Top doc targets young citizens
ODH director: Matter of when unvaccinated will acquire virus
Younger people in Ohio, most of them unvaccinated, are getting more serious cases of COVID-19, according to state officials.
“If you’re young and unvaccinated, it’s now probably only a question of when, not if, you get COVID-19,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said. “When you get COVID-19 without the protection of a vaccine, there is a very real risk you’ll end up in the hospital or the obituary pages.”
Vanderhoff joined Gov. Mike DeWine and various hospital officials from around the state for a Tuesday news conference about the COVID-19 pandemic and particularly its impact on younger people.
On Tuesday, 459 new COVID-19 hospitalizations were reported in the state, the most for a single day since Jan. 12 with 486, DeWine said.
“Even more startling is more younger people are being admitted to hospitals” with COVID-19, he said.
During the week starting July 4, 32 people under the age of 40 were hospitalized with COVID-19. That figure rose to 230 during the week of Sept. 5, the most recently completed reporting week, according to ODH data.
During that same time, there were 47 hospitalizations for those younger than 50 with COVID-19 compared to 398. The 398 during the week of Sept. 5 is the most ever during the entire pandemic, DeWine said.
“The bottom line is that we’re seeing our highest levels ever of hospitalizations among those under 50 years old,” DeWine said. “Those who are getting very sick, being hospitalized and dying of COVID are getting younger and younger. And it is because they are not vaccinated.”
Vanderhoff said, “The numbers should grab our attention.”
Among those at least 40 years old in Ohio, 73 percent are vaccinated compared with 35 percent of those younger than that age, DeWine said.
“Don’t become a statistic,” Vanderhoff said. “There is a safe alternative — get vaccinated.”
About 97 percent of all people in Ohio hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, DeWine said.
DeWine said he is considering offering financial incentives to get more people vaccinated. The state offered $1 million for five consecutive weeks, starting May 26, to those who had at least started the vaccination process.
DeWine said it worked well for about two weeks.
“We’re looking at these (vaccination) numbers, and it simply has to go up,” he said.
DeWine said he opposes a vaccination mandate.
Also, he said he won’t bring back a face-mask requirement even though he wants to impose one for at least public schools.
DeWine, a Republican, said if he imposed a mask mandate at public schools, it would be removed by the Republican-led state Legislature.
About 59 percent of public school students in Ohio are required to wear masks, and he encourages more to impose the mandate.
The 6,814 COVID-19 cases Tuesday is up from the daily average of 6,572 for the past 21 days, according to the ODH.
Tuesday’s total includes 343 cases in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties combined.
A little more than two months ago, all of Ohio was averaging about 260 cases a day.
The state had a total of 1,358,918 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with 1,209,460 presumed recovered and 21,596 deaths.
The ODH usually provides death information on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The state had 125 additional COVID-19 deaths since Friday, including two each in Mahoning and Columbiana and one in Trumbull counties.
Mahoning County had 26,831 total COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with 23,834 presumed recovered and 639 deaths.
Trumbull County had 19,790 total COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with 17,647 presumed recovered and 509 deaths.
Columbiana County had 11,617 total COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with 10,009 presumed recovered and 241 deaths.
There were 6,247,373 people, 53.45 percent of the state’s population, who had at least started getting inoculated as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, including 8,226 in the previous 24 hours, according to the ODH.
In Mahoning County, 51.58 percent of the population (117,951 people) had received at least one dose, with 49.33 percent of the population in Trumbull County (97,666 people) and 41.98 percent in Columbiana County (42,767 people) as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to the ODH.
There were 5,788,917 people, 49.52 percent of the state’s population,who finished the vaccinations as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, including 8,474 in the prior 24 hours.
In Mahoning County, 47.88 percent of the population (109,491 people) had completed the process, and 45.46 percent of the population in Trumbull (89,995 people) and 39.06 percent of the population in Columbiana (39,796 people) had as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.
COVID-19 by the numbers
The number of cases, changes in cases and deaths in counties in the region and statewide as of Tuesday:
County Cases Change since Change since Deaths
yesterday last week
Trumbull 19,790 +94 +697 509
Mahoning 26,831 +161 +983 639
Columbiana 11,617 +88 +585 241
Ohio 1,358,918 +6,814 +47,400 21,596
SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health