Ohio, Louisiana are latest states to issue stay-at-home orders

Louisiana National Guard members gather information from first responders and medical personnel at a COVID-19 coronavirus Mobile Testing Center, located at the Alario Center on Saturday, March 21, 2020 in Westwego, La. (Garrett L. Dipuma/Planet Pix/Zuma Press/TNS)
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By Mark Niquette and Hailey Waller Bloomberg News (TNS)

Louisiana and Ohio are joining California, Illinois and New York in mandating all residents stay at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a shelter-in-place order beginning Monday and going through April 6, when the state will re-evaluate the need for the restrictions.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide stay-at-home order that goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, as the state’s number of confirmed cases has topped 800.

Ohio’s order from the state’s health director takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, DeWine said. The order excludes essential activities, certain types of work including taking care of others, and essential businesses, he said.

DeWine had previously closed schools, bars, restaurants and other businesses and backed closing the polls in the state’s primary last week under a health emergency. But the outbreak has reached a new stage requiring more drastic actions, he said.

“We are certainly at war,” DeWine said at a press conference in Columbus. “In a time of war, we have to make sacrifices.”

While the order can be enforced by local health departments and law enforcement, DeWine said on Twitter that “we don’t look to see a bunch of people arrested” and that the order is meant to convey the seriousness of the situation.

Ohio has reported three deaths related to coronavirus with 351 confirmed cases on Sunday, an increase from 247 cases on Saturday.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce said it supports the order with the exceptions.

“Today’s announcement was made out of necessity and only as a last resort, and we applaud the governor for allowing businesses that perform essential operations or provide essential services, and those in their supply chains, to continue to operate in an as-close-to-normal manner as is practical,” Chamber President and Chief Executive Andrew Doehrel said in a statement.

Also on Sunday in Ohio, the state Board of Pharmacy approved a rule limiting prescriptions for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, drugs President Donald Trump is promoting for coronavirus treatment without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Ohio board approved the rule because of concerns the drugs won’t be available to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.

There has been a huge uptick in prescriptions of the drugs with hoarding, and “we need to make sure that they are being used in the most appropriate way,” DeWine said on Twitter.

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