COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates this week on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccinations Begin in Ohio
Gov. DeWine announced Monday that the first COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Ohio. Shipments of 975 doses were delivered to both The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and UC Health in Cincinnati. Several healthcare workers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients immediately received vaccinations.
“It was such a moment of hope to watch the healthcare workers begin to get vaccinated today,” Gov. DeWine said. “Today is the first day of a process that will continue over the months ahead as Ohioans who choose to be vaccinated have their opportunity to receive the vaccine. However, until the vaccine is widely available for all Ohioans who choose to receive it, we must continue to use all available tools to prevent the spread of the virus, like wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and washing your hands.”
As COVID-19 vaccines continue to come to Ohio, Cardinal Health’s OptiFreight Logistics business will help provide same-day delivery services. Once the vaccine is widely available, this partnership will allow Ohio to ship the vaccine to approximately 350 locations across the state.
On Tuesday, seven hospitals in Ohio received their first vaccine shipments, bringing the total number of vaccine doses delivered to Ohio between Monday and Tuesday to 98,475.
Governor and First Lady DeWine were present Tuesday for the delivery of the vaccine shipment to Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted visited OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus as they received their first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
In addition to the two aforementioned hospitals, COVID-19 vaccine shipments of 975 doses apiece were also delivered to:
Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital, Lucas County
Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County
Metro Health Medical Center, Cuyahoga County
Aultman Hospital, Stark County
Genesis Hospital, Muskingum County
An additional 975-dose shipment was delivered today to OhioHealth Riverside Hospital for use at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens.
Although vaccine supplies are currently limited, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has advised that Ohio will continue to receive vaccinations throughout the month of December. Next week, Ohio is expected to receive 123,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as 201,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. During the week of New Year’s, Ohio is expected to receive an additional 148,000 Pfizer vaccines and an additional 89,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
On Friday, as part of the federal program to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff, facilities in Ohio were among the first in the nation to receive vaccines through Walgreen’s, CVS, PharmScript, and Absolute Pharmacy. Ohio was invited by the CDC to participate in the scaling up of the federal program.
Nursing Home Vaccinations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has invited Ohio to participate in an early scaled launch of vaccinations in nursing homes. Ohio will begin providing vaccinations in five to ten nursing homes starting Friday, Dec. 18.
Ohio had previously been scheduled to start its nursing home vaccination program in partnership with pharmacy providers on Monday, Dec. 21.
Gov. DeWine announced that Ohio will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard in the coming days at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The dashboard will list the number of people vaccinated in Ohio and will be sortable by demographic and by county.
Ohioans continue to be hospitalized at record numbers. As of Tuesday, 5,296 patients are hospitalized throughout the state and 1,311 of those patients are in intensive care units. Ohio currently has more patients in the ICU than it had total for all COVID-19 hospitalized patients during the previous peak last summer. There are currently 863 patients who need a ventilator, as compared to 360 patients on ventilators a month ago.
“While there is good reason to be optimistic about Ohioans receiving the vaccine, we have our work cut out for us to slow the spread of the virus until enough Ohioans can be vaccinated,” Gov. DeWine said. “We must continue rallying together to prevent overwhelming our hospitals.”
Local Health Department Vaccination Guidance
Next week, local health departments in Ohio that registered as providers are expected to begin receiving vaccines. On Tuesday, Gov. DeWine outlined guidance on individuals who should be prioritized by health departments during Phase 1A.
Local health departments should coordinate the vaccinations of congregate care residents and staff, such as those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who are not enrolled in the federal long-term care pharmacy programs or are not registered as providers themselves. This includes people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers, as well as staff.
In addition, local health departments should prioritize vaccinating other healthcare providers who are not being vaccinated by hospitals and health systems and are not enrolled as providers themselves. These providers could include:
Home health workers
Emergency medical services responders
Primary care practitioners
Free-standing emergency department, urgent care, pharmacy, and dialysis center providers not vaccinated by hospitals or healthcare systems
Public health employees who are at risk of exposure or transmission, such as vaccinators
Mobile unit practitioners
Federally-qualified health center providers
High-risk ancillary health care staff members
Current Case Data
As of Thursday, Dec. 17, there are 596,178 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 7,894 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 33,745 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 5,382 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.