona

  • Georgia

  • Florida

  • Idaho

  • Mississippi

  • Nevada

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

  • Puerto Rico

Care should be taken by Ohioans wherever they go regardless of the states they visit. When traveling Ohioans should be careful with what they do.

Governor DeWine spoke on county fairs as well. The goal in allowing county fairs to continue was to provide and outlet for young people and families. The state had previously released orders and protocols for fairs to follow if they are to continue this year. Not all fairs have done so. Future fairs that still plan on being held this summer must follow the rules released by the state and whatever their local health department says. Extra money was distributed earlier in the pandemic to allow for fairs to implement these safety measures and so they will be expected to do so. With the new order, everyone at fairs will need to wear masks. 

Ohio has implemented a color-coded Risk Level Alert System, which Governor DeWine gave an update on. According to the governor, the system was designed to be refined over time. In the next few weeks, the state is moving toward adding indicators related to testing to help determine a county's risk level. In addition, they will later add an indicator related to known contact spreading the virus, when such local data is made available. Lastly, an enhancement is being made to the ICU indicator to address concerns that the ICU capacity could increase for reasons other than COVID.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program. This is a $20 million grant funding program through the development services agency to help manufacturers produce much needed PPE. 68 Ohio manufacturers will receive up to $500,000.

In a July 15 address to the state of Ohio regarding the recent increases and spread in coronavirus cases, Governor Mike DeWine appealed to citizens that everyone needs to take action, or the challenges seen in other states will happen here. The governor assured Ohioans that he will take any action necessary to protect the state, but guidelines from local and state governments are not as important as what all of us do.

Early on, DeWine reminded, Ohioans rallied and made extraordinary sacrifices, saving lives and flattening the curve as a result. These efforts bought Ohio time to prepare, to learn, and to procure necessary equipment. By controlling the virus early on we were able to responsibly reopen, but we must keep the virus in check.

 

Governor DeWine then acknowledged where the state is right now. The virus is spreading. In four months, 3075 Ohioans have died- nearly as many as in the Vietnam War. 1027 are currently hospitalized, 316 are in the ICU, and 146 are currently on ventilators. Many of those who have recovered still suffer from long-term damage. Hospital numbers are nearing the April and May peak. While some attribute the increase in case numbers to more available testing, Ohio has only increased testing by 87% whereas case totals have increased by 200%. 

Sharing numbers from other states, DeWine brought up Florida's increase from 1200 cases per day to over 15,000 cases per day and Arizona's increase from 1200 cases per day to 3400, both within a month. If Ohio does not change course, said DeWine, this will be our future as well.

The only specific request that Governor DeWine asked of the state was that everyone wear masks whenever they go out in public. The consensus is that masks are critical and have the same safety benefits as going on lockdown- if everyone wears them. Yet masks are not enough. DeWine implored Ohioans to accept these short-term inconveniences for long-term freedom.

At the start of the pandemic Ohio set an example for the rest of the country, said DeWine. He believes the state can do so again and that we will be able to unite once again and will rise out of the struggle. The governor concluded with an exhortation from Galatians: "Let us not grow weary of doing good."

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 4 into law. Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Senators Stephanie Kunze and Michael Rulli, makes capital appropriations for school facilities and public works assistance. In addition, the bill exempts PPE purchases by local authorities from competitive bidding requirements, allows local authorities to temporarily use a portion of their unencumbered tax increment financing funds (TIF) to pay for first responders and road maintenance, and requires/clarifies/etc. transportation improvement districts to comply with Prevailing Wage Law.

Governor Mike DeWine had previously given guidance on reopening public and private K-12 schools, and in the July 9 press conference he announced that guidance has been released for Ohio's 167 colleges and universities. The guidance contains both minimum operating standards and recommended best practices and can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov. In addition to following the guidance on practices such as facial coverings, sanitation, and facilities, each campus must identify how t can best implement COVID-19 testing within the institution and must develop policies and procedures tailored their particular campus and community. Testing of individuals who display symptoms should take priority.

DeWine also recommended that each campus either designate University housing space to be set aside or secure a local living space to be left empty so that it may be used for rapidly relocating individuals living in university affiliated housing who become symptomatic.

The state understands that these guidelines will bring on new expenses for colleges and universities. To help address the increasing costs, Dewine is asking the Controlling Board to approve the initial request to allocate $200 million for higher education and $100 million for K-12 schools from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The money from federal CARES Act dollars. In addition to the request to the Controlling Board, $440 million in direct CARES Act funding is available for K-12 schools and $190 million for Higher Education.

In April Governor DeWine had announced a $1 million grant to the Coalition of Homelessness and Housing to support homelessness prevention efforts and to rapidly rehouse individuals and families who were experiencing homelessness. He has now announced an additional $15 million grant to help families stay housed and healthy.

In the July 7 Press Conference, Governor Mike DeWine gave an update on the County Risk Level Alerts that had been announced previously. Seven data points determine what risk level a county is at, with Level 1 (Yellow) being the lowest, and Level 4 (Purple) being the highest risk. While Ohio does not yet have any counties at level 4, there are seven counties at Level 3 (Red). These counties are Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery, Franklin, Huron, Cuyahoga, and Trumbull.
 

Governor DeWine shared that he has spoken to Health Commissioners in all seven of the Level 3 counties and he asked them why the state is seeing these spreads. The response is that COVID-19 is spreading primarily through large family gatherings, as shown by numerous cases having shared last names. The virus is also spreading in workplaces, tourist destinations, and churches.

Following these talks with the Health Commissioners and after looking at the data, DeWine has announced that the Ohio Department of Health is issuing an order that will go into effect Wednesday, July 8 at 6:00pm. Persons in all counties at risk level 3 will be required to wear masks in indoor public places. The specific places where masks will be mandatory are:

  • In any indoor location that is not a private residence

  • When individuals are outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household. 

  • While waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, taxis, private car services, or ride-sharing vehicles.

This requirement for the seven level 3 counties will be in effect until they are no longer level 3 or 4. It does not apply to children under the age of 10 or any individual who qualified for the exemptions listed in the mask requirements for workers- including when a physician advises against wearing a mask, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulations, or if they are communicating with the hearing impaired. This new order does not supersede any school order. Schools should follow the recently released guidelines.

Counties not at level 3 are still highly encouraged to regularly wear masks. Knox County is currently at level 1.

Governor DeWine also addressed the recent data trends of COVID-19 cases. The most recent data shows that the most recent cases have been primarily younger individuals. The 0-19 age group makes up 13.2% of cases in June and July, up from 2% in March. The 20-29 age group currently makes up the largest number of cases of any age group at 26.4% of all cases.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that a Health Director's Order issued on July 3 is allowing for contact and non-contact competition for all sports to resume on a short term basis. The current date listed by the order is July 15. There are restrictions to this order. Tournaments, games, and scrimmages for contact sports are only allowed if the teams agree to the list of guidelines in the order. These requirements include:

  • Testing of all players, coached, athletic trainers, sports staff, and officials before travel to the competition and during tenure. 

  • Daily symptom assessment

  • Trainers wearing masks while attending to players (coaches and officials are strongly recommended to wear masks as well)

  • Strict social distancing by players not actively engaged in the competition

  • Immediate isolation and medical care for a participant who develops symptoms.

All restrictions are required and are listed online at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor Mike DeWine's July 2 press conference was full of new updates and guidance. The governor began by announcing guidance for reopening schools. The state has developed guidelines that each school should follow when developing their reopening plans. This approach allows schools to adjust their rules for what works best for them to create a safe environment that will protect students and staff. Details and the full guidance document will be online at coronavirus.ohio.gov, but the main points are as follows:

  • Vigilantly Assess for Symptoms: Daily health checks of temperatures and symptoms should happen. Anyone with a temperature above 100 degrees or showing symptoms must stay home. Schools can scale up this guidance by taking temperatures of students and staff as they enter the building. Administrators must send any student or staff member home who develops symptoms or a temperature, and they must refer them to an appropriate healthcare provider or testing site. They must contact their local health department if there is a case of COVID-19 in their school and work with the health department to implement a testing strategy.

  • Wash and Sanitize Hands to prevent spread: Schools must provide ample opportunity for students and staff to wash their hands. They must also provide hand sanitizer in high traffic areas, such as building entrances and classrooms, and require its use.

  • Clean and Sanitize the School Environment

  • Practice Social Distancing: Schools should strive to maintain six feet social distances between students, staff, and volunteers as much as possible in all school environments- including classrooms, restrooms, playgrounds, and buses. It is up to each school to determine how to best implement these guidelines. Ideas include staggered class times, adjusted schedules, and lunch in classrooms.

  • Face Covering Policy: Every school must develop a face covering policy. Staff are required to wear face coverings unless it is unsafe or when doing so interferes with the learning process. Face shields may be considered when masks are impractical. It is the State's strong recommendation that children 3rd Grade and up wear face masks. The school should reduce any kind of social stigma for students who, for medical or developmental reasons, cannot or should not wear a mask.

DeWine is working with the General Assembly to create a plan for financially assisting schools with implementing this guidance.

Dr. Chris Peltier, President Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, was present at the press conference via video call to reassure parents who are worried about their children returning to school. According to Dr. Peltier, there is more harm to not being physically in school than there is to attend. Children do not get COVID-19 as frequently as adults and generally do not get as ill. The American Academy of Pediatrics and all children's hospitals in Ohio endorse the guidelines. There is still a risk, but kids in school learn social skills, get exercise, and have access to mental health support. Social isolation can have serious mental health effects. Kids are also missing out on teachers and other school staff recognizing physical and sexual abuse and substance abuse. Parents are asked to stay current on wellness visits and vaccinations and should work with their kids on hand-washing and masks to prepare them for the school year.

In the June 29 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine reported that from June 21 to June 27 the state saw its first week of increasing COVID-19 hospital utilization in two months. The number of standard hospital beds used for COVID-19 patients peaked at around 1,000 in late April and reached a low point of 513 on June 20.  The number is now at around 650. No region in the state has reached a concern threshold of 80% yet, but the governor reminded that this could changed as New York City, Houston, and other cities have shown.

Governor DeWine also addressed the increased case numbers, particularly in Hamilton and Montgomery counties. While some of this increase is due to the larger number of tests conducted, the overall percentage of positivity has not gone down- something that DeWine said would have happened when testing was expanded beyond only those with symptoms to the entire population. Instead, the percent of positivity has increased slightly, staying around 4 to 6 percent.

According to DeWine, all existing Health Orders set to expire on June 30 will be extended through the end of the week. A new plan as the state enters the next stage of reopening is set to be announced on Thursday.

Beginning on July 20 nursing homes will be permitted to begin outdoor visitation, provided that all safety standards are met. When assessing their readiness to permit outdoor visits, nursing homes should consider the number of COVID cases in their community, the case status in the home itself, staffing levels, access to adequate testing for residents and staff, PPE supplies, and local hospital capacity.

Ohioans are reminded that more pop-up testing sites are being added regularly. For a full list of testing sites and locations, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor Mike DeWine reported in the June 25 press conference that the day's case numbers showed an increase of 892 from Wednesday. This is Ohio's 4th highest day of cases. The three highest days were April 18 to 20 and they included heavy testing at prisons, making this the technically highest normal day of cases. Of the 892 increased cases, 60% are between the ages of 20 to 49.

