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Vaccination effort turns to colleges

While COVID-19 numbers continue to climb in Ohio, a new focus on vaccinations will begin as early as next week.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday college campuses will offer vaccinations to students who wish to receive them.

“We have the ability to do this with the Johnson & Johnson” doses, DeWine said. The push is to have as many college students as possible vaccinated by May 1, when many schools let out for summer, he said.

The decision to vaccinate on campuses will be for efficiency of distribution of the shots, and more students may be likely to opt for the vaccine due to proximity, DeWine said.

Younger demographics are “significant carriers” of the virus due to interaction, which is a reason behind the push to vaccinate on campuses, DeWine said.

Beginning April 12, any vaccine provider can take up to 25 percent of the vaccine allocation for that week to begin vaccinating their employees or to partner with unions or other businesses.

The number of vaccinations distributed statewide is approaching 3.5 million for the first dose of the vaccines, DeWine said, which is 29.74 percent of the total population. Wednesday, 89,000 first-dose vaccinations were distributed.

The push for more vaccinations comes as cases continue to climb.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoof, chief medical officer with the Ohio Department of Health, said in Ohio three variants of the virus are on the rise.

Zone 1, which stretches from Toledo to the Mahoning Valley, is seeing an increase in cases, with the border along Michigan a hot spot, Vanderhoof said.

For the state’s Public Health Advisory System, Trumbull and Mahoning counties are still at Level 3, red, and Columbiana County is Level 2, orange.

CASES

As of Thursday, the state reported 1,020,041 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 2,475 from the day before.

The 21-day reported case average is now 1,672.

There have been 53,169 hospitalizations, with 93 reported Thursday.

In the Mahoning Valley, nearly 100 cases were reported in 24 hours. Trumbull County saw an increase of 47 for a new total of 15,072. In Mahoning County, there are 20,275 cases, which is 42 more from the day before. Seeing an increase of six cases was Columbiana County, bringing the new total to 8,370.

Deaths as of Tuesday are 452 in Trumbull County, 575 in Mahoning County and 222 in Columbiana County. Statewide, there have been 18,609 deaths from COVID-19.

A presumed 968,057 have recovered. Locally, Trumbull County has a presumed 14,083 recovered; 19,113 presumed recovered in Mahoning County; and Columbiana County with 8,022 presumed recovered.

VACCINATIONS

On Thursday, the ODH reported in Mahoning County, 30.90 percent, or 70,656 people, have received at least one dose of the vaccines and in Trumbull County, 29.21 percent, or 57,833 people. In Columbiana County, 26,291 have started the vaccination, or 25.81 percent.

Statewide, there have been 2,006,372 completed vaccinations.

In Mahoning County, 43,981, or 19.23 percent, have completed the vaccination process, while 17.82 percent, or 35,284 people have done so in Trumbull County. In Columbiana County, 16.84 percent of its population, or 17,159 people, have completed their vaccines.

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