COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine will be providing an update on COVID-19 in the state at 2 p.m., Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, April 21, a total of 1,058,395 (+1,789) cases had been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 55,323 (+138) hospitalizations and 7,682 (+12) ICU admissions. A total of 4,447,776 — or 38.05% of the population — had started the vaccination process, up 29,9298 from the previous day.
“The good news is we’re seeing what appears to be a plateau in cases,” DeWine said. “We’ll feel better when it really goes in a defined, downward direction. I don’t think we can say we’re there yet.”
Lucas County remains the top county in the state as far as the occurrence of spread of COVID-19 among the population with 357 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last 24 hours, 24,929 people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, a number DeWine said isn’t where he wanted it to be. In total, more than 4.4 million Ohioans have received their first dose.
“We had days that were 80 and 90,000 and we’re seeing certainly a significant decline in the number of first doses,” he said.
DeWine said more than 66,000 people received their second dose in the last 24 hours.
DeWine said that while Ohioans 65 and over are above at least 70 percent fully vaccinated, that percentage drops off significantly for residents 50 and under.
“One of the keys going forward is, obviously, is to get people 50 and under taking it at a higher rate than what we’re seeing so far,” he said.
Almost one-fifth — 18.6 percent — of 16 and 17 year olds in the state have received their first vaccine dose, DeWine said.
In its most recent update, the Department of Health reported an additional 42 deaths, bringing the state total to 19,033. The state is updating the total number of deaths only after death certificates have been processed, usually twice a week.
Ohio’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said that while vaccination numbers are going up and case numbers appear to be plateauing, the virus itself has become more contagious, leading to a better possibility of unvaccinated people ending up in the hospital. He added the new variants of the virus take less exposure to make someone sick.
The governor opened his Wednesday conference by addressing the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, calling the death of George Floyd a “great tragedy” and calling for unity.
“Our goal, my goal, all of our goal is to work every single day to bring us together as a people, to bring us together as a country,” DeWine said.
He then discussed proposals for police reform in the state, outlining steps that have been taken (the ban on using choke holds among state agencies) and steps that are scheduled to be introduced in the General Assembly, which include state databases to track use of force and officer discipline.
“We need to treat law enforcement as the professionals they are,” DeWine said. “In other professions, there are state regulations and state boards, disciplinary boards, that have the ability to suspend their licenses, pull their licenses. Law enforcement is a profession and we need to treat it as such.”
DeWine reported last week that Franklin County was returning to purple, or level 4, the highest level of disease spread in the community as determined by seven indicators by the Department of Health. It had been at level 3, or red, since December.
The governor and Ohio’s First Lady Fran DeWine visited PrimaryOne’s COVID-19 vaccination site at St. Stephen’s Community House in Columbus Tuesday.
“At St. Stephen’s, the do amazing work, helping everyone from young children all the way up to senior citizens and they’ve done that for over 100 years,” he said.
DeWine promoted Minority Health Month this month, saying the state and all local health departments throughout the state are working to ensure everyone in the state receives a COVID-19 vaccination if they want it.
And the state’s rate of cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period climbed to 200.0. Weeks ago, DeWine set a benchmark of 50 for lifting the pandemic health orders in the state. After case numbers initially declined, they have gone up the last three weeks.
Vaccination in Ohio, and across the country, is now open to those 16 and older.