Testing continues around the state and is available for all. For a list of testing locations and pop-up sites, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

2-1-1 is a phone service that connects Ohioans to local non-profits and government services for food, healthcare, housing, transportation, and legal services. At the beginning of the year, 2-1-1 was available to 51 of Ohio's 88 counties. When the pandemic began the Ohio EMA asked Ohio AIRS to provide the service to the other 37 counties. Any Ohioan can now dial 2-1-1 no matter their location. If their phone does not allow for dialing 2-1-1 they can call 877-721-8476.

To encourage Ohioans to take part in the many pop-up testing sites across the state, Governor Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and Lt. Governor Jon Husted all received nasal test swabs from members of the Ohio National Guard at the beginning of the June 23 press conference, allowing people to to see what they can expect. The involves a 10 second swab of each side of the nose with a break in between. There is no cost at pop up testing sites and the full list of locations and times can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Dr. Sara Bode of Nationwide Children's Hospital was present via Skype for the press conference. Dr. Bode reported that there has been a 45% decline in child vaccinations in Ohio since the beginning of the COVID crisis. It is still important for children to received vaccinations as well as regular wellness checkups and parents are encouraged to still bring their children in for these.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted addressed questions that have been received regarding Fourth of July Celebrations. Firework shows are still permitted, however the restriction on large gatherings is still in place. Ohioans are encouraged to watch fireworks from their homes and to celebrate in small groups of only people with whom they regularly come into contact.

In the June 17 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine announced that overall Ohio is seeing a downward trend in new cases of COVID-19. The exception is in southwestern counties, which contain several hot-spots for the virus. Governor DeWine shared numbers and trends from Montgomery, Greene, Clark, and Warren Counties, as well as maps showing which zip codes in each county was a hot spot. Testing is being increased across the state, but extra testing will be conducted in these counties. Anyone interested in receiving a test can visit coronavirus.ohio.gov for a complete list of testing locations and scheduled pop-up testing sites.

DeWine announced that a new Hospital PPE Readiness Stockpile will be compiled and stored by Ohio hospitals throughout the state and will be distributed to residents and staff at long term care facilities, should they see a spike in cases. The state is also building a 30 day reserve of PPE. Each hospital will have a different amount of PPE storage depending on the region. The stockpile will be tracked daily.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted shared that the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has reported the 7th straight week of decline in jobless claims. During the peak of joblessness in the pandemic essential job openings were posted at coronavirus.ohio.gov/jobs. As the state continues to see decline in jobless claims, it has begun transitioning from this site back to ohiomeansjobs.com. This site has over 120,000 openings posted, according to Husted.

On June 22 contact practice for all sports can resume, as well as scrimmages and full training regimens- so long as safety protocols are observed. The training guidance will be online at coronavirus.ohio.gov

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes has signed an order regarding reopening County Fairs and Animal Exhibitions. The order can be seen HERE.

Governor DeWine shared that for the first time Ohio has borrowed money to pay unemployment benefits as a result of COVID-19. The state has requested a $3.1 billion line of credit from the United States Department of Labor, an amount exceeding what it needs to pay out.

DeWine also announced a $1 million grant funding Ohio's local Family and Children First Councils. These councils serve some of Ohio's most vulnerable children. Before the pandemic the state had planned to use $1.5 million from the current operating budget for grants and in person training for Family and Children First Councils. After listening to the needs, funds are being redeployed to allow councils to buy technological devices to help the children.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted gave a reminder of fraud attempts connected to COVID-19. 29% of consumers report that they have been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19. In addition, fake unemployment claims are being filed using the names of individuals who have not lost their jobs. Husted also stated that official looking notices pretending to be from the government are going out saying that the recipient has been overpaid in a stimulus check or refund and needs to send in personal info. Information on avoiding scams is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Ohioans were also reminded in the press conference of the suggestions for safe practices at churches and other houses of worship and that anyone in need of medical care should not be afraid to go and receive care.

Governor Mike DeWine announced in the June 11 press conference that Dr. Amy Acton is stepping down as Director of the Ohio Department of Health. Dr. Acton will be staying on staff as DeWine's Chief Health Advisor. In response to a reporter question, Dr. Acton attributed her decision to step down to wanting to do the best job possible and feeling that she was unable to do so in her current position as she attempted to lead the agency and advise the governor. She shared that she wanted to give advising her complete attention. Governor DeWine expressed his gratitude for Dr. Acton's service and credited her with saving many lives in the state. Lance Himes will serve as Interim Director of Health, a position he has held in the past.

Governor DeWine announced another expansion to testing priority in Ohio. Due to the testing shortage in the state, testing had previously been limited to priority groups such as medical staff and those with pre-existing medical conditions but now it has been expanded to include anyone in the state who wants a test. Testing sites are listed on coronavirus.ohio.gov. According to DeWine the online listing now includes pop-up testing locations. Pop-Up sites are currently in Columbus, but more will be coming to other locations across the state.

While places of worship such as churches, synagogues, and mosques were never closed by the state, many choose to find distanced service methods during the COVID-19 crisis. As many begin to reopen, Governor DeWine has announced that the state has released suggested best practices. While not required, places of worship are encouraged to implement these guidelines, which can be found online at coronavirus.ohio.gov. These practices include having families sit together with space in between each family, encouraging members to wear face coverings, and eliminating touching of common surfaces as much as possible.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted shared that the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has reported a decrease in jobless claims for the sixth week in a row. In addition, the department has received an $8.5 million training grant for employment recovery under the National Dislocated Worker Act. These funds will help reemploy individuals who lost their jobs in the pandemic.

In the June 9 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine shared that the state has distributed over 30 million pieces of PPE. Of that total, 27.8 million pieces have been shipped to county EMAs to be distributed locally. In addition, the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation has sent 1.5 million non-medical face coverings to local workers in their "We've Got You Covered" initiative. 

 

According to Governor DeWine, the state has expanded priority requirements in an effort to ramp up testing. Healthcare providers can now test anyone with symptoms. The state has also reached out to retail, especially pharmacies, to create partnerships to aid in testing. There are currently over 40 retail testing centers and more will be coming. To find locations and make appointments, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov and click on the Testing and Community Health Centers Tab at the top of the page.

In the June 2 press conference, Governor DeWine began by addressing the issue of reopening schools during the COVID-19 crisis. According to DeWine, the state fully intends to have school in the fall and is working with school officials to make a plan for reopening. The date for starting school is entirely within the power of the local school board with the state planning to provide broad guidelines in regard to health, recognizing that each district has different needs and situations.

 

Governor DeWine also announced that health care providers may resume all surgeries and procedures that had been delayed. In doing so, they need to create a plan for maintaining PPE supplies and should continue to use telehealth whenever possible.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced several grants that will be distributed to assist local businesses as they reopen after being hit by the coronavirus. The Ohio Microenterprise Grant totalling $10 million will help small minority owned and woman owned businesses, hopefully up to 500 companies. The Appalachian Growth Capital Loan Program will provide $10 million to help businesses in Ohio's Appalachia region.

Knox Public Health will offer a drive-thru opportunity this week to collect specimens for COVID-19 testing. The specimen collection will be by appointment only and available to anyone with or without symptoms, age 18 yrs. and older. The drive-thru event will take place at the health department on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (June 3-5) from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 -3 p.m. Appointments to participate in the testing drive-thru can be made by calling the Knox COVID-19 Call Line at 740-399-8014. They will be able to test up to 300 people during the drive-thru and there will be no charge to participants for testing. During the appointment process, a brief health assessment will be taken over the phone. The participant will sign a consent form on-site when they arrive for testing. All participants will need to have an appointment. Anyone showing up during the drive-thru without an appointment will not be tested.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following orders have been signed by  Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton:

Director’s Updated and Revised Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing

Director's Order that Rescinds the Director's Order that the Sale of Spirituous Liquor be Restricted in Certain Instances in Certain Counties

In the May 28 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine addressed visitation restrictions on care facilities. Beginning June 8, intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities and assisted living facilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation, if they are properly prepared. The governor said the state is "not to nursing homes yet." All facilities must develop a policy that includes screening for temperature and symptoms, scheduling set hours and visit lengths, and proper social distancing measures and masks. From there, each facility can determine how to best implement outdoor visits for their residents in a way that works best for all of them. The state will continue to monitor, exam, and discuss the topic of visitation.
 

Governor DeWine also gave an update on County Fairs. The state had assembled a task force to look at holding Junior Fairs. The group has come up with guidelines on how County Fair Boards and Agricultural Societies can work together with their County Health Departments. They are asked to come together to provide a safe outlet for kids to participate in limited livestock shows, showmanship, skillathons, barn or building activities, the auction, as well as the non-livestock exhibits and exhibitions. The guidelines are posted at coronavirus.ohio.gov and focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds, and ensuring the health of everyone involved in the Junior Fair activities and the component of animal care and welfare.
 

DeWine said that decisions on whether or not to hold fairs need to be made locally because each county and fair is unique and face unique financial situations. Conditions may change over the summer, but Fair Boards are asked to comply with all current Health Department Orders that are in place and the guidelines for other sectors that apply to fairs, such as food service.

The Bureau of Workers' Compensation will be deferring Ohio employers' premium installments for the months of June, July, and August. This is the second deadline extension the BWC has offered.

Governor DeWine announced an additional priority category for COVID-19 testing in Ohio. Currently, first priority is given to hospital patients and workers with symptoms, including those working at nursing homes. The second priority category is people at high risk of complications from COVID-19, including residents of long term care facilities and congregate care facilities, patients 65 and older with symptoms, patients with underlying conditions with symptoms, and racial and ethnic minorities with underlying conditions and symptoms. The third category is for individuals receiving essential surgeries or procedures not requiring an inpatient hospital admission. The new category is fourth priority and includes individuals in the community who have symptoms and do not meet any other category.

In the May 26 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine provided an update on testing in Ohio's nursing homes. Starting this week, a new plan and effort will begin with involvement from the Ohio National Guard. Governor DeWine announced the launch of Congregate Care Unified Response Teams. Each team will consist of ten members and there will be up to 14 teams in the state.

The Response teams will begin testing in nursing homes this week. The goal is to test all staff members of the facilities. Resident testing will be determined by assessments done by an advance team. The decisions will be based on clinically driven strategy that targets those likely exposed to COVID-19. The testing will start at the nursing homes that have had an experience with COVID-19. Of Ohio's 960 nursing homes, approximately 200 have had some level of experience currently or in the past.

The testing of nursing homes will be an ongoing process and the state is unsure how many facilities will be tested each week. Updates will be given weekly.

Governor DeWine also announced that testing will begin this week for all residents and staff at the state's developmental centers.

 

Effective June 1, catering and banquet centers will be able to reopen under similar guidelines as restaurants. Guidelines include six feet of distance between tables, no congregating, and a limited gathering size of 300 for these facilities

 

Governor Mike DeWine addressed the disproportionate risks for minorities of not just COVID-19 but other health and economic conditions. The governor shared that a minority strike force will be making plans to address these issues. 

 

Governor DeWine also announced a new communications campaign called "Stay in the Fight." The purpose of the campaign is to stay informed, involved, and inspired during the COVID-19 epidemic.

 

To expand testing, the state had partnered with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers. In addition, the state and the OACHC have also partnered with the Nationwide Foundation to distribute wellness kits.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA), will work together to distribute remdesivir across Ohio that was received from the federal government on Tuesday, May 12. The Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA), has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir to allow it to be administered to patients. It is currently being studied in treatment of COVID-19 in clinical trials and has been found to shorten the duration of disease from 15 to 11 days in patients being treated in-patient hospital settings. Ohio has received an allotment of 20 cases of remdesivir which is estimated for about 100 patients. How to distribute the drug was decided by the clinical leaders of the geographic zones that were created to help Ohio with this pandemic response.

