COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
As of Thursday, Dec. 31, a total of 700,380 (+9,632) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 8,962 (+107) deaths and 38,334 (+332) hospitalizations. The ODH says no numbers will be released Friday in observance of the holiday.
On Wednesday, DeWine said he was extending a statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Jan. 23.
DeWine continued to push for ways to reopen schools to complete in-person instruction. He has included school-building personnel in the next wave of COVID-19 vaccinations, expected to begin in January.
Now he is permitting schools to not have students quarantine if they were in close contact with another student who tested positive for COVID-19. DeWine said the state is breaking away from CDC guidelines based on research the state conducted that shows such students are not at a higher risk of getting sick as long as they were wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
Schools have been using a mix of instruction models during the pandemic, including fully remote and hybrid models, as they have had to adapt to illnesses among staff members. Last week, DeWine said his goal is for schools to be able to reopen to complete in-person instruction by March 1.