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Mask in School

COVID-19 Update: Masks in Schools, Rapid Testing, Community Spread and Spread from Faith-Based Settings, Dr. Amy Acton.
August 04, 2020 | COVID-19
August 4, 2020

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today provided the following updates on the status of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Health will issue a health order requiring that K-12 children wear face coverings while at school. The new mandate comes after the Ohio Children's Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter issued a joint letter today recommending widespread use of masks in schools with the following exceptions: 
  1. Children under the age of 2 years old
  2. Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  3. A child with a significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering (e.g. severe anxiety or a tactile aversion)
  4. A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask
  5. A child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction
"Without a vaccine, we are limited in the ways that we can protect the people of Ohio," said Governor DeWine. "For schools to have a fighting chance to stay open this fall, widespread face coverings for K-12 students will increase the odds that kids will go to school and stay in school." 


Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is entering into a multi-state purchasing agreement with Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia to expand the use of rapid point-of-care tests. 
"Over the past week, we have conducted an average of 22,334 COVID-19 tests a day with Ohio's current testing procedure, but rapid point-of-care tests are faster, simpler, and less expensive," said Governor DeWine. "Expanding the use of this testing will serve as an important screening tool and a critical addition to our plan to limit the spread of COVID-19."
More rapid point-of-care testing will help Ohio detect outbreaks sooner with faster turnaround time, expand testing in congregate settings, and make testing more accessible for the most high-risk and hard-hit communities.


Governor DeWine today also continued to warn Ohioans about community spread connected to informal gatherings between family and friends. 
"The truth is that it is easier to be scared of a stranger than a friend. Maintaining social distance and choosing to not gather together is really a sign that you care about your loved ones," Governor DeWine said. 
New data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows the amount of community spread per county over the past two weeks. 

Governor DeWine today announced that he will send a letter to Ohio's faith-based community to share important health information with Ohio churches, synagogues, and mosques and to share ways to better protect their worshipers.
One case study shows that a man with COVID-19 attended a church service in Ohio, and following that service, 91 additional people from five counties developed symptoms. 
"I know that our faith-based leaders want nothing more than to protect their worshipers, but we also know that the virus can easily spread in places where people gather," said Governor DeWine. "It is vital that, any time people gather together, everyone wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and while indoors, making sure there is good ventilation and airflow."


Governor DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio's former director of the Ohio Department of Health, has decided to leave state employment and return to her role at the Columbus Foundation, where she worked previously.
"While it saddens me that she will be leaving my office, she has assured me that she is just a phone call away and will be available to continue advising us as we move through this pandemic," said Governor DeWine. 


There are 95,106 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,570 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 11,119 people have been hospitalized, including 2,593 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting

Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language translation, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Hand Sanitizer Update

A MedWatch Safety Alert was added to the FDA Recalls webpage. 

TOPIC: Hand Sanitizers: FDA Updates on Recalls Due to Dangerous, Potential Presence of Methanol (Wood Alcohol)

AUDIENCE: Consumer, Health Professional

ISSUE: FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination.

The agency is aware of people ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.

Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due
to its toxic effects. FDA maintains a list of FDA-tested and recalled hand sanitizers on the agency’s website, which will be continually updated as dangerous products are discovered. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing.

Do not use any products on this list of hand sanitizers with potential methanol contamination, and continue checking this list often as it is being updated daily.

The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.

 Recent recalls include:

BACKGROUND: Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.
RECOMMENDATION: FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially:
=    After going to the bathroom
=    Before eating
=    After coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose
If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.

This list outlines the information on hand sanitizer labels for consumers to use to identify a product that has been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol, that is being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor, or that is purportedly made at the same facility as products that have been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol. FDA advises consumers not to use hand sanitizers from these companies, or products with these names or NDC numbers.

Health professionals and consumers are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
=    Complete and submit the report online.
=    Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178.

Click here for additional information about methanol containing hand sanitizers
CDC Guidance Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have updated their guidance for schools and child care. Click on the link below to reach the pages. The updated guidance includes sections addressing:
  • Preparing for a Safe Return to School
  • Operating School During COVID-19
  • Information for parents and caregivers regarding Deciding How to Go Back to School and Checklists for Going Back to School
  • Printable Posters and Graphics
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting and More
Click here for the CDC updated guidance for schools and child care
Click here to reach the JFS Child Care Resource Page
Have you updated your ImpactSIIS password recently? Click here to do it now!
The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation. You are strongly encouraged to frequently visit the following websites for current, valid information:
You and others you know may call the ODH COVID-19 Call Center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

For those in need of mental health services, please call the OHMAS Covid CareLine at 1-800-720-9616 to connect.

Thank you all for what you are doing. Stay well.
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