Governor Mike DeWine announced in the May 12 press conference that the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services received notice that their Pandemic Electronic Benefit Plan was approved by the US Department of Agriculture. This will allow Jobs and Family Services to distribute SNAP benefits to help 850,000 students across Ohio. These students are children who relied on free or reduced lunches while schools were still in session. Benefits will be emailed out and families do not need to apply to be eligible. According to Governor DeWine, the benefits will be more than $250 million that will go to Ohio's grocery and retail stores.

Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton announced that voluntary coronavirus antibody testings will be conducted across the state to help doctors better understand how the disease spreads. These tests will see if persons who are no longer sick previously had the virus. State officials will select 1200 random households from across the state. Selected Ohioans will receive a postcard informing them of their selection and when to expect ODH workers visiting. Anyone who is picked can opt out of testing by phone or email beforehand, or turn away ODH workers at the door. The tests will be conducted in the volunteers' homes. During the in-person visit, one adult from the home will be randomly selected for participation. There will be no financial costs to anyone who participates.

In the May 5 press conference Governor Mike Dewine announced significant cuts in the state budget. According to DeWine, state tax revenue ending in April was $776.9 million below estimates used for building the budget. This prompted the decision to implement a $775 million budget reduction in spending for the remainder of 2020. The cuts will be to Medicaid spending ($210 million), K-12 school basic aid ($300 million), other education items ($55 million), higher education ($110 million), and other state agencies ($100 million). The state does have a $2.7 billion rainy day fund, but the governor says this is not the time to pull from that as this will not be a "quick spring shower" but rather "could be a cold, lingering storm."

Governor DeWine also announced that the state hiring freeze and the freeze on pay increases and promotions will continue.

In the April 24 press conference, Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio will cover the care of all youths about to age out of the foster care program until the pandemic ends. This will provide what the governor referred to as a "safety net" for the more than 200 youths about to turn 18 in the next three months. This option is also available for those in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Bridges program, which is foster care to age 21. DeWine said those in Bridges can stay in the program to help them maintain their housing, jobs, and education.

 

Lori Criss, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services was present for the April 22 press conference via video call. She shared that the department has created a COVID-Care Line, which is a new toll-free and confidential emotional support call service. Trained, licensed staff will be available to provide assistance from 8:00am to 8:00pm, seven days a week. At 8:00pm each day calls will roll over to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, so Ohioans will have access to trained supporters 24/7. The COVID-Care Line number is 1-800-720-9616.

Governor DeWine announced several changes coming to Medicaid in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. Medicaid has eased several pharmacy restrictions:

  • Prior Authorization will be bypassed for new prescriptions.

  • Members will receive pharmacy benefits regardless of in-network or out-of-network provider status.

  • The threshold for refills on certain prescriptions will be relaxed.

  • Pharmacists who dispense emergency refills without a prescription will be reimbursed.

  • Pharmacies that dispense over the counter medication without a prescription will be reimbursed.

  • Member copays will be waived for all prescriptions.

  • 90 day supplies on maintenance medication will be authorized.

A new office has been developed within the Ohio Development Services Agency to better coordinate Ohio's efforts to identify and provide support for Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses. The Office of Small Business Relief will:

* Serve as the state’s designated agency for administrating federal recovery funds awarded to Ohio for small business support and recovery;
* Work with federal, state, and local partners to evaluate and determine possible regulatory reforms that encourage employment and job creation; and
* Coordinate efforts of Ohio’s Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Assistance Centers.
More information on all resources currently available to small businesses is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov/BusinessHelp.

Governor DeWine opened his March 27 press conference by signing into law the bill approved earlier this week by Ohio Lawmakers. Among other things, this bill will waive mandatory state testing for schools, extend professional licenses of nurses, allow for local governments to hold public virtual meetings, and extend the tax filing deadline to July 15

The Ohio Department of Insurance is issuing an order for insurers in Ohio to allow employers to offer employees a grace period for insurance premiums. The grace period is for all health insurers, and it must provide the option of deferring premium payments interest free for up to 60 calendar days from the original premium due date, which means employers can defer their premium payments for health insurance for up to two months. Health insurers must allow employers to continue covering employees even if the employee would otherwise become ineligible for insurance because of a decrease in the hours worked a week.  

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the US Senate passed HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and President Trump signed the bill into law. Provisions of the Act take effect in 15 days and automatically expire on December 31, 2020. Here is a link to the Act.

 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved their request to allow small businesses and nonprofits in Ohio to apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used by Ohio small business owners and nonprofits to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75 percent. To keep payments affordable, the loans are long term, with up to 30 years for repayment. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on each borrower’s ability to repay. Loan applications can be completed online, or applicants can obtain a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955. For more information about the loan program, visit SBA.gov/Disaster.

 

Has your job been impacted by COVID-19? You may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Visit: unemployment.ohio.gov

 If you’ve already filed an application, you do not need to add the mass-layoff number. Your application will still be processed. 
 

Knox Community Hospital in cooperation with Knox Public Health and Knox EMA is providing a “Call Line”. The “Call Line” will be for Knox County residents who think they might have COVID-19. Residents will be able to talk directly with a medical professional about their symptoms and concerns. The call-line number is 740-399-8014. The call-line will be operational from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday-Friday. This call line is for medical questions only. For other questions regarding COVID-19, residents are requested to call the State Hotline at 833-427-5634. The State Hotline is open daily from 9am - 8pm.

     

INFORMATION FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:

Information for Families and Households:

· Information on COVID-19 for Pregnant Women and Children

· Interim Guidance for Household Readiness

· Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for U.S. Households

· Guidance for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Homes and Residential Communities

· FAQ: COVID-19 and Children

· EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19

Information for Businesses:

· Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

· Information for Communities, Schools, and Businesses

· Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations – Community Facilities

· SBA: COVID-19 Resources

· DOL: Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus

· DOL: OHSA Resources for Workers and Employers on COVID-19

· WHO: Get Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19

· CISA: Risk Management for COVID-19

· EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19

Information for Healthcare Providers, First Responders, and Research Facilities:

· Information for Healthcare Professionals

· Resources for State, Local, Territorial and Tribal Health Departments

· Resources for Healthcare Facilities

· Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with COVID-19 or Persons Under Investigation in Healthcare Settings

· Information for Laboratories

· Resources for First Responders

· Guidance for Public Health Professionals Managing People with COVID-19 in Home Care and Isolation Who Have Pets or Other Animals

· FAQs and Considerations for Patient Triage, Placement and Hospital Discharge

· Guidance for Homeless Shelters

· Guidance for Hemodialysis Facilities

· CMS: Information on COVID-19 and Current Emergencies

· CMS: Guidance for Hospice Agencies

· CMS: Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act Requirements and Implications Related to COVID-19

· CMS: FAQs for State Survey Agency and Accrediting Organizations

· EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19

CDC Website with the most up-to-date information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS:

Looking for Local SBA Loan or Other Financial Assistance? Click Here for a list of local financial institutions willing to help.

The list contains direct lines and emails to Bank staff who are dedicated to working with you and your business, as well as brief messages from a few of these institutions.

Main Street Mount Vernon now has a hand sanitizer filling station set up at their office, 501 South Main Street. Businesses can refill one 8-oz bottle of hand sanitizer on Mondays from 9:00am to 11:00am and on Thursdays from noon until 3:00pm. Appointments can be made for other days and times by emailing chamber@knoxchamber.com.

Main Street Mount Vernon has reserved 5 downtown parking spots for pick-up and carry-out orders. Any downtown business is welcome to use the spot, but they must be used by customers for pick-up and carry-out only. After parking, customers can identify the spot they are at and staff can bring their order to them.

The spots are reserved from Monday-Saturday of each week from 11am-6pm.

Main Street Mount Vernon is compiling supplies and resources for a Reopening Plan Tool Kit. This tool kit will include:
Several Masks
Hand Sanitizer (We do not have individual bottles, Please provide your own bottle)
Reopening Plan Poster (Click Here to View Downtown Version) (Click here for Knox County Version).
Resources on hygiene standards

If you are in need of any masks, or hand sanitizer, please contact Anthony at director@mainstreetmountvernon.com.
 

Main Street Mount Vernon is asking their members and other downtown merchants to send in a short 20 second video clip detailing your excitement to get back to business and the safety precautions that you are taking to ensure customer safety. These clips will be promoted on the Main Street Facebook page and used to keep track of the reopening of business. Clips can be emailed to Anthony at director@mainstreetmountvernon.com, or texted to Anthony at 740-243-5042.

In accordance with Ohio's statewide transition plan announced April 27, 2020, and as buildings re-open that have had little to no water usage during the Stay at Home Order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to flush water that has been stagnant in both cold- and hot-water distribution lines and fixtures. Low water usage can contribute to bacterial growth, including Legionella which can cause a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease. It can also cause other water quality issues with potential health risks due to the build-up of lead and copper in stagnant water that's been collecting in older pipes and fixtures. As buildings reopen, it is critical to drain, flush, and if necessary, based on a review of building conditions, disinfect the hot and cold-water systems to remove harmful contaminants. Devices that store water, such as drinking water fountains, water heaters, storage tanks, and any droplet or mist-forming devices such as cooling towers, humidifiers, showerheads, and certain medical and manufacturing devices and process equipment should also be flushed and disinfected in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations or industry best practices. The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency have issued the "Guidance for Premise Plumbing Water Service Restoration" which can be found HERE.

Knox County small businesses in need of short-term working capital have a new source for funding, according to Jeff Gottke, president of Area Development Foundation. The Emergency Business Loan is available locally with the intent to provide operating capital as businesses make cost-saving measures and tighten their belts in order to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans, available up to $10,000, are at zero interest and will have 1- to 3-year repayment terms. Qualifying businesses must be in Knox County, employ low-to-moderate income county residents, have maintained stable business operations prior to COVID-19, and have ability to repay the loan. Companies must also have demonstrated significant cost-savings measures in response to the current economic condition. Referrals to the program must be made through a qualifying Small Business Association lender. Any business interested in applying should contact their SBA lender first. Each application is then reviewed in the order it is received by a 12-member committee. Final approval comes from the state level.

Small business owners that employ between 3 and 20 people can apply for a $5,000 grant beginning April 20, 2020. Click HERE to learn more.

Small business owners are getting hit with a lot of information and making tough decisions on how to survive the COVID-19 crisis. Emails are coming in from every direction about local, state, and federal government relief loans. They're also sifting through advice on how to keep employees, maintaining a safe work environment and tips on cybersecurity and protecting all of their data. With all of these messages flooding inboxes, social media, and phones, it’s easy to mistake a scam for a real offer. BBB wants business owners to be aware of false SBA grant offers.

Tips for Spotting a Small Business Loan Scam:

  • Look for a website that ends in .gov or .ca and be cautious of those that don’t: Legitimate government entities will have websites and emails that end with .gov such as SBA.gov.

  • Double check emails from respected organizations: Unfortunately, respected organizations like SBA and BBB are being used in scams to get more consumers to give information. If an email has an offer that seems too good to be true, call the organization to double check the authenticity of the offer.

  • Do a quick internet search for similar offers: Many government agencies helping small businesses are offering loans and other programs. Be sure to confirm that the offer is real before sharing personal or business information. Find the agency website through an online search (never click on a link in an email) and be sure the program is on their website.

