All posts by Mike Smith

Ohio Funeral Directors, Workers Urgently Seek Immediate Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

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Today, the Ohio Funeral Directors Association (OFDA) strongly urged Governor DeWine and leaders in his administration to ensure Ohio’s funeral directors and their employees to be given immediate access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) and CDC’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) both recommended that death care workers be placed into Phase 1a for vaccine allocation.

According to an October 2, 2020 publication by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), “morticians, funeral home workers, and other death care professionals involved in handling bodies” were to be included in the highest-priority Phase 1A Population of High-Risk Health Workers, along with healthcare clinicians and staff and first responders.

The following statement can be attributed to OFDA executive director Melissa Sullivan:

“We appreciate and acknowledge the leadership of Governor Mike DeWine and his administration in dealing with this devastating pandemic. We recognize that physicians, nurses, long term care residents and staff deserve first priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. However, when retrieving those who died as a result of the coronavirus from our hospitals and nursing homes, these men and women in the death care industry are also on the front line of this pandemic. They are putting themselves in harm’s way daily.

Although some protection is provided through PPE, exposure continues as they prepare bodies for disposition, console surviving family members, and greet those attending services. Unlike most other public gatherings, Ohio placed no limits on attendance at funerals forcing funeral home personnel to deal with large numbers of attendees, some of which do not comply with masking or social distancing requirements.

While funeral directors do comply with CDC guidelines and state orders, the potential for being a hub for the spread of this virus is genuinely concerning. Just as has been done in every other state surrounding Ohio, and 38 states in total, we strongly urge the Governor to correct this oversight as soon as possible and amend Phase 1B to include funeral directors, embalmers, and their staff for immediate vaccine distribution.”

Higher Seeds to Host BKB Tourneys through District Semi’s; Boys Tournaments Won’t Include The Convo

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An official with the Southeast District Athletic Board has confirmed that no neutral sites will be used for girls and boys tournament basketball until the district championship games.

Southeast District Athletic Board member Mark Rose confirmed to Litter Media’s Mike Smith on Tuesday, that girls and boys sectional tournament basketball games will be hosted by the higher seeded teams in the sectional through district semis.

This will limit the number of teams at any one game site to only two teams, much like what was done during last fall’s volleyball tournament matches to limit the number of participants and fans to the COVID-19 virus.

Rose says the district is seeking neutral sites for the various district basketball championship games and said the district board has ruled-out the used of the Ohio University Convocation Center.

State guidelines limit the number of fans and sporting events to 15% of a gymnasiums’ seating capacity or a maximum of 300 people.

Girls tournament seeds will be released Sunday, January 31st with the boys on the following Sunday.