With the surge in vaccinations across the state, the recent decline in cases has plateaued.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The decline in COVID-19 cases in Ohio has plateaued as vaccinations rise rapidly across the state.
Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced in a press conference Thursday that while individuals 16 and older will not be technically qualified until March 29, they will be able to register for vaccine appointments on the nationwide portal that weekend.
As the number of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine increases, so does the number of vaccine doses, DeWine said. Next week, the state expects 571,460 doses of the three approved vaccine options, the most since vaccine distribution began.
MASS IMPINATION POINTS
Ohio will have 11 inpatient vaccination sites and four mobile clinics that will travel through specific regions of the state, DeWine said Friday.
One of these inpatient clinics is earmarked for the Lucas County Rec Center, which is expected to receive 5,000 doses per week. DeWine said this is expected to begin on Wednesday next week. However, specific details about these clinics will be announced in the coming days.
However, a schedule for the mobile clinics was released for April. DeWine posted the current calendar on his Twitter account during Thursday’s briefing and only made one stop in the region. A mobile clinic is scheduled to stop in Wyandot County on April 20 and visit both the Sycamore Event Center and Carey Public School.
The Ohio Northern Mobile Clinic will operate between Wyandot, Marion, Union, Logan, Crawford, and Hardin counties. pic.twitter.com/pECNjD7i0j
– Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 25, 2021
The spring break is just around the corner, and while the state is in a better place than it was in December, Ohio Department of Health officials are encouraging people to stay home.
The CDC advises that traveling can increase your chances of getting COVID-19.
If you decide to travel, ODH chief physician Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff that it is important to continue to follow the same protocols that have been in place since the coronavirus pandemic began, including:
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds
- Wearing a mask in public and around people who do not live in your home
- Keep a distance of six feet from each other
Vanderhoff said it would be best for anyone considering travel to get their vaccine first. However, he reminded people that it takes several weeks to build up immunity after vaccination.
If you go on a trip, limit your activities outside the home for a few weeks after your return and get tested immediately in case you develop symptoms of COVID-19.
On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health reported:
- 1,501 new cases of coronavirus compared to the 21-day average of 1,509
- 67 new coronavirus-related hospitalizations compared to the 21-day average of 88
- 5 new admissions to the intensive care unit for coronaviruses compared to the 21-day average of 9
DeWine previously announced that all public health orders would be dropped once the state hits 50 cases per 100,000 people. That number has steadily decreased since December and has not increased since January 13th. However, this week it increased slightly from the previous week and stood at 146.9. Last Thursday it was reported at 143.8.
However, that number is dramatically below when the state peaked in December. As of December 16, 2020, it was 845.5 cases per 100,000 people.
The total number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital is also increasing despite the lower number of admissions on Thursday.
On the same day, the total number of COVID positive patients in Ohio hospitals was 936. That number was 917 on Wednesday and 868 on Tuesday. The metric hovered for eight days in the mid-800s before slowing down into the 900s .
COMPLETE PRESS CONFERENCE
DeWine’s final press conference was on Monday when the total number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio topped 1 million.
Here is a breakdown of what was discussed.
EXTENDED PROPERTIES FOR VACCINES
Ohioans 40+ qualified for the coronavirus vaccine last Thursday, and while those 16+ won’t technically qualify until March 29, DeWine said if one provider can’t fill slots this week, they can do it for everyone if needed to open.
“What we don’t want are slots that aren’t filled. We don’t want a vaccine sitting there,” DeWine said.
This is not a change in policy, he said, it is an exception.
As a reminder, these 16 and 17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time. So far, no COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for children.
RELATED: Anyone Over 16 In Ohio Can Now Schedule A COVID-19 Vaccine When Slots Are Available, Gov. Mike DeWine Announces
Ohioans can find vaccination appointments near them by using the state’s centralized scheduling system online here.
However, DeWine noted that some Ohioans have difficulty finding or navigating the Internet. Therefore, additional staff were hired to manage the COVID-19 hotline.
Residents can call 1-833-5634 and someone can help them register.
NURSING HOME AND ASSISTED LIFE VISIT
DeWine announced changes to government visiting regulations in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, although some rules will remain in place.
Here’s a look at some general requirements that remain:
- Visitors must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the entrance
- The facilities must keep a visitor log in order to be able to follow up contacts
- Visitors must wear a mask and were their hands
- Visits must be planned in advance
Here are the changes DeWine outlined on Monday:
- Previously, a visit was allowed, not required. Now is DeWine require Nursing homes and assisted living must be visited if the criteria are met
- Vaccinated residents can use a mask to have physical contact with visitors
- Visiting is permitted in a resident’s private room; a separate visiting area is no longer required
- The viewing should be on one minimum of 30 minutes
- The list of examples of compassionate care visits is expanded to include 9 examples instead of the previous four on the state website
- Vaccinated staff are tested for the virus once a week, and non-vaccinated staff must be tested twice a week
However, it is important to note that if an outbreak occurs at the facility, the visit may be restricted.
DeWine said these facilities should continue to report on the visit dashboard and be aware of their county’s positivity rate.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Ohio exceeded 1 million on Monday. The milestone comes 378 days after the first cases of the virus were reported in the state.
The state had seen a steady decline in cases, but DeWine noted during Monday’s briefing that progress appears to be plateauing.
Regarding the daily data, the Ohio Department of Health reported:
- 1,444 new coronavirus cases compared to the 21-day average of 1,539
- 78 new coronavirus hospital admissions compared to the 21-day average of 87
- 13 new admissions to the coronavirus intensive care unit compared to the 21-day average of 9
The total number of COVID-19 positive patients in Ohio was 854 on Monday, a slight jump from Sunday. However, it is unclear whether this will be a long-term trend as this metric has remained relatively constant over the past seven days.
RELATED: COVID-19 in Ohio: State reports 1,444 new cases in the past 24 hours
DeWine said there are some concerns as our progress slows and neighboring states of Michigan and West Virginia begin to see upward trends in some areas.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, ODH’s chief medical officer, said that given the warmer temperatures and the previous trend to drop cases, people are more likely to lower their guard.
“But we haven’t reached the finish line yet,” he said.
Vanderhoff noted that although we get more and more vaccines into our arms every day, epidemiologists are also seeing more activity from these contagious variants.
Ohio has now identified 178 variant cases. In some ways, that number was 32 just two weeks ago.
BIDEN COLUMBUS VISIT
President Joe Biden will visit Columbus Tuesday. DeWine said that he intends to welcome him to the state when he arrives at the airport.
He noted that a private conversation is being held that will undo the state’s status in the fight against the pandemic.
RELATED: President Biden visits the Ohio State James Cancer Center on Tuesday
COMPLETE PRESS CONFERENCE