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Ohio hospitals seeing fewer COVID cases as nearly 46% of state residents have at least one vaccine dose

The vast majority of Ohio's health orders were lifted on Wednesday.

CLEVELAND — As the state opens up, Ohio hospitals are seeing a big drop in COVID-19 cases. It's welcome news for many doctors, especially with the state's health orders finally being lifted more than one year after the pandemic began.

"The vaccine has been incredibly effective," Dr. Keith Armitage of University Hospitals told 3News

In fact, Armitage says not a single vaccinated person has needed oxygen while hospitalized at UH due to the coronavirus. Additionally, not one new COVID-19 patient has been admitted to the system in the last 48 hours. Currently, UH has 18 COVID patients as the state reopens on Wednesday.

"I'm really happy we are opening tomorrow," Armitage said. "From a mental health standpoint, economic standpoint, it's been so hard. I think enough people are protected. We are very unlikely to see a surge in the hospital and everyone who wants a vaccine has a vaccine."

According to the Ohio Department of Health, almost 46% of Ohioans have at least one vaccine dose. For those who aren't part of that group, Cleveland Clinic Dr. Daniel Culver says protocols, including masking and social distancing, should still be followed.

"I was just on hospital service this past weekend and a person came in unvaccinated with very severe disease and is in the ICU," Culver said. "I'm happy and excited that this is seemingly the light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we need to maintain some level of vigilance. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I don't think we can quite let our foot off the gas pedal yet."

It's important to remember that health care facilities are not included in the recent CDC and state of Ohio changes for vaccinated people, meaning masks are still required. Coverings are also mandated at places like nursing homes and on public transportation.