  • Government agencies do not typically text or communicate through social media avenues such as Facebook: Be wary of unsolicited messages. Recently, scammers have been hacking into people’s Facebook accounts and messaging their friends and family claiming they’re eligible for grants. Grants aren’t given as personal prizes.  

  • You should never have to pay money to receive money: If you have to pay money to claim a "free" government grant, it is not really free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay an advanced processing fee.

  • Businesses typically don’t receive government grants: In general, the federal government only offers grants to nonprofits, educational institutions, and state and local governments. Learn more at SBA.gov.

Businesses and workers can now access all of these resources related to COVID-19 in one place at ohio.gov/BusinessHelp.

The portal includes information on unemployment benefits, the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, the Liquor Buyback Program, modified rules for trucking to help ship critical supplies into the state, the delay of BWC Premiums, etc.

The Ohio Development Services Agency is preparing to submit an application in the coming week to qualify Ohio for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. This program provides low-interest loans up to $2 million in order to help businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue during the state of emergency.

Non profit organizations in Ohio will also be eligible for low-interest loans through the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

In order to complete the state's application, businesses impacted by the current public health crisis should immediately send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.gov. Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

 
 

SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENTS:
 

  • Mount Vernon Nazarene University welcomes students back to campus this month. With an adjusted fall schedule and a plan to reduce COVID-19 exposure and spread in place, students will begin moving into residence halls beginning Aug. 15.​ MVNU’s plan, entitled Return to the Vern, was released July 27 as part of a week-long series of engagement events with students, faculty and staff which included a virtual Town Hall for the entire campus community, and Student Q/A Sessions with staff and faculty throughout campus. Part of the Return to the Vern plan has classes starting on Aug. 19, reducing the fall break to one day and concluding the semester before Thanksgiving. This strategy, adopted by multiple universities across the nation, reduces long breaks minimizing travel and danger of virus exposure and spread. Built into the plan are protocols and contingencies designed by the COVID-19 Response Task Force and Working Groups for health services, academics, student life, events, athletics, retention, communications, and facilities and housekeeping. The Task Force will continue to meet throughout the semester to evaluate needs of students, faculty and staff, as the pandemic remains a fluid situation. For more information on MVNU’s Fall semester plan, visit mvnu.edu/ReturnToTheVern.
     

  • While everyone waits for a vaccine for COVID-19, Knox Public Health and the Community Health Center are encouraging everyone to get back on schedule with routine vaccines for adults and children especially those for school-aged children. All Knox County school districts are planning to open in August. KPH is currently offering vaccines for children and adults by appointment only, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 – 4:30 p.m. at the Community Health Center. The Center is located inside the health department at the corner of Upper Gilchrist and Coshocton roads, across from the radio station. Additionally, appointments for back-to-school immunizations can be made during two immunization clinics scheduled for Tues., July 21 from 4 – 6 p.m. and Sat., Aug. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Health Center. To make an appointment for any type of immunization, call the Community Health Center at 740- 399-8008.
     

  • Parent Updates from Mount Vernon City Schools: http://www.mvcsd.us
     

  • Parent Updates from East Knox Schools: https://www.ekschools.org
     

  • Parent Updates from Fredericktown Schools: https://www.fredericktownschools.com
     

  • Parent Updates from Centerburg Schools: http://centerburgschools.org/
     

  • Parent Updates from Danville Schools: http://www.danvilleschools.org/
     

  • Parent Updates from Highland Schools: https://highland.k12.oh.us

 

GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

​​​

  • The September Chautauqua performances originally scheduled for September 10 and 24 have been cancelled.
     

  • MVNU has announced the cancellation of SonFest 2020.
     

  • The Fredericktown Tomato Show board announced that the Festival and Parade will be cancelled this year, due to Governor DeWine’s cancellation of festivals, parades, and 5K races. The next Fredericktown Tomato Show will hopefully take place September 8 to 11, 2021.
     

  • The Bellville World’s Fair has been cancelled, but its Junior Fair- including livestock- will be conducted at an offsite location with only exhibitors and immediate family. The location is still being determined.
     

  • Knox Public Health, the Community Health Center and the Ohio National Guard are joining forces once again to offer a drive-thru opportunity for local residents to be tested for COVID-19. The drive-thru clinic will take place at Knox County Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 8 from 8 a.m. to noon. The set-up will be similar to the drive-thru flu shot clinics that the health department has conducted in the past at the fairgrounds. COVID-19 testing at the drive-thru is free. There are no out-of-pocket costs, however attendees should bring their insurance card and a photo ID. Insurance information will be collected to help cover lab processing costs. If someone does not have insurance, there is still no cost to the participant.
     

  • The Chamber of Commerce Educator's Breakfast originally scheduled for August 12 has been cancelled.
     

  • The Chautauqua Series has cancelled their August programs, These programs include the Middle School Students History Day Projects scheduled for August 13 and the August 27 Jackie Kennedy Chautauqua performance. 
     

  • The Mount Vernon Music and Arts Festival (MVMAF) Board of Directors announces the official cancellation of the 2020 Festival, originally scheduled for August 13-16. The amended Responsible Restart Ohio order, updated June 24, extended the COVID-19 closure order for festivals. After consultation with Knox Public Health, discussions for a scaled-down event in August ended. MVMAF continues to collaborate with the City of Mount Vernon for Summer in the City, providing a variety of artistic activities for residents to enjoy during this unprecedented time in our lives. The Festival will support Main Street Mount Vernon’s plan for “Ohio’s Biggest Sidewalk Sale” on Saturday, August 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This day will include music from Six Miles to Nellie on the balcony of the Mount Vernon Grand Hotel (time TBA). More details and information about these and other activities can be found at Summer in the City’s online home. Updates are also online at mvmaf.org and arielfoundationpark.org, or on Facebook at Summer in the City, Mount Vernon as well as the Festival and Ariel Foundation Park’s Facebook pages.
     

  • Sam's CLub, Wal-Mart, and Kroger will all begin to require their customers to wear masks while shopping at any of their locations. Sam's Club and Wal-Mart will begin this requirement on July 20 and Kroger will begin it on July 22.
     

  • Knox Public Health, the Community Health Center and the Ohio National Guard are joining forces to offer a drive-thru opportunity next week to test for COVID-19. The drive-thru clinic will take place at East Knox school campus on Monday, July 20 from 3 to 6 p.m. The school is located on U.S. 36 East, in Howard. Testing at the drive-thru is free. There are no out-of-pocket costs, however attendees should bring their insurance card and a photo ID. Insurance information will be collected to help cover lab processing costs. If someone does not have insurance, there is still no cost to the participant. The testing will be by nasal swab and will detect the presence COVID-19. It is not antibody testing. Attendees do not have to have an appointment to participate in the drive-thru. Paperwork will be completed on-site. The testing is available to anyone with or without symptoms, age 18 yrs. and older and regardless of where they live or work.
     

  • With the extension of the Stay Safe Order, the Main Street Mount Vernon Board of Directors has made the tough decision to cancel the remaining First Friday events. However, the loss of these central business district events comes with a lining of hope for community members though. The creation of two downtown experiences has been slated for July and August. “Christmas in July” is set for 4-8pm on Friday, July 24; and 10am-4pm on Saturday, July 25. Both days will be jam packed with special deals from downtown businesses. Merchants plan to decorate their windows and extend their operating hours so the public is able to participate in the experience and enjoy a little mid-summer festivity! Check the Main Street Mount Vernon Facebook page regularly for the full list of Christmas in July meals and deals. In August, Main Street Mount Vernon has partnered with the Mount Vernon Music and Arts Festival to hold Ohio’s Biggest Sidewalk Sale. Set for August 15th from 10am-4pm, this activity is part of the Summer in the City initiative. Main Street Mount Vernon invites community members to stroll the streets of beautiful downtown Mount Vernon and support local businesses as they offer up outdoor shopping. In an effort to limit excessive contact, customers will be encouraged to minimize handling merchandise unless they plan to make a purchase.
     

  • The Centerburg Oldtime Farming Festival has been cancelled this year.
     

  • Food For The Hungry, with support of local partners, will be offering a second round of grants. The FFTH board approved a traditional summer and emergency COVID-19 response grant program for churches and non-profit organizations in an effort to provide additional assistance when need may be greater due to the ongoing pandemic. Organizations may request funds for programs that will provide immediate food distribution and emergency assistance. Groups that provide assistance outside the traditional Mid-Ohio Food Bank income guidelines are also encouraged to apply. The application is available on the Food For The Hungry Website, www.foodforthehungrycares.org. Deadline for application is Wednesday, July 14, at noon. Awards will be announced by Monday, July 20. For more information on the grant application process, contact Food for the Hungry Coordinator, Lisa Mazzari at 740-481-2444 or Lisam.ffth@gmail.com.
     

  • The Knox County Safety Council will be hosting a Zoom Meeting titled "The New Normal: Living with COVID-19" on Wednesday, July 15 at 9:00am. There will be speakers from Knox Public Health and Knox Community Hospital. The meeting ID is 931 6078 2106 and the password is 704151.
     

  • The 35th annual Christmas in July event originally scheduled for Saturday, July 11 has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns with COVID-19. Christmas in July, sponsored by Soroptimist International of Mount Vernon and Knox County and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, is a food and funds drive that benefits the pantries of Interchurch Social Services. Pantries, located in Centerburg, Danville, Fredericktown, and Mount Vernon, continue to provide service. Please call your local branch to schedule service. Anyone wishing to make a donation, may send a check to ISS, PO Box 1052, Mt. Vernon, OH. Please add Christmas in July to the memo line. Checks will be directed to the office serving the area in which the donation originated. For more information, call 740-397-4825.
     

  • The Mount Vernon Farmers Market will return to the Public Square this Saturday, July 4 from 9:00am to noon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the market has adopted new guidelines to make it safer for vendors and shoppers to participate in the market on the square. The guidelines are those of the Centers for Disease Control, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Farmers Market Coalition.​ No one will be allowed to enter the market area prior to 9:00am. Vendors will be located on just one side of the walkways and there will be signage directing shoppers where to enter and exit the market area. Shoppers are encouraged to wear masks and maintain social distancing with one shopper at a time at each booth. Hand sanitizer will be available.

  • Recovery Bags made for the residents of Knox County are ready for distribution. These bags were designed for people to feel safe going back into the community.  The bags consist of a mask, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, Kleenex, 1 pair of gloves, magnifying card, and educational information. People can pick them up at Knox Public Health, both locations of CES Credit Union, and Knox Area Transit.  If there are questions, anyone can call 740-485-5002 for more information.

  • All Chautauqua programs for June and July have been cancelled.
     

  • The Knox County Junior Fair has released the schedule for this year's fair. It can be viewed HERE.
     

  • The Mayor will be holding a press conference on the Public Square at noon on Thursday, June 11 to make an official announcement about the summer recreation programs in the City of Mount Vernon. If the weather does not permit being outside on the public square, it will move to the Woodward Opera House.
     

  • The Mount Vernon City Schools Summer Food Program will be providing Breakfast and Grab & Go lunches until July 31 from 11:00am to 12:30pm at the following locations: Dan Emmett Elementary, Pleasant Street Elementary, The Learning Center, Wiggin Street Elementary, and the High School.
     

