‘We’re moving in the right direction;’ DeWine says on current case numbers

Following a spike in COVID-19 cases earlier in the year, the state of Ohio continues to move in a downward, positive direction in terms of new cases, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a news conference Monday.

The state reported under 1,000 cases again Monday, also another day below the running three-week average.

“We are moving in the right direction, in terms of cases,” DeWine said.

Additionally the cases per 100,000 metric fell again for another week of declines. As of Monday, Ohio stands at 147.9 cases per 100,000. This metric remains the one that will determine when Ohio will remove health orders. The state needs to reach 50 cases per 100,000 for two weeks before DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health will remove COVID-19 health orders.

DeWine said he and his team are still going to use the cases per 100,000 metric to guide the potential removal of the state’s health orders, however there have been discussions to switch the judging metric to vaccination rates like other states. While those discussions have been made, the state has no plans to change the metric.

>>Gov. DeWine announces no more quarantining for fully-vaccinated Ohioans

The following announcements were made during the news conference:

  • DeWine announced a new order for workers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Fully vaccinated employees at these centers are now exempt from being tested for COVID-19. Unvaccinated staff will still need to be tested twice a week. DeWine said the new order is compliant with federal guidelines and regulations.
  • The state’s department on aging and state health department created a new playbook that will help get vaccines to homebound individuals. The playbook to help those homebound people is available on the state’s coronavirus website.
  • Hospitalizations are still on a downward trend over the last week. Currently 1,140 people are in Ohio’s hospitals for treatment of COVID-19.
  • DeWine highlighted two area public health departments and their efforts to bring vaccines into neighborhoods. Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County has started a program to use a transit bus to deliver vaccines directly to neighborhoods. Clark County Combined Health District was also highlighted by DeWine for their program with a purchased box truck that’s also used as a mobile vaccine clinic.
  • DeWine added that creativity on the parts of local health departments, like the programs created by PHDMC and CCCHD will be vital to continue to get more vaccines to more people and get the vaccine rate to 50 percent and higher. Currently the state sits just over 40 percent of the population who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
  • Ohio’s main mass vaccine site at Cleveland State is now accepting walk-ins for vaccine shots.
  • DeWine was asked about a national media report regarding the difficulties of the nation getting to herd immunity. He acknowledged the difficulties facing the county including vaccine hesitancy but said the state’s goal is to continue to promote vaccines and vaccine safety to help get closer to herd immunity.
  • DeWine said he doesn’t believe herd immunity is unattainable in Ohio. He again emphasized the best way people can protect themselves, regardless of herd immunity, is for individuals to choose to get vaccinated.
  • DeWine said there are no plans for the state to just throw in the towel on vaccination efforts, even as vaccine rates significantly slow. DeWine said its the goal of his team to continue to find creative ways to promote vaccine safety and get more shots in arms.
  • DeWine said he continues to see the plausibility for more fans to attend outdoor sporting events, including returning to full capacity by the summer.