COLUMBUS, Ohio — When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine? Where will one be available? How can I make an appointment? Those are all questions Ohioans have been asking as more people become eligible throughout the state. As Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a briefing on the COVID-19 situation during a press conference on Tuesday, the vaccination process was indeed his main focal point once again.
Here’s what happened during Gov. DeWine’s Tuesday COVID-19 briefing:
Dating back to November, Ohio has been under a 10 p.m. curfew in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). With the state's coronavirus trends having decreased in recent weeks, DeWine has announced new criteria for the state to push back and ultimately remove its curfew.
DeWine said that Ohio's curfew will be pushed back to 11 p.m. for two weeks if its number of hospitalizations remains below 3,500 for seven consecutive days. DeWine stated that the Buckeye State could meet this threshold as soon as this coming Thursday.
Subsequently, should Ohio manage to remain below 3,000 hospitalizations for seven straight days, its curfew will then be pushed back to 12 a.m. for a two-week period. After that, if Ohio can keep its hospitalizations under 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the curfew would be lifted altogether.
VACCINATIONS OF SCHOOL STAFF TO BEGIN THIS WEEK
DeWine announced that the state was proceeding a bit ahead of schedule and will begin vaccinating school employees starting later this week. Employees of the Cincinnati Public Schools will be first to get vaccines.
"Many other districts will begin next week, but we do not have enough vaccine to begin all schools on February 1," DeWine said. However, the governor did add that the state's ultimate plan is that anyone who works in a school in Ohio will have the opportunity to get their first shot in the month of February.
Schools that will get vaccines next week have already been contacted. All other schools should expect to be contacted by Friday with more information.
DeWine says Ohio has been averaging about 146,000 1st doses coming into the state every week. As Ohio begins finishing up Phase 1A, more doses will be available for those in Phase 1B.
Because Ohio is not drawing down all the vaccine doses that the federal government required the state to set aside for nursing homes (because not all residents/staff are choosing to receive the vaccine), DeWine says Ohio will have another 77,000 doses over the next 2 weeks to distribute in the community.
VACCINE PROGRESS REPORT
DeWine shared some statistics on Tuesday on how well the state is vaccinating people in certain settings.
- Ohio has 953 nursing homes in Ohio. The state is 2nd in the nation for the number of people vaccinated in nursing homes.
- State-run developmental centers: 89% of residents have accepted the vaccine.
- State-run psychiatric hospitals: 73% of long-term patients have accepted the vaccine.
- State-run veterans homes: 92% of veterans have accepted the vaccine.
- Those with developmental disabilities but not in state-run facilities: 5,500 people have been vaccinated so far.
SENIOR HOUSING VACCINATIONS
In what DeWine referred to as the 'pursuit of fairness and equity in the distribution of the scarce vaccines,' starting February 8th, the state will be taking the vaccines directly into affordable senior housing locations. This type of senior housing is home to several thousand older Ohioans throughout the state.
"The threat of serious illness and death from COVID-19 is high in affordable senior housing settings due to the age of residents, the ease of spread in clustered housing complexes, the isolation of many residents who may not have access to information about how to get the vaccine," DeWine explained.
DeWine added that the state is working with local partners to offer assistance through onsite clinics. "These clinics will help ease the burden for many seniors having trouble with the registration process and arranging transportation," he added.
In advance of clinic day, health officials will provide an onsite clinic resource guide with materials to educate residents about the vaccine, advertise the clinic day, and sign individuals up for appointments for the clinic.
For the third straight day, Ohio health officials have reported less than 5,000 new COVID-19 infections. On Tuesday, the state reported 4,262 new cases with 88 new deaths and 295 new hospitalizations.
You can watch Tuesday's entire briefing in the player below: