COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine provided the following updates this week on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. DeWine on Tuesday announced a new plan for Ohio’s 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that is contingent on the hospital utilization statewide.
The Ohio Department of Health has recommended that Ohio’s curfew be amended to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. when COVID-related hospital utilization drops below 3,500 for seven consecutive days. As of Thursday, hospitalizations have been below 3,500 for the past seven days. Ohio’s curfew was amended on Thursday and will be in effect from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for at least two weeks.
If hospital utilization subsequently drops below 3,000 for seven consecutive days, Ohio’s curfew would be amended to 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. for at least two weeks. If hospitalizations drops below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the Ohio Department of Health would recommend lifting the curfew.
If, at any point, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations begins to rise, health officials could reinstitute the appropriate curfew measures.
“When our COVID hospitalizations are above 2,500, which is more than three times Ohio’s peak in a typical flu season, our hospitals strain in their ability to deliver other care, especially routine diagnostic and procedural care,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health. “When cases are above 3,500, our hospitals are highly stressed as evidenced by local and regional diversions and the greater need for transfers.”
Ohio has been averaging about 146,000 first doses coming into Ohio every week. As Ohio’s Phase 1A begins to wind down, more doses will be available for those in Phase 1B.
Ohio is second in the nation for the number of people vaccinated in nursing homes, however, because not all residents and staff are choosing to receive the vaccine, Ohio will begin directing approximately 77,000 vaccines set aside to use in nursing homes to others in Phase 1A and 1B.
Ohio has put focus on vaccinating members of the public living in congregate settings because these individuals are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. In Ohio’s state-run developmental centers, 89 percent of residents have accepted the vaccine; 73 percent of long-term patients in state-run psychiatric hospitals have accepted the vaccine; a total of 92 percent of veterans in state-run veterans homes have accepted the vaccine. Of those with developmental disabilities not living in state-run facilities, 5,500 people have been vaccinated so far.
K-12 Staff Vaccinations
Every public school district in the state – except for one – has agreed to resume in-person schooling by March 1 which was a requirement for staff to have early access to the vaccine.
K-12 schools whose staff can be vaccinated next week have been notified. This list does not include Preble County. All other schools will be contacted on Friday, Jan. 29 with information on when their K-12 staff will be permitted to receive a vaccine.
More details on Ohio’s K-12 vaccination process will also be released on Friday. The plan ensures that the maximum number of people can be vaccinated in the shortest amount of time. The plan also makes the process as simple as possible for staff to be vaccinated and is organized to allow most K-12 staff in a county to be vaccinated within seven days of their assigned vaccination start date.
Pandemic Impacts On K-12 Students
Ohio has prioritized getting K-12 students back in schools by March 1 because many adolescents’ social-emotional and mental well-being has been impacted by the pandemic.
“We know some of our students have not been in the classroom in months – it’s taking its toll,” Gov. DeWine said. “For some, remote learning works, for others, it doesn’t. We are in danger of too many kids struggling for too long if they don’t get back to school in person.”
“School is community for our youth,” said Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss. “It benefits kids so much more than academic content. It’s the social and emotional connections that kids feel with friends, classmates, extra-curriculars, teachers, and more.”
According to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the change of routine and the constant uncertainty of the pandemic produces anxiety, and the disconnection from learning, emotional, and social supports can lead to depression. In addition, missed significant life events like graduations, proms, art performances, science competitions, sports, and more can result in grief.
Families and friends should reach out for help if a young person is:
- Talking about feeling hopeless;
- Worrying about being a burden;
- Feeling like there’s no reason to live;
- Using drugs, alcohol or engaging in other risky behaviors;
- Struggling with school;
- Disconnecting from family and friends.
Trained counselors with Ohio’s CareLine are available 24/7 at 1-800-720-9616. They can help with a crisis, provide guidance, and connect callers to help in the community.
Senior Housing Clinics
Gov. DeWine announced Tuesday that, in pursuit of fairness and equity in the distribution of the scarce vaccines, Ohio will be delivering vaccines directly into affordable senior housing locations starting the week of Feb. 8. These senior housing facilities are home to several thousand older Ohioans throughout the state and are often residential clusters with apartment buildings ranging in units from 30 to over 200.
The Ohio Department of Health will be working with local partners to offer assistance through onsite clinics. These clinics will help ease the burden for many seniors having trouble navigating the registration process and arranging transportation.
Current Case Data
As of Thursday, Jan. 28, there are 883,716 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 11,006 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 45,786 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 6,644 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.