  • The Knox County Jr. Fair Board has released the following information regarding this year's Knox County Fair:
    - Market Projects will be exhibiting.
    - Booth Displays, Commodity Sponsored Events, King & Queen Competition, Junior Fair Showmanship, Junior Fair Skillathon, Outstanding Market Exhibitor, and Showman of Showmen have all been postponed to the 2021 Knox County Fair.
    - FFA Shop & Crop and Vegetable and Flower judging will be restructured and held outside of the Knox County Fair. Premiums will still be paid to those who completed their project and receive a letter grade at judging.
    - The Junior Fair Livestock Sale will be conducted but will be restructured to comply with all health and safety guidelines.
    - Junior Fair Premiums will be paid by mail after the conclusion of the 2020 Knox County Fair.

     

  • The Knox County Chamber of Commerce Zoom Meeting featuring business reopening guidelines from Health Commissioner Julie Miller is available to watch HERE.
     

  • The Knox County Chamber of Commerce Safety Council on June 17 and Mixer on June 30 have been cancelled. 
     

  • The Ohio BWC has cancelled the June meeting.
     

  • On Monday, June 1, United Way of Knox County office will return to business hours 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. Please call the office at 740.397.5721 to reach staff directly or email liveunited@uwayknox.org
     

  • The 2020 Ohio State Fair has been cancelled.
     

  • Interchurch Social Services plans to reopen the thrift stores in Mount Vernon and Danville on Monday, June 1. Staff & volunteers will wear masks and gloves as needed. Shoppers are asked to wear masks while in the stores and maintain social distance. They will limit the number of shoppers in the stores at any given time. Mount Vernon store hours will be Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 3:30 pm. Danville will be open Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 2:30 pm. The Fredericktown location will open their Thrift Store May 26 – June 6. Food Pantry Assistance and Emergency Financial Aid will continue to be available in our temporary offices located in the Fredericktown First Presbyterian Church. For more information, please call 740-694-8110. The Centerburg Thrift Store will remain closed at this time. Please watch for additional information.
     

  • The United Way of Knox County’s Affinity Group, Women United, has made the decision to hold an online Power of the Purse Auction, partnering with Jagger Auctioneers, instead of holding a traditional live event, originally rescheduled on August 21, 2020. This unique event will take place online the week of October 12-16, 2020. As the event gets closer, more information will be released. To donate a new purse to the auction, please contact United Way at 740.392.5721 or email lindsay@uwayknox.org.
     

  • Skyview Ranch has cancelled all youth sumer camp programs for 2020.
     

  • The  June 11 Chautauqua- D Day Girls: the spies who armed the Resistance, sabotaged the Nazis and helped win WWII- has been cancelled.
     

  • Foundation Park Conservancy announces that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is cancelling its 2020 free summer concert series, including three Movie Mondays and the scheduled Aug. 22 Rastin Challenge for First Responders.
     

  • The African Children's Choir concert at Roscoe UMC (in historic Roscoe Village) that was to be held on Monday, June 29, has been cancelled.  A reschedule date has not been decided at this point. 
     

  • The Mount Vernon Fourth of July Fireworks at Ariel Foundation Park have been cancelled.
     

  • The Heart of Ohio USA Days Festival in Centerburg (June 18-19) has been cancelled.

  • Two events normally held in May in Fredericktown have been postponed until June. The Spring Garage Sale Day is now June 6, while Dumpster Day is moved to June 13. 

  • Main Street Mount Vernon has cancelled June and July First Fridays. They have also cancelled the May Ladies' Night and their Awards Dinner/Taste of Knox.
     

  • The 2020 Knox County Relay for Life will be postponed to a later date.
     

  • The Foundation for KCH has cancelled the annual Charity Golf Classic originally scheduled for July 10.
     

  • KSAAT has several COVID-19 support resources available on their website.
     

  • USDA has announced a Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. More information is available HERE.
     

  • MTVArts has cancelled their summer musical, "Sound of Music."
     

  • Spirit Song at Kings Island (June 18-20) has been cancelled. Tickets will be refunded.
     

  • The Ariel Foundation Park Conservancy has cancelled the following events at Ariel Foundation Park:
    * May 31: Knox Community Jazz Orchestra Concert
    * June 8: Movie Night
    * June 19: Popgun Concert

     

  • Weathervane Playhouse in Newark has cancelled their 2020 summer season. It is anticipated that the fall and winter shows, Clue the Musical and Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings, will go on as scheduled. In addition, Weathervane staff is working with the respective licensing agencies to acquire the rights to move the 2020 summer shows to the summer of 2021.
     

  • One Columbus has created a webpage for Federal, State, and Local COVID-19 resources. The local resources that are listed are specific to their 11 county region, which includes Knox County. Click HERE to access the information.
     

  • Zoombezi Bay will delay its opening for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus. The park was initially scheduled to open for the season on May 16. Park officials now say the park is preparing to open sometime later during the month of May or in early June.
     

  • The American Red Cross has critical needs in Knox County for local service areas which include: 
    * New volunteers (10-12) to assist with local blood drives (non-medical staff that can help at registration desk and health history) and 4-6 volunteers to assist with local disaster response.
    * Virtual "help from home" volunteers (2-4) (with good computer skills) that could be trained to assist with screening and dispatching needs.
    * The need for on-going local blood donations. We need to make sure that during this COVID-19 event that we still have an adequate blood supply throughout Ohio in the coming months.    

     

  • City of Mount Vernon Mayor Matt Starr announced that Hiawatha Water Park will keep its doors closed for the 2020 season. 
     

  • All Knox County EMS and fire departments are accepting donations of homemade masks. In addition, Knox Area Transit (KAT) will be accepting both donations of homemade masks as well as material to make homemade masks. All donated masks will be sanitized prior to use or distribution. KAT will send donated masks they receive from the public to Mount Vernon Fire Department to be sanitized. Masks will then be returned to KAT for distribution. PPE donated to EMS and fire departments will be used for patients they transport as well as for their personnel. Surplus donated masks will be provided to KAT. KAT has agreed to take the lead in distributing homemade masks to business, organizations and individuals in need. These include EMS patients and personnel, KCH Cancer Center patients, the Community Health Center, senior citizens that need to leave their homes, and workers in essential business (i.e. grocery stores). Anyone receiving requests to receive homemade masks should direct those requests to Knox County Mobility Manager Susie Simpson at 740-485-5002.
     

  • The Hot Meals program is still offering community meals during the pandemic, offering a grab and go style of meal. Meals are available in the following locations:
    * On Sunday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Parish House, 100 E. High St., Mount Vernon.
    * On Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 102 N. Gay St., Mount Vernon
    * On Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 200 N. Main St., Mount Vernon
    * On Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Father's Table, Mount Vernon First Naz Foster's Ministry House, 723 Coshocton Road, Mount Vernon.
    * On Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at The Salvation Army, 206 E. Ohio Avenue, Mount Vernon
    * On Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Gay Street United Methodist Church, 18 N. Gay St., Mount Vernon
    * On Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Mount Vernon Seventh-Day Adventist School, 221 Sychar Road, Mount Vernon
    FACA Hot Meals at the Senior Citizens building in Fredericktown is suspended until further notice. For more information contact 2-1-1 or the Knox Network of Christian Ministries on Facebook or contactKNCM@gmail.com.

     

  • The March 31, 2020 deadline for private pesticide applicators (farmers) and the May 31, 2020 deadline for agricultural fertilizer certificate holders to renew their license and get training has been extended. The deadline is now 90 days after the state of emergency Executive Order ends or December 1, 2020, whichever comes first.
     

  • The Knox County Sheriff's Office would like to remind residents to be aware of scammers taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis. The IRS should not be contacting you. Report COVID-19 Fraud at 866-720-5721 or Disaster@leo.gov. Tips for protecting yourself from fraud include:
    * Ignore unsolicited offers for coronavirus cures, vaccines, pills, or treatment.
    * Never share personal information with strangers.
    * Never open emails or links from unknown sources.
    * Have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software protections on your devices.
    * Beware of requests to send money in any form.

     

  • The annual Columbus Arts Festival will not take place this Summer. The board of trustees for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, which produces the event, voted Thursday to cancel the 2020 festival, which attracts more than 500,000 people every June to the Downtown riverfront. As the coronavirus pandemic looms large, the decision comes amid uncertainty as to when public gatherings might once again be able to take place.
     

  • The Democratic National Committee is delaying its presidential nominating convention until the week of August 17.
     

  • United Way of Knox County Ohio, Inc. announced that it will establish a local Community Response and Recovery
    Fund. Funds raised will go toward COVID-19 community response and recovery projects. Those who contribute to the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund will be supporting projects to help our community members maintain access to food, medical supplies, and stable housing. United Way will make those funds available to United Way Partners, Food For the Hungry, and other groups that require medical supplies. This generosity will provide essential community services to alleviate the community impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donors can visit the website uwayknox.org/Respond to place on online donation using their credit card information. If individuals or organization are interested in contributing to the fund, but unable to do so electronically, they may also mail their contribution to the United Way office at 305 E. High Street in Mount Vernon or contact Kelly@uwayknox.org. Every gift makes a difference, especially today.

     

  • Additional "Local" direct lines for services needed during COVID-19:
    * Food and Medication Delivery Service: 740-485-5002
    Dial this number to arrange for free delivery of food and or medications. All food and medications must be prepaid or they can also pick up free food at the Salvation Army or Interchurch and deliver. This is a partnership between United Way, Knox Area Transit and the Knox County Community Parishioners.
    * Salvation Army: Food, Utility and Rent Assistance
    740-392-8716
    * Interchurch Social Services: Food Utility and Rent Assistance
    740-397-8716
    *New Directions: Domestic Violence/Crisis Center
    740-397-4357
    * Knox Community Hospital
    740.393.9000
    * Knox Health Center
    740-399-8014
    * Winter Sanctuary Homeless Shelter: Will be closing on April 1, 2020
    Emergency Assistance still available at 740-392-9277
    * Job and Family Services- Unemployment
    740-397-7177

  • The Knox Substance Abuse Action Team (KSAAT) has announced the postponement or cancellation of the following events:
    * All upcoming Hidden in Plain Sights have been postponed.
    * All Prevention Action Alliance events scheduled between now and May 31st have been canceled. This includes: Advanced Ethics, Problem Gambling 101 & Prevention Ethics, The G.A.P. Network Regional Summit – Southeast (Zanesville), Statewide Prevention Coalition Association meeting, We Are The Majority Rally, The Statewide Prevention Coalition Association Annual Meeting, The Ohio College Initiative Annual Luncheon, The Ohio College Initiative Presidents Luncheon, The G.A.P. Network Regional Summit – Northeast (Akron)
    * The Communities Coming Together Conference scheduled for June 29-30 has been cancelled. Individuals who purchased tickets will receive a full refund.

     

  • The OSU Extension Office of Knox County is holding 4-H Open Chats to answer questions about 4-H and the Junior Fair. 
     

  • The Foundation Park Conservancy announced that the Rastin Observation Tower at Ariel Foundation park will be closed until further notice. However, the park will remain open for people to walk, bike, hike, and spend time outdoors, while maintaining an appropriate distance. With 250 acres, park leaders believe Ariel-Foundation Park is the perfect location to break up the monotony of staying at home, to get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise which contributes to overall mental and emotional health. The public is also encouraged to check out the trails at Brown Family Environmental Center and the other Knox County Park District locations (www.knoxcountyparks.org). One Foundation Park event, the Face-2-Face fundraising concert on Thursday, June 11, has been cancelled thus far. The board is continuing to monitor the ongoing situation and may make further cancellations/postponements to May/June 2020 free summer concert series dates as facts become more defined over the next few weeks.
     

  • NAMI announced their programs have been postponed; however they are looking into virtual class for Family to Family if enrollment warrants it.  Call 740-397-3088 if you have questions. 
     

  • The Price is Right Live has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 30, and is back on sale to the public. Tickets already purchased for the previous date will be honored, and ticketholders need only to present them at the Palace Theatre on Aug. 30. Ticket purchasers who prefer a refund can contact the CBUSArts Ticket Center via phone at 614-469-0939. Refund requests will be accepted through Thursday, July 30.
     

  • The Pheasants Forever Youth Field Day has been postponed until August 15, 2020.



 

  • The Child Evangelism Fellowship Fundraising Banquet scheduled for March 24 has been postponed to September 15. 
     

  • The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County has closed all of its locations until further notice.  While the Library takes steps to continue providing library services through alternative means, it has asked that persons who have borrowed Library materials NOT return them for the time being.  The Library will waive all overdue fines and fees for the entire period of closure and for two weeks after its eventual reopening.​

    • Two popular writing programs will continue online on Tuesdays and Thursdays hosted by the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County:

      Authors Anonymous Google Hangout: Tuesdays 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. via Google Hangout
      A support group for age 18 and above creatives who write. Space is limited and registration is required. Please email Knoxwrites1@gmail.com for more information or to register.

      Teen Writing Program Meetup: Thursdays 4:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
      Weekly meetup with creative writing prompts and activities for young authors age 13-18. A casual, fun atmosphere to connect teens during social isolation. Space is limited and registration is required. Please email knoxwrites1@gmail.com for more info. Note: An "Unplugged" version of Teen Writing Program is available for teens without internet access. Call (740) 392-BOOK Ext 224 and leave a phone number where you can be reached. We will call back and connect you with materials to keep you creative!

    • According to Library director John Chidester, the Library will not circulate physical items for the next two weeks but is exploring the possibility of resuming limited circulation of some items without allowing public access to the buildings.  In the meantime, the Library will be increasing its holdings of e-books and e-audiobooks and maintaining access to streaming video, music and other materials online.

    • The Library will also service patrons’ needs through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), phone and email (plmvkcohio@gmail.com) and will provide wifi access to the internet accessible from its parking lots.

    • All of the Library’s digital and online resources can be accessed through its website: www.knox.net.

    • During the period of closure Library staff will continue to work to provide library services in the following ways:

      • Phone assistance to answer questions and provide information for persons with no internet access, who are isolated and may need to speak to another human.

      • Online chat help to answer questions and help connect patrons to digital and online resources, especially those who may be undergoing self-quarantine.

      • Increase in digital holdings to make e-books and e-audio books more immediately available.

      • Promotion of digital and online resources on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

      • Facilitation of applications for online library cards to provide check-out of e-materials without entering the building.

      • Streaming of some programming content and story times online, possibly with a live chat feature for social interaction.

      • Provision of WIFI signals accessible to persons in parking lots to allow them to access the internet safely from their cars.
         

  • The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Services at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County have been canceled until further notice. The program’s website, www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaide, is the best resource for information and changes in service availability.
     

  • The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is implementing the following new procedures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

    • For background checks, fingerprints, CCW applications and renewals, visitors will be screened prior to entry using the following questions.

      • Do you have symptoms of respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath?

      • Have you travelled outside of the United States to any of the following countries within the last 14 days, China, Iran, Italy, Japan and/or South Korea?

      • Do you co-habitat with another person that has travelled outside of the United States to any of the following countries within the last 14 days, China, Iran, Italy, Japan and/or South Korea?

      • Do you co-habitat with another person that has, or has shown symptoms of respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath?

      • Have you or anyone you co-habitat with had a documented (by a doctor, nurse, or health official) temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher in the last 14 days?

      • A yes answer to any of the above questions, or an elevated temperature when checked by staff will result in a denial of entry.  

    • Knox County Sheriff’s Office Hours of Operation:

      • Services are available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

      • Reminder, CCW permits are good for 30 days after expiration. Most permit applications are returned in 14 to 21 days. If possible, we ask you to delay your visit for at least 2 weeks. These hours are subject to change or cancellation. We are committed to preserving services as much as possible during this time and we appreciate your patience and understanding.   
         

  • Effective immediately, and until further notice, the procedure for incoming inmates and visitors to the Knox County Jail will contain additional screening measures. In-person visits and jail programs will also be temporarily suspended. The jail facility is a closed environment and the introduction of infected persons could severely impact operations. Both those incarcerated and those who watch over them are at risk for airborne infections. Jail staff is using information provided by Knox Public Health and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to coordinate best practice procedures.
     

  • The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is now closed until further notice. The dedicated animal care team and other essential personnel will remain active at the Zoo; however, staff who are able to work from home will be encouraged to do so. Zoo leadership will continue to monitor developments of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and follow guidance from federal, state, and local authorities to determine when the park will reopen.
     

  • The Cincinnati Zoo is closed until further notice, but will have a Facebook Live event every day at 3pm on their home page featuring an animal and an activity that kids can do at home.
     

  • Parent Support Initiative of Knox County: TRIPLE P CLASS information - Sessions for all courses that are currently in process will be completed via phone or virtually. Any currently scheduled course that has not begun will be postponed. Please contact Susan McDonald, Knox Parent Support Initiative Coordinator at 740-324-5789 or psiknox@gmail.com . Time slots for Primary Care individual classes are available now. If interested please contact PSI of Knox County or Candice Meadows at (740) 214-6452. Updates will be given at the Parent Support Initiative of Knox County Facebook page.
     

  • Knox County Probate/Juvenile Judge Jay Nixon files the following emergency orders with the court, effective immediately:

    • All persons shall wash their hands with soap and water in the first floor entrance bathroom before proceeding through the security checkpoint and entering the courthouse.

    • Access to the courthouse shall generally be limited to: parties to a case set for hearing; parents or custodians of juvenile parties; attorneys; guardians ad litem; victims; necessary witnesses; and other persons with express permission from the judge.

    • All persons awaiting hearing in the courthouse shall practice social distancing by staying at least six (6) feet away from other persons when possible.

    • Limited access to the courthouse shall be granted to persons wishing to file documents with the court clerk. Such persons shall proceed directly to the clerk's office and conclude their business with the clerk as expeditiously as possible.

    • Security personnel shall ask all courthouse visitors whether they are ill or have been ill and, if they are ill, have been ill, or decline to respond, visitors may be denied access to the courthouse at the sole discretion of the judge. The court will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations to preserve access to the court system for affected individuals.

    • Attorneys, parties, or victims shall be permitted to make a record, either orally or in writing, of any objection to this temporary emergency order restricting courthouse access.

    • Continuances may be granted, on motion of any party or the court, for illness or other reason during the pendency of these temporary emergency orders.

    • The Juvenile Probation department is hereby authorized to implement temporary internal policies necessary to protect the health and safety of probation staff, other court employees, probationers, and other visitors to Juvenile Probation.
       

  • Knox County 4-H Specific Updates:​

    • OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet has extended the prohibition of in-person programming from May 15 to July 6. This includes all 4-H programs, activities, and events.

    • 4-H clubs in Knox County must cancel or hold their 4-H meetings virtually until after May 15. Any meetings scheduled after that can go on as planned. However, evolving situations may require us to extend this deadline even further. That would include turning in all the club paperwork as well. This does not mean that you cannot continue to communicate with members to get the 4-H Online enrollments complete now instead of waiting to the last minute.

    • 4-H Project Books can be ordered online from extensionpubs.osu.edu. A family can choose between free shipping (promo code: FREE2020) or 20% off the entire order (promo code: 20IN2020). 

    • The Lambing and Kidding simulator Workshop originally scheduled for March 16, 2020 has been rescheduled for Monday, October 5, 2020.

    • April 4: Knox County 4H Youth Day has been moved to August 15

    • May 2: Market Lamb Tagging  – POSTPONED TO JUNE 6

    • May 2: Dairy Market Feeder Tagging  – POSTPONED TO JUNE 6

    • May 2: Market Goat Tagging  – POSTPONED TO JUNE 6

    • June 5-9: The Knolmes County 4- Camp has been cancelled per Ohio State.

    • ALL Animals with a May 1 possession have been moved to June 1 (for the Knox County Fair Market and Breeding Exhibitors) 
       

  • Knox County Agriculture Specific Updates:​​​

    • April 6: Lambing and Kidding Simulator – Moved to October 5, 2020

    • June 1: Goat Improvement Meeting – WILL NOT BE HELD AT THE EXTENSION OFFICE (Possibly Virtually)
       

  • Continue to check the OSU Extension Office blogs, website, and Facebook page to keep updated. 

 

CHURCH ANNOUNCEMENTS:​​​

 

  • Centerburg Church of Christ is holding regular Sunday worship services at 9am & 10:30am with COVID19 guidelines & protocols in place, including cleaning/sanitizing before and after each service. There is also a 6pm outdoor service that is family focused for those with younger children. Livestream is available at 9 & 10:30am on Facebook, YouTube, the church website (centerburgchurchofchrist.com) & app (CenterburgCC). On-demand services are available on the church YouTube channel any time after the 10:30am service has ended. You can additional church information, and links to the church Facebook page & YouTube channel on the church website.
     

  • Presently, the Roscoe UMC (475 High St., Coshocton ~ Historic Roscoe Village) is offering a 10:30 AM service only in their large parking lot by the picnic shelter.  Starting June 14, there will be 2 outdoor services (8:30 AM & 10:30 AM) in the same place.
     

  • Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene will begin holding in person services beginning June 14th at 9:30 a.m. Because of safe distancing practices and limited seating, those wishing to attend are encouraged to register/RSVP at Lakeholm.org.  Guests and families with children are encouraged to attend.  Services may be viewed currently on line at Lakeholm.online.church or Lakeholm.org.  Please check Facebook and YouTube for further connections. Lakeholm has also begun “The Great Milk Giveaway” (2% gal. milk) each Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at 16001 Glen Rd, Mount Vernon. Milk is free to the public. For further information please see our website at Lakeholm.org or please call 740-397-1105. 
     

  • First Presbyterian Church, 106 North Gay Street in Mount Vernon, will resume onsite worship, one service, beginning on Sunday, June 7, at 10am.  The service will also be on Facebook Live on the church Facebook page Sundays at 10:00am so as to include those who choose not to join us in person at this time.  Details concerning health and social distancing protocols can be found on the church Facebook page.  Other in-church activities and group events are suspended until further notice.  Monday Hot Meal (5:30 to 6:30pm) will continue Bag-and-Go only, no in-church serving. 
     

  • Mulberry Street United Methodist Church will be hosting Drive-In Church Services until further notice. Services will be Sundays at 9:30am and 10:45am. Attendees must stay in their cars and can tune in 97.5 FM. 
     

  • Overcomers Christian Church is happy to announce Drive-in Church. Enter their parking lot from Ames street.  Please park facing the church.  Ushers will be handing out information and fellowship cups for communion.  You will be instructed as to which FM channel to tune to.  Pastor Troy Dugan will be giving the message from just outside the building.  We will also broadcast live praise and worship.  No nursery or children’s church will be available. They ask that you please stay seated in your cars.  Overcomers Christian Church is located at 998 Newark Road Mount Vernon Ohio 43050. For more information find them on  Facebook by searching for "overcomerscc" or call 740-397-0600
     

  • Courtside Ministries, which meets Thursday mornings at the Knox County Courthouse, have suspended all meetings until further notice.
     

