COVID-19 Update: Wastewater Testing, Ohio Medicaid Overhaul, IMAP

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The State COVID-19 Dashboard show five more local deaths. Two in Ross County with one each in Fairfield, Jackson and Pickaway Counties. Read more below and see the reported active cases for the 10 county territory Litter Media has been following since March.

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


Governor DeWine provided an update today on the Ohio Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network which tests wastewater for gene fragments of COVID-19. 

Those infected with COVID-19 begin to shed the virus early in their infection, and a significant, sustained increase in gene fragments found in wastewater can be an early warning sign of a pending rise in COVID-19 cases in a specific area. The value of this information is that gives communities an opportunity to act proactively to prevent outbreaks.

Since the launch of the monitoring program, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has notified health authorities in six communities of a sustained increase in gene fragments found in their wastewater: Dayton, Columbus, Akron, Oregon, Sandusky, and Mansfield. 

ODH is currently monitoring 36 sites across the state and an additional 25 sites will be added during the coming month. Communities found with a sustained increase in gene fragments are offered testing and contact tracing assistance.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), in partnership with Ohio State University, has also begun monitoring wastewater at Ohio’s prisons to prevent spread among staff and inmates. A sustained increase in COVID-19 gene fragments in a prison’s wastewater will trigger a series of actions within the prison to prevent spread, including the testing of all staff. Staff members working in prisons free of COVID-19 will have access to on-site voluntary testing.


Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Medicaid will open a new application for businesses interested in providing managed care plans for children and adults within the Medicaid program. The request for proposals is part of a new vision for Ohio’s Medicaid program that focuses on people – not just the business of managed care.  

“Since coming into office in January of 2019, my administration has been evaluating our Medicaid program to develop a vision of a better, healthier, and more productive state,” said Governor DeWine. “With input from Ohioans covered by Medicaid, physicians, hospitals, health care providers, and managed care plans, this will be the first major overhaul of Medicaid in 15 years.” 

Medicaid’s new program will focus on improving care for children with complex needs, emphasizing personalized care experience, improving wellness and health outcomes, and increasing transparency and accountability across managed care. 

A second managed care application will be issued later this fall to specifically serve children who have complex behavioral health needs. 

Changes to Ohio’s managed care plans will not disrupt Ohioans’ coverage or access to care.


Lt. Governor Husted, who serves as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, announced today that Ohioans can now access training at no cost through 12 training providers under the Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP).

Following the July application period, 12 training providers including community colleges, universities, Ohio technical centers, private providers, and non-profits received awards through IMAP. These providers will offer training for 71 short-term, industry-recognized, and technology-focused credentials to help upskill Ohioans for the increasingly tech-infused economy. Through IMAP, up to 1,694 Ohioans have the opportunity to earn a credential at no cost to them.

Ohioans who are low income, partially unemployed, or totally unemployed can visit the IMAP landing page at to work directly with the awarded training provider of their choice to enroll in the training program that works best for them. The IMAP landing page lists the eligible training providers and the credentials Ohioans can earn under the program, along with examples of jobs each credential can help an individual obtain.

Ohio businesses interested in connecting with the Ohioans earning these credentials can contact the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation at


The Lt Governor also reminded Ohioans that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – also known as FAFSA – opens on October 1. All students, high school seniors, current students, and adults interested in attending or returning to college can complete the FAFSA. Each year, Ohio families miss out on available financial aid because they don’t complete the FAFSA.


There are 152,907 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,783 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,413 people have been hospitalized, including 3,274 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting

Cases by county in the Scioto Valley Region since the count began in March 2020: (Data compares Tuesday’s Report with Friday’s from the State’s COVID-19 dashboard which show 49 new cases in the 10 county region over the last 24 hours, the most being in Fairfield County (+14) and Scioto County (+12), with 5 new deaths reported, two in Ross County (26), and one each in Fairfield (54), Jackson (7) and Pickaway (45) Counties. 

REPORTED ACTIVE CASES: (Note: Ross County Health District does not include active cases in its reporting.) There are 450 active cases reported by the counties from their social media postings this week.

FAIRFIELD: 251 (9/29)

FAYETTE: 10 (9/29)

HIGHLAND: 15 (9/28)

HOCKING: 17 (9/28)

JACKSON: 34 (9/29)

PICKAWAY: 20 (9/28)

PIKE: 36 (9/28)

ROSS: No Report

SCIOTO: 66 (9/28)

VINTON: 1 (9/16)

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

Goodwill Opens New Store Thursday in Zane Plaza

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Goodwill of South Central Ohio opens its newest store October 1, 2020 in Zane Plaza next to Planet Fitness. Submitted photo

Goodwill of South Central Ohio will be opening its new store in Zane Plaza at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1.

