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'Crossing the bridge': Gov. Mike DeWine reports optimism in Ohio's battle with COVID-19

DeWine points to an increase in COVID-19 vaccine doses and declining hospitalization numbers as reasons to look forward to the upcoming months.

CEDARVILLE, Ohio — As we prepare to turn the calendar to March next week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's attention is moving ahead to the next phase of the state's battle against COVID-19.

During his Thursday briefing, DeWine laid out the reasons why he's optimistic that Ohio will be able to loosen regulations for the upcoming spring and summer months.

"Next week, we will have 310,000 first doses in Ohio, so we will be adding more vaccine provider sites -- including some Meijer and Walmart sites and more independent pharmacies. RiteAid, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, local health departments, hospitals will also have more doses," DeWine stated.

In addition, Johnson & Johnson is expected to have their coronavirus vaccine approved by the FDA in the coming days. "We believe, based on information from the federal government, that once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available, Ohio will have another 91,000 doses during the first week," he stated.

"Our pathway out of this, the bridge, is two things: Continue to wear masks and all of us get vaccinations," DeWine added.

The announcement about the doses coming to Ohio comes as the state continues to vaccinate teachers and staff at schools. DeWine reported Thursday that all doses requested by schools through the state’s vaccination program have been allocated to local providers. Some school staff members have already received their second dose, and other second dose clinics are underway.

Numbers also show that COVID hospitalizations in Ohio are down overall, especially for those 80+. "In December, this group made up more than 25% of COVID hospitalizations. This month, that number has dropped to about 18%," said DeWine.

DeWine says Ohio is seeing a decline in coronavirus cases among nursing home residents. There were 369 new nursing home cases this past week compared to 2,832 new cases in one week in December.

"We're now crossing the bridge," the governor said. "And I'm happy we're here."

You can watch Gov. DeWine's Thursday COVID-19 briefing below:

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