  • All regularly scheduled activities at Faith Baptist are suspended until further notice. Sunday messages will be posted on their website and Facebook by 8:30am Sunday mornings.
     

  • Vineyard Church of Knox County has cancelled services until further notice. They are doing services on Sunday mornings via Facebook live at 10:30am on Sunday mornings and mid-week video chats.  
     

  • Gay Street United Methodist Church has suspended worship, classes, and meetings until further notice. The Friday Hot Meal will continue as carry-out.
     

  • New Life Church of the Nazarene is meeting online at https://Newlife.online.church each Sunday at 9:30am and 11:00am. Join them for an interactive time of chatting, worship, and an inspiring message. To stay up to date, please visit Newlifenaz.net or their Facebook page - New Life Church of the Nazarene. New Life is offering to record pastors on Thursday afternoons at their church during this time of social distancing.  Whether it's a simple greeting, word of encouragement/hope, or a devotional / mini-sermon.  Music, slides, etc. are not available, just a pastor talking to his/her people.  New Life will handle the recording and then provide the link that can be shared with the congregation.  It would be hosted on the New Life youtube channel.  Please schedule a time by Tuesday of whatever week you want to record. Please email Cody McNichols at cody@newlifenaz.net.  Please include your name, church, what type of talk and approximately how long, and what time window works best for you.  Then Cody will confirm with you from there. 
    - New Life Church has established a COVID-19 fund as a place to contribute to those affected by this crisis. 100% will go to those impacted by the epidemic. To give to this fund visit www.newlifenaz.net and select "Giving" in the menu bar and then choose "COVID-19 Relief." You can also mail or drop off cash/checks to the church, 665 Harcourt Road, Mount Vernon, with a note designating it to COVID-19 Relief.

     

  • Fredericktown United Methodist Church has canceled in-house worship services.  At this time, they will be posting services online, probably on Saturday nights, for people to be able to view at their convenience. They have also suspended Wednesday evening PeaceMeal and Ignite Worship Service.  
     

  • New Life Community Church in Fredericktown will have no services until further notice. NewLife will live stream service via Facebook Sunday at 10am.
     

  • Faith Baptist Church has suspended all Wednesday evening activities until further notice
     

  • Mount Vernon First Church of the Nazarene will provide their services online during their normal service time (10:45 am) and will also provide regular updates through their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/firstnaz.mtvernon) and website (firstnaz.net). Their services will continue to be broadcast on 1300AM WMVO at 11:30am each Sunday as well. 

    • Fathers Table Update:

      • Wednesday night hot meal will be served at the door with to go containers at its regular time.

      • Food pantry will also be at its normal time. We will meet people at the door to give assistance.

      • We will also be giving out kid packs, that will have basic needs for families.

      • If you know of anyone that needs food, care items, or assistance please let us know.

 

SPORTS ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Mount Vernon Jackets Athletics are prohibiting spectators from attending scrimmages hosted at Mount Vernon. This is pursuant to the Guidance for Contact and Non-Contact Sport Competitions issued by the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor's office. 
     

  • The “Director’s Corrected Third Order to Extend the Expiration date of Second Amended Order that Provides Guidance for Contact Sport Practices and Non-Contact Sport Competitions, and Contact Competition, with Exceptions” was posted on August 1 at 5:48 pm. The order permits practices and competition for non-contact sports. It permits practice for contact sports. It limits competition for contact sports to intra-club/squad competition unless the competition is done in compliance with the requirements of Section 10 of the order. The order is the same as the original order from July 4 with two modifications:1. It adds a definition of contact sports: For this Order, contact sports are defined as football, basketball, rugby, field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, hockey, boxing, futsal and martial arts with opponents.2. It also corrects numbering as a result of the addition. For additional details about the order click HERE.
     

  • The NAIA has announced that after reviewing feedback from conferences and committees, the Council of Presidents (COP) voted to postpone the national championships in cross country, men's soccer, women's soccer, and women's volleyball to spring 2021. This decision still allows NAIA conferences to compete in the fall and winter, if they so choose.
     

  • Knox County Colt Football and Cheer has cancelled the 2020 season. Refunds will be offered to those who have already paid.
     

  • With schools reopening and most sports resuming, many local students need a physical exam to participate. The Community Health Center is offering sports physicals by appointment only for a flat fee of $20. The health center has two locations: inside Knox Public Health at the corner of Upper Gilchrist and Coshocton roads, across from the radio station; and in Danville, next to Conway’s Pharmacy. To make an appointment for either location, call 740-399-8008. Due to the discounted cost for the physical exams, insurance or Medicaid will not be accepted as payment for these specially-offered sports exams. However, the health center accepts cash, checks and debit/credit cards for payment. Students need to bring necessary paperwork provided by the school sports program. Students are also encouraged to bring their immunization record. If students are not accompanied by a parent, they should have their consent form
    signed by a parent prior to attending the clinic to authorize the provider to perform the exam. For more information, contact the health center at 740-399-8008.

     

  • MVNU Basketball has postponed their June camp slate, which includes five team camps, prospect camp, and the RULECougar skills camp. A rescheduled date has not been announced.
     

  • The Memorial Tournament, originally set for June 1-7, has been rescheduled for July 13-19.
     

  • The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course announced that the 2020 Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio originally set for May 1-3, 2020, has been rescheduled to Sept. 25-27, 2020.
     

  • Major tennis tournaments are also dealing with the coronavirus crisis, as Wimbledon is cancelled for 2020 and the French Open is moving from May 24th to September 20th. The U.S. Tennis Association says it is proceeding with plans to hold the U.S. Open in New York as scheduled, starting August 24th.
     

  • The Indianapolis 500 has been postponed until August 23.
     

  • The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed until 2021.
     

  • The Boston Marathon is postponed from April 20th to September 14th.
     

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame is Temporarily Closed
    As a public health precaution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Museum is now closed to the public until further notice. The health and safety of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s visitors, as well as staff and volunteers, is our top priority.
     The Hall of Fame will continue to closely monitor the situation and maintain ongoing communication with state and local health officials. Updates will be provided at www.profootballhof.com/visit/ and on the Hall’s social media - @ProFootballHOF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
    Tickets and official packages for Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls remain on sale at https://www.profootballhof.com/tickets/
    Exclusive Hall of Fame merchandise and gear for all 32 NFL Clubs is available at  https://www.profootballhof.com/store/

     

  • The NBA has suspended all games until further notice.
     

  • The NHL has suspended its season, also until further notice.
     

  • Major League Soccer has suspended its season until further notice.
     

  • Major League Baseball has suspended spring training and pushed back opening day. (No date has been set at this time)

 

From the KNOX COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER:

Click here to see the Daily Situation Report

One of the priorities of the county’s COVID response is to insure all members of the community are informed of local resources that are available to provide assistance.  In an effort to communicate these resources, the Knox County EMA has developed COVID-19 Informational Bookmarks.  If you would like bookmarks to provide to those you serve they can be picked up from the Chamber of Commerce or at the EMA office.

Thanks to a $45,000 contribution from AT&T, the Emergency Management Association of Ohio (EMAO) launched its "Frontline Heroes Fund," which is aimed at helping the state's county emergency management director’s support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knox County EMA received $500 from AT&T’s contribution to the fund. Knox County Director Mark Maxwell presented the $500 to Jerry Scott of the Knox County Chaplin’s Corp. The donation will assist the Corp in their continuing effort to provide food to those in Knox County who are most vulnerable as a result of COVID-19.

Knox County Emergency Management Agency and Knox Public Health have been tireless in their efforts to inform the community of directives, statistics, and new information coming from the state and federal levels of how to handle the COVID-19 virus on the front lines. Representatives from several agencies around the county are participating in countless meetings and briefings where information changes at the turn of each passing minute. In response to the business community’s health, Knox County EMA Director, Mark Maxwell, announced the expansion of an Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF), which will serve as a special sub-committee to the already created Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) currently serving Knox County’s disaster plan. The ERTF sub-committee is a natural extension to address business-specific needs during and after a disaster. According to the National Disaster Recovery Framework, there are short-term, intermediate, and long-term recovery planning structures to help guide communities through their own recovery plan. The mission of the ERTF is divided into a triage approach where short-term measures explore temporary actions to support business reopening’s, maintenance, and reestablish cash flow. At the intermediate planning level, the establishment of a “one-stop” recovery center approach is well underway with the creation of a centralized document for finding financial assistance. Regarding long-term strategies, the ERTF will take the lead from the Area Development Foundation, which has already made headway. The ERTF is planning to meet weekly and will report their recommendations to Maxwell and other
members of the Long Term Recovery Committee. Knox County EMA will share the plans on their updates as they become available. A wide cross section of countywide leaders from respective communities and businesses are being recruited to provide help to the task force.

Unified Command (UC) was officially established on Friday March 20, 2020. UC is comprised of Health Commissioner Julie Miller, Sheriff David Shafer, Mount Vernon Fire Chief Chad Christopher, Knox Community Hospital Safety Officer Russell
Maroni, and Emergency Management Director Mark Maxwell.

 

Emergency Operations Center Status: Partial Activation.

EVENT RESOURCES

  • Knox Community Chaplain Corps is coordinating material assistance as well as mental health and spiritual support. Those needing this service can call 740-485-5002.

  • Knox Public Health are providing a “Call Line”, 740-399-8014, for medical related questions. The call-line will be operational from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday-Friday.

  • Ohio Department of Health (ODH) COVID-19 call center 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

  • (ODH COVID-19 information is available at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov

  • COVID-19 confirmed cases in the US (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-inus.html)

  • Ohio EMA public assistance information: https://www.ema.ohio.gov/Recovery_covid19.aspx


Mass Care Assistance Provided

  • To date our mass care volunteers have provided the following:
    o 74 requests for assistance with food
    o 20 requests for assistance with prescriptions
    o 100 requests for homemade masks
    o 23 requests for information

  • The Salvation Army has received a 70% increase in requests for food boxes with 42% being first time requests

  • 2-1-1 has referred 33 calls to the Knox County Chaplain’s Association, 28 of which requested food delivery assistance

  • Knox Public Health’s Call Line will be reducing hours to 8 a.m. to noon beginning Monday. Messages can be left 24 hours a day.

CURRENT EOC OBJECTIVES
Operations

  • Establish and maintain situational awareness and common operational picture of the event and
    potential impacts.

  • Using all available sources, communicate details to key partners in a coordinated manner.

  • Support executive decision making.

  • Receive, prioritize, and fulfill requests for resources.

  • Support Mass Care coordination

  • Conduct advance planning.

  • Conduct planning for future needs and contingencies. Coordinate the sustainment of economic and business activities to pre-disaster conditions.

  • Promote the development of new economic opportunities resulting in a sustainable and
    economically resilient community.

