COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine provided several updates Thursday on COVID-19 in Ohio, including that more doses of vaccine are on the way.
As of Feb. 25, a total of 962,404 (+2,409) cases have been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 17,125 (+80) deaths, and 49,951 (+163) hospitalizations. A total of 1,530,823 residents — or 13.1% of the state’s population — have started the vaccination process.
DeWine said the state will receive more doses of vaccine from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna starting next week, and more pharmacies will start offering vaccinations. He said 310,000 first doses of the two-step vaccines will be available next week, and the state is adding sites at Meijer, Walmart and independent pharmacies in addition to the current sites at Kroger, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, local health departments and hospitals.
And he shared information about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is awaiting approval from the federal government. Once approved, DeWine said the state will receive 90,000 doses the first week and then slightly less the next two weeks. But he emphasized that those 90,000 doses are not being counted in the 310,000 for next week, meaning more and more doses will soon be available to Ohioans. The option from Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine.
DeWine said that sports venues will soon be allowed to open to 25% capacity for indoor events and 30% for outdoor events. Masks will be mandatory and people will be seated in groups no larger than six. But DeWine said he is a step toward a return of outdoor events such as county fairs, with those safety protocols still being worked out.
There were eight counties at level 2, or orange, on the new public health advisory map, up from four a week ago. The orange counties are Gallia, Hocking, Holmes, Mercer, Monroe, Shelby, Vinton and Williams. Five of those counties are no longer considered high incidence for disease spread by the CDC; the other three, still considered high incidence, are Holmes, Gallia and Monroe. The remaining 80 counties are at level 3, or red, and are considered high incidence.
Ohio schools showed their fewest number of cases since October last week. Vaccination of the state’s school workforce is expected to conclude early next week.
The Ohio Department of Health reported that it is reconciling death totals, which will cause a fluctuation in numbers over several days. The state is also continuing efforts to vaccinate residents 65 and older and those with certain medical conditions.