DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — For the second week in a row, Ohio is reporting a drop in its statewide average for COVID-19 cases. To lift all health orders, the state must average 50 cases per 100,000, a goal Governor Mike DeWine says is not changing.
Right now, the state is currently averaging 155.6 cases per 100,000 people, but just two weeks ago, Ohio was averaging 200 cases. Health leaders say they support that decision to maintain health orders until we meet the governor’s goal but say it could take several weeks if not months to meet.
“I think we can get down to that goal of less than 50 per 100,000, it’s just going to take us longer if we don’t speed up the process of getting vaccinations,” said chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital Dr. Roberto Colon.
Health leaders say in order to see case rates decline, vaccinations must continue to increase. Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson says they had over 2,000 appointments available on Thursday, but only filled about 700.
“It’s certainly a much more difficult job at this point but we’ll continue to do it, if people want the vaccine we’ll continue to give it to them,” said Patterson.
According to state data, more than 460,000 doses were administered the last week of March but dropped to 370,000 two weeks later. Numbers dropped even further the week of April 17 to 221,000 doses administered. Health leaders say one factor in the decline was the pause of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
“It’s basically fear at this point or its people who aren’t plugged in and they think it doesn’t matter to me and it doesn’t matter whether I get a vaccine or not,” said Patterson.
Patterson estimates a vaccine will be available to every American citizen by July 1 and if the case rate doesn’t continue to decrease, the game plan will need to change.
“It becomes personal health, what we’re trying to do is public health and stop the spread of the disease but once people have it and decide to not take precautions by getting the vaccine, at that point we’re going to have to wait and sit with the guidance from the governor in the future,” said Patterson.