COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
As of March 2, a total of 970,583 (+1,709) cases have been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 50,503 (+121) hospitalizations and 7,160 (+12) ICU admissions.
The Department of Health is reporting 16,750 deaths from COVID-19 in Ohio, which is down from the 17,346 listed Monday as the department changes how it collects and reports death totals.
Deaths will now be counted only off of death certificates instead of reports from hospitals, urgent-care centers and local health departments. A backlog in reconciling those two sources of information led to deaths being underreported by 4,200 for weeks until the problem was discovered in February.
The first doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived Tuesday, giving the state an additional option on top of the two-shot vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Gov. Mike DeWine said the state will receive 448,390 doses of vaccine to be administered this week, by far the greatest number since vaccinations began in December.
With more vaccine available, DeWine said the state is expanding who is eligible for it. Starting Thursday, all residents 60 and older will be eligible, up from those 65 and older. Also becoming eligible are people with Type 1 diabetes, those who are pregnant, bone marrow transplant recipients and those with ALS. In addition, people in certain occupations — childcare services, funeral services, and law enforcement and corrections officers — will become eligible, too.
DeWine said the group includes an estimated 900,000 residents.
The state has concluded its efforts to vaccinate the school workforce after DeWine set a target date of March 1 for schools to be open to, at minimum, partial in-person learning. DeWine said over 90% of districts met that deadline, with only eight remaining on complete distance learning.
And of those eight, DeWine said seven are making progress on plans to reopen in the next several weeks. In January, half of the state’s schools were on complete distance learning, DeWine said. The vaccination program included some 200,000 teachers, support staff and others.
Last week, Ohio schools showed their fewest number of cases since October.