COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Nearly 700,000 people in Ohio filed for unemployment in the last three weeks as the coronavirus pandemic continues to shake the economy, almost double the claims filed last year, according to the state.
A look at coronavirus-related developments on Thursday.
Nearly 700,000 people filed for unemployment in the last three weeks, the state Department of Job and Family Services said, almost double the 364,603 claims filed in all of 2019.
The 226,007 claims filed for the week ending April marked the second consecutive week that claims topped 200,000.
Ohio has paid more than $124 million so far to more than 195,000 people who have filed unemployment claims, Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall said on Wednesday.
Nationally, 1 in 10 members of the U.S. labor force are now out of work as 6.6 million file for jobless aid across the country.
In Ohio, the staggering claims data comes even as many employers are looking for workers.
Nearly 500 employers have posted more than 33,000 jobs including health care, protective equipment manufacturing, and food distribution positions, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said.
Seven Ohio prisons are under full quarantines, with 19 inmates and 53 employees having tested positive.
One prison guard died. Marion Correctional Institution, where guard John Dawson worked, also has the most staff infections at 34.
The governor has proposed the release of about 200 inmates to make room for more social distancing.
No violent or sex offenders would be released, nor would inmates with poor prison records or domestic violence convictions, or those who were previously imprisoned.
Ohio houses about 49,000 inmates.
More than 5,100 people in Ohio have tested positive for the virus and 193 have died, with nearly 1,500 hospitalizations as of Wednesday, according to the state health department.
Health Director Dr. Amy Acton is now predicting about 1,600 cases a day at the epidemic’s anticipated peak later this month.
The state has tested more than 53,000 people.
Mahoning County, whose county seat is Youngstown, leads the state with 28 deaths, followed by much larger Cuyahoga County with 23.
Men make up 66% of the deaths, and 34% are women.
For most people, COVID-19 displays mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can be more severe, causing pneumonia or death.