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DeWine announces new distribution steps

Elderly Ohioans not in care facilities, school employees next in line for virus vaccine

Starting Jan. 19, COVID-19 vaccines will be available to the general population, starting with those ages 80 and older.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday announced plans for distribution of the vaccines in the coming weeks, which are for “the most vulnerable and most at-risk” to be given the vaccine.

In addition to elderly Ohioans, schools employees also will begin getting the vaccine.

DeWine said on Jan. 19, the coronavirus vaccine will be available to individuals 80 and older who are not in nursing homes.

Vaccinations continue now in nursing homes and among front-line health care workers. This includes health care workers and personnel routinely involved in the care of COVID-19 patients, emergency medical responders and those who live and / or work in congregate settings, such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

The vaccine requires two doses.

DeWine said the age 80 and older group includes up to 450,000 residents, and the vaccinations may come from several sources, including physicians, hospitals and local health departments.

He said he expects to have roughly 100,000 doses for elderly Ohioans over the first several weeks.

PLAN EXPLAINED

DeWine said the current plan is to offer the vaccine in a step-like pattern, first to those 75 and older beginning Jan. 25, 70 years and older Feb. 1, 65 years and older Feb. 8 and so on, each week by a five-year age difference. He said this plan may change depending on the size of vaccine shipments.

DeWine said efforts also are being made to get the coronavirus vaccine readily available to Ohioans with congenital diseases and pre-existing conditions on Jan. 25.

Starting in February, the Ohio Department of Health also plans to vaccinate Ohioans who work in schools as an effort to get children back in classrooms by March.

DeWine said the goal is to have all students return to in-person learning by March 1.

He said for schools to have their employees be eligible, they have to indicate a return for in-person learning.

DeWine said district superintendents will be contacted individually for staff-size information and a plan to reopen schools.

Schools have been using a variety of learning models as COVID-19 has caused staff shortages among teachers, bus drivers and others. Some are fully in-person, some fully remote and others are using a hybrid model.

CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

DeWine also reported COVID-19 cases in Ohio continue to rise.

As of Jan. 7, Ohio reported a total of 753,068 cases — an increase of 10,251 reported in Ohio since the pandemic began — leading to 9,462 deaths — an increase of 94 — and 40,469 hospitalizations — an increase of 365.

Most of Ohio counties remain Level 3 (red) in latest coronavirus advisory map. No counties are Level 4 (purple).

In the latest map released Thursday, the state has 84 red counties and four Level 2 (yellow).

DeWine said all 88 counties remain well above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high incidence level.

There were no COVID-19 deaths reported Thursday in Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana counties.

The ODH reported 15,684 total COVID-19 cases in Mahoning County with 813 hospitalizations and 315 deaths.

Trumbull County listed 11,462 total COVID-19 cases with 20 hospitalizations and 278 fatalities.

Columbiana County had 6,498 total cases with 408 hospitalizations and 120 deaths.

COVID-19 by the numbers

The number of cases, changes in cases and deaths in counties in the region and statewide as of Thursday:

County Cases Change since Change since Deaths

yesterday last week

Trumbull 11,462 +109 +619 278

Mahoning 15,684 +155 +884 315

Columbiana 6,498 +68 +351 120

Ohio 753,058 +10,251 +52,688 9,462

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health

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