Local numbers

MOUNT GILEAD — Total COVID-19 cases in Morrow County reached 34 as of Monday morning; 22 males and 12 females. Zero deaths have been reported from the virus and four hospitalizations.

Age range is 23 through 81 and the average age is 45.

Nonessential surgeries to resume

Ohio officials issued an order allowing hospitals and outpatient surgery centers in Ohio to reevaluate elective procedures and surgeries they postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order follows a March 17 directive from Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton to postpone elective surgeries. The earlier order aimed to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and free up beds in the event they were needed for COVID-19 patients.

“Because of Ohio’s hard work to flatten the curve and because of our health care system’s efforts to come together to meet community needs as a team, we have prevented the massive spike of cases that we feared,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a news release.

“We must now begin the gradual, multi-phased process of reopening, and my first concern is the patients who have had procedures and surgeries delayed,” DeWine added.

The order directs healthcare professionals to examine procedures and surgeries that were postponed with their patients. State officials want doctors and patients to make a joint decision about whether to proceed.

Ohio begins implementing new federal unemployment programs

COLUMBUS — Starting on Friday, April 24, Ohioans who are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19)pandemic but who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits can begin pre-registering for PandemicUnemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers many more categories of workers, the OhioDepartment of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced today.

In addition, more than 400,000 unemployment claimants in Ohio began receiving weekly $600 supplements thisweek in addition to their regular benefits as a part of the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation(PUC) program. The weekly supplements are available through July 25 and will appear on claimants’ pay stubs withthe designation “FAC.” Both the PUA program and the PUC supplements are authorized by the federal CoronavirusAid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

For those eligible, PUA benefits will be retroactive to the date they qualified, as early as Feb. 2. The program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to many who historically have not qualified for unemployment benefits,such as self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers, part-time workers, and those who lack sufficient work history.Individuals who have exhausted all regular unemployment and any weekly extensions also may be eligible for the program.

Anyone with questions should call 833-604-0774.

Jobless claims soar

While state and national officials are talking about the possibilities of reopening the economy once the coronavirus abates, the impact of the shutdown of all but essential businesses continues to be reflected in the latest unemployment data.

For the fifth week in a row, new claims for unemployment insurance were elevated well above normal levels in Ohio, coming in at 108,801 for the week ending April 18, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was a decrease of 50,516 from the previous week’s 159,317, but still well above the numbers seen before the COVID-10 pandemic hit the United States.

— The Center Square and Staff Reports