COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — About 1.3 million people filed unemployment claims in the past 10 weeks as Ohio’s economy cratered during stay-at-home orders that led to widespread layoffs, the state reported Thursday.
For the week ending May 23, about 42,000 people filed jobless claims despite the gradual reopening of the state’s economy since mid-May, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That’s down from about 46,000 claims filed the previous week.
The numbers announced Thursday pushed total unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic to 1.25 million, above the total number of claims over the past three years. The state says it has now distributed more than $3.1 billion to more than 644,000 unemployment claimants.
Nationally, an estimated 2.1 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the running total since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March to about 41 million, the government said Thursday.
Eligible Ohioans can now get tested for COVID-19 at participating Ohio pharmacies, after rules for ordering and administrating the tests were clarified by the state Board of Pharmacy.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he is also broadening availability of the tests to include anyone experiencing symptoms.
A map of virus testing centers has been posted to the state’s coronavirus website.
Outdoor visits will be allowed at assisted living facilities as well as facilities for people with developmental disabilities, beginning June 8. Social distancing and other safety restrictions will apply.
DeWine said the limited visitation will be watched closely as his administration considers when to reopen nursing homes to visitors. He said officials are balancing safety against damage done by prolonged periods without seeing family.
The latest data showed outbreaks in nursing homes are continuing to pop up in some counties while the deaths have leveled off in others.
Ottawa County reported a week ago just one death since the pandemic began and this week added nine more. Monroe County also had a recent rise in deaths, bringing its total to 12.
The number of nursing home deaths in Franklin County has tripled during the past three weeks, rising to 150 — the most in the state.
Overall, nursing home deaths continue to account for seven of every 10 confirmed or probable COVID deaths in Ohio. Since the pandemic began, 1,442 residents of long-term care facilities have died, according to Health Department data released Wednesday. That’s compared to 2,044 total deaths.
Ohio has spent about $500,000 on overnight hotel stays for prison employees and National Guard members who work in facilities with high numbers of infections, records show. The individuals were given the option of staying in a hotel rather than going home, under a Department of Rehabilitation and Correction initiative begun last month.
The prisons agency spent $183,321 on overnight stays for prison employees and $317,338 for National Guard members, according to data obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request.
The program covered people working at the Franklin Medical Center, the Correctional Reception Center in central Ohio, and Belmont, Lorain, Marion and Pickaway correctional institutions. Meals and mileage aren’t covered.
Nearly 4,700 inmates have tested positive and 73 have died, with deaths spread across nine prisons.
Ohio’s total confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases rose to 33,915 as of Thursday, according to Health Department data. The state has averaged about 565 new cases a day over the past three weeks. Just under 2,100 deaths have been recorded.
Seewer reported from Toledo. Associated Press reporter Julie Carr Smyth contributed to this report.