Ohio Department of Health: If You Are Unvaccinated, Be Careful

With Ohio’s long-running health restrictions now off for good, unvaccinated people who are tempted to return to normal and forget about the many months of cautious behavior are getting a warning from the Ohio Department of Health’s top doctor: Don’t do it. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer, Ohio Department of Health, began a briefing Wednesday with a reminder that Gov. Mike DeWine did as he said he would do with the health mandates.

“As Governor DeWine promised three weeks ago, the pandemic health orders have been lifted,” Vanderhoff said.

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Can I go back to doing what I did before the pandemic began?

The answer from Vanderhoff depends on whether or not you are fully vaccinated. Vanderhoff said his advice for people who are fully vaccinated that they can return to normal activities with little chance of contracting the coronavirus. For those who are not vaccinated, who make up nearly 60 percent of the state’s population, they should continue to wear a mask when they are near other people, especially indoors.

“If someone isn’t vaccinated they simply don’t have the same level of protection as the rest of us who are vaccinated,” Vanderhoff said.

Vanderhoff’s warning came just as Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 170, a federally funded plan to distribute funds to school districts to handle ongoing problems that resulted from COVID. It includes $787.3 million for Ohio school districts. DeWine pointed to one potential use for the money before adding his signature to the bill.

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“They can use this money to expand mental health services and mental health problems certainly have been acerbated by this pandemic,” DeWine said.

Also, with the restrictions being lifted, more of the state’s effort continues to be shifted to promotion of the coronavirus vaccine. As of Wednesday, 40.2 percent of the people across Ohio have been fully vaccinated. The age range with the highest level of vaccination is 70 to 74 at 78.3 percent. The age range with the lowest vaccination rate is 20-29 at 30.9 percent.