The Ohio curfew order has been extended for another three weeks.

Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed a health order Thursday extending the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until Jan. 23.

Exemptions to the order include going to work, obtaining necessary food, medical care or social services.

“Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this Order, but are strongly urged to obtain shelter, and governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable,” the order states. “Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location.”

The order also doesn’t apply to religious observances and First Amendment protected speech.

SCHOOLS

During Gov. Mike DeWine’s press conference Wednesday, he announced a change to school quarantine guidance.

He said the goal of the vaccination plan is to get kids back in school and is why adults working with kids in schools are in the next phase for vaccinations.

“The school setting, I think most experts believe, is the best place for most kids to learn and socialize,” DeWine said. “There’s no question it also supports developmental and emotional well-being.”

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines calls for quarantining students who come into contact with a COVID-19 positive person in a classroom, that is changing.

DeWine said that is because of what the state superintendents have been telling him.

“They said ‘We’re quarantining students, but we don’t believe these students have really been infected, we’re not seeing signs of that,’” DeWine said. “So, we decided to go get data so we can make a logical decision.”

Looking at data from K-12 schools supports the idea that as long as students wear masks and “do the best they can with social distance” then they don’t have an increased risk of contracting the disease from a nearby, COVID-19 positive student, he said.

Because of that data, he announced that students will no longer need to be quarantined in that situation as long as they wear a mask and exposure took place in a classroom setting.

“This change does not apply to after school activities, including sports,” DeWine added. “Ultimately, this will be one more step to keep our kids in the classroom, which we know is where we want them to be.”

NUMBERS

As of Thursday, Williams County has had 2,290 total cases of COVID-19, including 645 probable cases. This is an increase of 155 cases since Christmas.

These cases have resulted in 117 hospitalizations and 48 deaths as of Thursday. There are 1,758 people who are presumed to have recovered.

Statewide, there have been 700,380 total cases with 38,334 hospitalizations and 8,962 deaths as of Thursday. There have been 556,106 people who are presumed to have recovered.

County and state data were not updated on Friday, due to the holiday.

According to the state vaccination dashboard, 151 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Williams County, which is 0.41% of the population.

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