The new store is located next to Planet Fitness in the former f.y.e. location. The 7,000 square-foot sales floor has been renovated and setup similarly to our new store on Western Avenue which opened in May. The Zane Plaza store is actually a relocation of the store in Shawnee Square which will close for good at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

“We anticipate the Zane Plaza store will be more convenient for those shopping the North Bridge Street corridor. We think customers also will enjoy the warm, modern feel of the store,” said Goodwill CEO Marvin Jones.

The opening will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. Thursday with the Chillicothe and Ross Chamber of Commerce. Donations will be accepted at the Zane Plaza store during business hours starting on Oct. 1 and should not be dropped off at the Shawnee Square location after Sept. 30. Both Chillicothe stores are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Goodwill of South Central Ohio is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of life and job opportunities for those with disabilities and disadvantages across our eight-county region. Donations and purchases made at our stores help to support workforce development and other services for those with disabilities in Pickaway, Ross, Hocking, Fayette, Pike, Athens, Vinton, and Jackson counties.

For more information on Goodwill, go online to and follow them on Facebook.

Litter Media Game of the Week: Smith Leads Cavs to 44-3 Win Over Miami Trace

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Click to watch Kam Smith’s 56-yard TD run.

Chillicothe’s Kam Smith ran wild including a dazzling scramble for a 56-yard touchdown in the second quarter as the Cavs earned a 44-3 win over Miami Trace Friday.

The victory was Chillicothe’s fourth straight win and sets up Frontier Athletic Conference championship game with the Jackson Ironmen October 2nd.

“Their defense played well and frustrated us” said Cavs Coach Doug Pryor. “We just had to figure things out and once we did, things really started to click. Just really happy for these guys.”

Smith finished the contest with 207 yards on 14 carries and a TD, he added 4-of-6 passing for 94 yards and a TD.

But Smith wasn’t the only bright spot for Chillicothe Friday. Taylin Scales averaged 10 yards per carry, with just over 100 yards on the ground with a score. Joel Barnes had a TD reception and Logan Snowden scooted 64-yards down the home sideline to score on a punt return.

While thing went well for Chillicothe, Miami Trace was trying to bounce back from a physical contest with Jackson last week, which saw their best running back Jayden LeBeau and best receiver Josh Gilmore on the injured list. Jerry Williams Panthers had a number of young kids in the battle. “We limped into this when we came here and we knew we’d have to find points and looked for someone to step up and it just didn’t happen” said Williams. “We have a bunch of young kids and they fought hard and they just have to learn how to persevere through some of these things and learn from these defeats like this in order to get better.”

Chillicothe’s Max Lee punched in from two yards out with 1:41 left in the first quarter. The Cavs followed with the spectacular run by Smith for a 14-0 lead.

The Panthers got on the board when Zack Warnock hit a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-3.

After that, it was all Cavaliers. Smith connected with Joel Barnes on a 61-yard bomb to go up 21-3 with 11.6 seconds remaining in the first half. Scales scored on a 7-yard run. Despite a bobbled snap resulting in a missed PAT, Jacob Coffland hit a 30-yard field goal for a 30-3 lead. Logan Snowden’s punt return made extended the lead to 37-3 and Oscar Morgan closed out scoring with a 1-yard run for the 44-3 final.

“You gotta give Miami Trace credit” said Pryor noting the Panthers were without some of their regulars in the lineup. “I know those guys woulda made a difference.”

Jackson (5-0/4-0 FAC) was a 48-7 victor over Hillsboro (0-5/0-4 FAC) to set up the FAC championship showdown Friday at Chillicothe’s Obadiah Harris Family Athletic Complex.

Miami Trace (3-2/3-1 FAC) will travel to Washington CH (2-3/2-2 FAC) Friday. The Blue Lions were 46-9 winners over McClain (0-5/0-4 FAC).

Chillicothe’s Tylin Scales rushed for just over 100 yards and a touchdown in Chillicothe’s 44-3 win over Miami Trace.

COVID-19 Update: Pike & Scioto Counties Level 3 Public Health Emergency

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Pike and Scioto Counties have been placed at Red Level 3 Public Emergency on the Public Health Advisory System map with very high exposure and spread.

DeWine stated Pike County’s case count had “more than doubled the past week, increasing from an average of one case per day on September 6th to an average of five per day on September 16th.” During the past two weeks, Pike County has had 49 cases and a total of 172 since March, 2020. “The county has 23 cases linked to a large event in a nearby county” said DeWine. “That large event resulted in dozens of contacts who have had to quarantine.” The Governor added Pike County has had a small workplace outbreak and some cases in the local schools.

The only other change among the 10 county area Litter Media has monitored since March, Fayette County has dropped to Yellow Level 1 Public Emergency.

As of Wednesday, the Pike County General Health District reported 52 active cases and a total of 191 cases.

Scioto County met four indicators and returns to Red Level having been placed at Level 3 in previous weeks. “The county has had 64 new cases during the past two weeks – that compares to a total of 480 cases since the beginning of the pandemic” said DeWine. “The county is also seeing a sustained increase in outpatient visits from COVID-like illness, again an early indicator, growing from seven average daily visits on September 9th to an average 24 visits on September 16th.” The Governor said the local Health Department reported several outbreaks in long term care facilities and at social gatherings such as weddings.

