COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — Governor Mike DeWine announced during his Tuesday coronavirus briefing that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to quarantine when exposed to someone with the virus.
The governor clarified that a fully vaccinated person is someone who has either received both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine or the one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s and waited two weeks.
“By changing our health order, students 16 and 17-years-old who are vaccinated will be able to participate in sports and other activities, even when they have been exposed to someone with COVID,” said DeWine.
The changes will also apply to all adults, except those who are in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or other congregate care settings which will be outlined in a health order being released later today.
DeWine said nursing homes and assisted living facilities should continue following CDC guidelines when judging whether to quarantine.
While on the CBS program “Face the Nation” Sunday, DeWine said Ohio’s vaccination rate has dropped by half over the past three weeks. This comes after Ohio opened vaccinations to all adults less than a month ago.
DeWine acknowledged Tuesday that the downturn in vaccine interest was inevitable, seeing as almost 40 percent of the state’s eligible population has now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
The governor made it clear during his remarks that he hopes younger Ohioans are swayed to get vaccinated, if they were on the fence, now that they would not have to quarantine. He believes those involved in extracurricular activities in both high school and college will be more inclined to consider getting vaccinated if an incentive like this was on the table.
“I think that it’s probably because younger people feel invincible and they do know, its true they don’t get as sick as older people or die at a higher rate than older people,” said KHN Patient Safety Officer Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein. “They do still get sick and some of them will develop longhaul symptoms that will be very bothersome.”
Right now, the state’s battle plan against the virus is centered around the vaccine rollout.
“Vaccination is the way out of the pandemic,” said Dr. Weinstein. “It’s the way to open our economy again, get everyone back in school and get all of our normal activities back like they were before the pandemic hit.”
Until cases significantly drop and more Ohioans get vaccinated, DeWine and health leaders say health restrictions will remain.
“I’m fixated on getting more and more people vaccinated and I do believe once we get more people vaccinated we’ll see those numbers continue to go down.”
Health leaders agree with the governor’s decision to maintain the goal of achieving 50-cases per 100-thousand in order to erase all health restrictions.