Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statewide order Tuesday that will prevent water utilities from shutting off connections due to non-payment and will require them to restore service to those customers whose water has been disconnected.
The statewide policy has been in effect locally for several weeks. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced a moratorium on water shutoffs, alongside electric power shutoffs, on March 13
. As of Monday evening, the Cleveland Water Department had restored service to 575 customers.
DeWine said that water utilities will not automatically
restore connections. It will be the responsibility of customers to contact their local service provider. But utilities will be required to restore connections regardless of a customer's payment history. (DeWine said that customers will still be required to pay their bills.)
The goal of the order is to ensure that Ohioans, who have been ordered to remain in their homes for all but essential trips, have access to basic necessities.
DeWine also announced a new order that will require all organizations in the ventilator supply chain to provide regular updates about the number and location of available machines so that medical providers can easily locate devices that provide breathing assistance.
Manufacturers, distributors, hospital systems and all others who own or sell these devices will be required to report them every Wednesday at coronavirus.ohio.gov/ventinventory. (Individual ventilators owned for personal use are exempted from the order.)
Ohio's health director Dr. Amy Acton provided daily updates on the spread of COVID-19 in the state. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 2,199 confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio, with 585 hospitalizations and 55 deaths. Cuyahoga County led all state counties in total cases (527) and hospitalizations (129). Mahoning County has recorded the most deaths in the state, with nine.
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