Pike and Scioto Counties join Ashland, Butler, Delaware, Mercer, Montgomery and Stark Counties now at Level 3. (Scroll down for the complete release from the Governor’s Office)

Statewide as of 2pm ET Thursday, September 24, 2020 (difference since Wednesday at 2pm ET): Ohio has 147,744 (+991) total COVID-19 cases with 127,239 (+1,216) presumed recoveries, 15,051 (+274) hospitalizations and 4,715 (+28) virus related deaths.

Cases by county in the Scioto Valley Region since the count began in March 2020: (Data compares Wednesday’s Report with Thursday’s from the State’s COVID-19 dashboard which show 35 new cases in the 10 county region over the last 24 hours, the most being in Fairfield County (+9), 2 new deaths reported, both in Jackson County (6). 


FAIRFIELD, (ORANGE/Level 2): 2,067 cases (+9), 1,810 recoveries (+14), 161 Hospitalizations (+0), 52 deaths (+0).

FAYETTE, (YELLOW/Level 1): 228 cases (+1), 201 recoveries (+3), 28 Hospitalizations (+1), 6 deaths (+0).

HIGHLAND, (YELLOW/Level 1): 222 cases (+0), 203 recoveries (+5), 26 Hospitalizations (+0), 3 deaths (+0).

HOCKING, (YELLOW/Level 1): 161 cases (+0), 141 recoveries (+2), 24 Hospitalizations (+0), 9 deaths (+0).

JACKSON, (ORANGE/Level 2): 246 cases (+5), 181 recoveries (+0), 27 Hospitalizations (+0), 6 deaths (+2).

PICKAWAY, (ORANGE/Level 2): 2,644 cases (+3), 2,474 recoveries (+7), 103 Hospitalizations (+1), 44 deaths (+0).

PIKE, (RED/Level 3): 179 cases (+5), 116 recoveries (+0), 18 Hospitalizations (+1), 0 deaths.

ROSS, (YELLOW/Level 1): 868 cases (+3), 765 recoveries (+12), 117 Hospitalizations (+0), 23 deaths (+0).

SCIOTO, (RED/Level 3): 489 cases (+7), 389 recoveries (+3), 50 Hospitalizations (+1), 6 deaths (+0).

VINTON, (YELLOW/Level 1): 47 cases (+2), 39 recoveries (+0), 9 Hospitalizations (+0), 3 deaths (+0) 

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


Governor DeWine today released Ohio’s updated Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that nine counties currently have a very high risk of exposure and spread: Ashland, Butler, Delaware, Mercer, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam, Scioto, and Stark.

Updated Map

A total of 67 counties stayed at the same level as last week, and Portage County dropped from Level 3 to Level 2.

A county-by-county breakdown outlining the presence of COVID-19 in all of Ohio’s 88 counties can be found on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s website.


Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio’s ResponsibleRestart guidelines for higher education will now include a recommendation that all residential colleges and universities regularly test a sample population of asymptomatic students.  

“Some schools are already doing this, and screening asymptomatic students really gives school leaders a good idea about virus spread on their campuses,” said Governor DeWine. “Our expectation is that colleges and universities will screen at least 3 percent of their at-risk population on a regular basis.” 

The updated ResponsibleRestart Ohio guidance will be posted to in the next few days. 


Governor DeWine announced two new health orders that will allow for indoor visitation at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities in Ohio.

Intermediate Care Facilities:

The Ohio Department of Health today issued the Director’s Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and to Permit Visitation. Intermediate care facilities for Ohioans with developmental disabilities can resume indoor visitation beginning on Monday, September 28, if safety standards outlined in the order are met. 

Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can begin allowing indoor visitation on Monday, October 12. This date was selected to allow adequate time for the facilities to prepare their physical plants, adjust staffing levels, update visitation policies, and communicate expectations with residents and families. 

Indoor visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities should only resume if certain safety standards are met. These standards will be outlined in a forthcoming public health order.

When visitation resumes, a Long-Term Care Facility Dashboard will be added to the COVID-19 data dashboard at where users can access facility-specific visitation information.


Lt. Governor Husted announced that the one-game-per-calendar-day limit on sports competitions has been removed from the current sports order, which will be available soon on

This change comes over a month after the most recent guidelines were published with evidence showing that events have gone on without any noticeable increase in spread.


Following a request from authorities in Cleveland, Governor DeWine today issued a proclamation to activate approximately 300 members of the Ohio National Guard to assist the Cleveland Police Department during the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday.

The deployed National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be activated as part of the National Guard Response Force and will assist police in areas such as traffic control, site security, and critical infrastructure protection.

The Ohio National Guard has provided support for similar events in the past, including the Republican National Convention in 2016 and several presidential inaugurations.


There are 147,744 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 4,715 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 15,051 people have been hospitalized, including 3,228 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.