CURRENT EOC ACTIVITIES
Operations

  • Distributing daily Situation Report

  • Working with community partners to meet mass care needs

  • Recruiting additional medical staffing for estimated patient surge

  • KCH staff will provided training for KPH nursing staff

  • KPH staff will contact healthcare facilities to emphasize coordination of PPE requests and conservation efforts

  • Developed and distributed a procedure for homemade mask collection, sanitization and distribution

Logistics

  • Documenting and tracking all PPE supplies

  • Collecting information from community partners PPE supplies and use

  • Fulfilling requests for PPE

  • Continuing to receive donations of PPE

  • Establishing quarantine and isolation locations

Planning

  • Ongoing discussion of strategy and support for quarantine and isolation sites

  • Continuing to discuss strategies for the possibility of mass fatalities

  • Ongoing discussion of strategy and support for a patient surge

  • Planning continues of supporting deliveries of food and medicine for those at highest risk

  • Ongoing discussion of strategy and support for of Responsible Restart Ohio

Public Information

  • Provide information to the public via media, social media and other means

  • Continually Identifying priority information that needs communicated to the public

Recovery

  • Ongoing discussion of strategies to provide mental health, emotional and spiritual support for those impacted

BOARD OF PHARMACY: To address any possible workforce shortages during the COVID-19 outbreak, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has adopted guidance authorizing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians licensed in other states to work in Ohio pharmacies under certain conditions. 

 

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: ODH unveiled a new Coronavirus dashboard that is available on their website. The new dashboard is interactive and can display data based on user input. ODH has also issued new guidance that allows local health boards to disclose to police, fire, paramedics or other first responders information concerning a patient that they came into contact with who is positive for COVID-19.
 

Share Your Ideas for Conserving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton are working with experts from across the country to brainstorm ways to conserve PPE. From gloves to masks to shields, we know you have great ideas, too. Please take a moment and share your ideas with us. You will have the opportunity to indicate if you would like your name/practice information to be shared or remain anonymous. Click Here to Share Your Ideas

Strategic National Stockpile Update - Ohio did not receive as much PPE as what they had requested and they do not feel that it is enough to handle this pandemic. Ohio has requested additional supplies, but we have no confirmation if and when we may receive them. Conservation of PPE is still remains a priority. There will be four types of PPE allocated: fit
tested masks (N95 and P100), surgical masks, disposable gowns and gloves. The allocation was based upon the CDC’s Pandemic Plan that takes into consideration critical users. Critical users have been identified as: EMS, hospitals, long term care, other healthcare and law enforcement. To donate items, please call the Knox County COVID Call-Line, 740-399-8014 (Mon-Fri 8am-3pm). 

 

KEY PARTNER ACTIVITIES:

Knox County – All county offices are open and providing essential services. Individuals are still encouraged to call or email the offices to set up an appointment.

 

COTS - Hired a contractor to work with the hospitals to create a regional alternate care site (ACS). This ACS will be a regional asset and all central region hospitals will be able to transport patients into the system via one of the 4 healthcare systems in Franklin County.

 

Board of Elections - The Ohio Primary Election was postponed to June 2. Absentee ballots will be permitted, but in-person voting would not take place until June 2. The Knox County Board of Elections is accepting applications for absentee ballots for the Primary Election that was cancelled on March 17, 2020. The deadline to turn in an application is May 6, 2020. Visit www.co.knox.oh.us/boe and click Online Forms, or call 740-393-6716.

 

City of Mount Vernon -  Effective Tuesday, May 12, the City will reopen most public offices. All members of the public are requested to call before visiting City facilities. A Public Notice to this effect has been provided to each department and they are required to post this notice at the entrance to all facilities. (Click HERE to see the entire plan). All department heads have been authorized to reduce their workforce or move to remote work to the extent practical.

The City of Mount Vernon has experienced an increase in the number of sanitary sewer issues resulting from people flushing household and "flushable" wipes. We would like to remind everyone that even though these products are marketed as "flushable" or "disposable", they do not break down properly and can block sewer lines and cause pumps to fail. Any consumer item that is not toilet paper should not be flushed. These wipe-style products should be placed in the trash. 

Village of Centerburg – The village offices will be open to the public beginning on May 11. Individuals are still encouraged to conduct business by phone or email where possible.

 

Village of Danville - The Danville Municipal Building will be closed to the public. Essential services will still be conducted. Due to Ohio Stay at Home Order the Village Offices, Maintenance, Water/Sewer and Clerks offices will be available by phone only. Please call 740-599-6888, follow the prompts, and leave a message. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.
 

Village of Gambier – The village is limiting access to public facilities. The Library, Head Start, and the Community Center are closed to the public. Water bill and tax payments should be placed in the drop box.

Village of Fredericktown – The Village of Fredericktown office is open. Individuals are requested to conduct business remotely as much as possible. In lieu of coming in to the Village office, customers may continue to pay their utility bill by mail, auto deduct, on the fredericktownohio.net website, or at the drop box in the alley east of the Municipal Building.

AEP Ohio – Currently AEP is not disconnecting service and not doing planned outages unless absolutely necessary due to the large amount of people working from home.

Knox County Common Pleas Court - Criminal cases involving jail inmates will be handled by video conference. All non-jail criminal cases will be continued until after April 15. Civil and domestic relations cases will be handled by telephone. Civil Protection Orders will be accepted as normal. Anyone having an emergency or urgent matter can file a request with the Court for a hearing.

 

Central Ohio Trauma System (COTS) – The Regional Healthcare Emergency Preparedness (RHEP) Coalition is in response mode for COVID 19. COTS has activated their Hospital Incident Liaison (HIL). Central Ohio hospitals continue to make preparations for a medical surge. Testing supplies (viral swabs and viral medium) and PPE are in extremely short supply.

 

Knox Area Transit – KAT will continue to provide service as directed during this covid-19 event. All buses will continue to be disinfected on a daily basis with many disinfected more often, especially those transporting to and from medical appointments. Riders are asked to practicing social distancing, not ride if they have a fever or are feeling ill, and if you begin a fever or feeling ill, notify the driver so they may disinfect the bus.


Knox County 9-1-1 – Call takers will be asking callers viral illness screening question early in the call is to provide additional situational awareness for responders.

Knox County CERT - Eight CERT members are actively involved in delivering prescriptions and groceries. CERT has made 33 deliveries to date working with KCCP.

Knox County Clerk of Courts- The Knox County Clerk of Courts Title Office will be closed to the public until further notice. The Governor's orders regarding BMV operations has affected this decision. Titling services go hand-in-hand with other BMV operations. The closure is consistent with decisions made by other government offices to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Auto dealer transactions will not be impacted. The Title Office is located at 671 N. Sandusky St., Mount Vernon.

Knox Community Chaplain Corps – KCCP is coordinating local service organizations to provide material assistance as well as mental health and spiritual support. Deliveries will be scheduled from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M., Monday through Saturday. Sunday deliveries will be from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. Those needing this service can call 740-485-5002.

 

Knox Public Health - Citizens who have questions or complaints concerning business and the “Stay at Home” order should email info@knoxhealth.com. The COVID-19 Call-Line is for medical related questions only.

 

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services – The ODJFS is offering assistance to those whose jobs have been impacted by COVID19. Visit unemployment.ohio.gov. Upon the direction of the Knox County Commissioners, Knox County Department of Job & Family Services offices are closed to the public until further notice. Also closed to the public until further notice is Opportunity Knox Employment Center, 17604 Coshocton Road, and its recycling facilities. We ask the public to utilize the many options for continuing to receive our services via telephone, email, fax and websites as follows: 
               Agency website/phone: https://www.co.knox.oh.us/jfs/ and 740-397-7177.
               Drop box – Drop boxes have been installed at the rear entrance of the Knox County                                                                                       Service Center, 117 E. High St., and at Opportunity Knox, 17604 Coshocton Road. The public can                                             leave items for JFS in these boxes. Please be sure the items are clearly marked for “JFS”.
               Child Support – Call 740-397-7177, ext. 3029 or email KNOX_CSS@jfs.ohio.gov. Access case information,                                                     communicate with your caseworker and get payment histories at                                                                                                   https://childsupport.ohio.gov/login.jsf Documents can be faxed to 740-397-5200 or mailed to                                                   KCDJFS/CSS, 117 E. High St., Mount Vernon, OH 43050. Child support payments can be made by                                           mail at Ohio CSPC, P.O. Box 182372, Columbus, OH 43218-2394 or online at                                                                               http://oh.smartchildsupport.com.
               Children Services – Many Protective Services staff will be working remotely, but will remain accessible by                                                       phone during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will provide                                                     on-call coverage. We continue to evaluate the ability to safely provide services to families and                                                   community partners. Call 740-397-7177, ext. 3027. Concerns of abuse or neglect of a child or                                                     elderly adult can be called in to 740-392-KIDS (5437). Documents can be faxed to 740-397-2617 or                                           mailed to KCDJFS/SS, 117 E. High St., Mount Vernon, OH 43050.
               Public Assistance – The website www.benefits.ohio.gov can be used remotely to apply, renew or make                                                          changes to cash, food or medical assistance. You can also call 1-844-640-6446 to apply, renew or                                              make changes for cash, food or medical assistance. We ask everyone to exercise patience as the                                              phone queues will likely be lengthy as many more people will be using this service. Documents                                                can be faxed to 740-392-8882 or mailed to KCDJFS/PA, 117 E. High St., Mount Vernon, OH 43050.
               Workforce Development/OhioMeansJobs – If you have internet access, you can utilize ohiomeansjobs.com or                                             reach a member of the Opportunity Knox team by calling 740-392-9675. Documents can be faxed                                           to 740-397-5078 or mailed to OKEC, 17604 Coshocton Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050.
                                     The Foster Parent Pre-Service Training has been canceled for March and April, as have many internal                                       meetings. The current pandemic situation is continuing to evolve and practices at KCDJFS may                                               need to change and evolve as well. We continue to be committed to serving the citizens of Knox                                             County and will update the community if services are further altered. Be sure to follow us on                                                     Facebook at Knox County JFS for real-time updates.

 

Mount Vernon Police Department – Calls not requiring a physical response to the scene of an incident may be handled via phone call if possible. Officers responding to calls that require an in-person response will be directed not to enter private residences or enclosed spaces if it is not necessary to address the incident. Complainants will be requested to meet the Officers outside. Background checks, and fingerprinting, tours and PR events are suspended.

Ohio EMA – The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) transitioned to Full Activation. Ohio EMA’s Watch Office remains available 24 hours per day. Operational and planning efforts were focused on public information & warning, healthcare systems support, responder security and protection, and private sector coordination.

 

Pathways/2-1-1 – Remember to direct callers to 2-1-1 for non-emergency questions. They are referring callers with COVID-19 questions to the ODH call center or the CDC website.

PUCO – Transportation Department has granted limited regulatory relief from the hours of service requirements for the intrastate commercial motor vehicle operations to meet the immediate needs for consumer goods (food, paper products, and groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores), medical supplies, gasoline, diesel, propane, heating oil, and waste removal (residential waste and transfer of waste between transfer stations and landfills and remain in effect for the duration of the declared State of Emergency or until rescinded.

 

Station Break Senior Center - The Station Break is closed to the public. Meals are still being provided to homebound seniors. Drivers will be tested for temperature and wear gloves and mask. Drivers will need to see the client before the meal can be left. The box of frozen meals will contain 5 meals in each box and will replace the hot meal that is delivered daily. These will be delivered once a week.

INCIDENT OVERVIEW:
The first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Ohio on March 9, 2020. Governor DeWine declared a State of Emergency in order to increase resources available for state-response. March 11, 2020, a fourth case, the first of “community spread” was confirmed in Stark County.

 

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, which is thought to be spread through person-to-person contact. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The virus is thought to spread via droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or among people who are in close contact with one another.

 

The outbreak was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”

 

(PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.

​This list will be updated on a regular basis. We will post daily updates with cancellations, changes to events or services and information from our local emergency management agency. Please check back each day. For more information, go to https://www.knoxhealth.com/

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