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‘Vax-2-School’ coming for younger Ohioans

DeWine unveils drawings for five $100K, 50 $10K scholarships

With a low number of younger people vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine said the state will run scholarships drawings to encourage those ages 12 to 25 to get inoculated.

But DeWine said Thursday: “I can’t guarantee this will work. But I think it’s got a good shot at working,” and, “It’s worth trying.”

The Ohio Vax-2-School drawings will be held weekly over a five-week period, starting the week of Oct. 11.

There will be five $100,000 scholarships and 50 $10,000 scholarships awarded, presumably one of the $100,000 awards and 10 of the $10,000 scholarships given each of the five weeks.

The awards could be used for Ohio colleges and universities as well as for career or technical education as well as job training, DeWine said.

Those eligible are Ohioans between the ages of 12 and 25 who already are vaccinated or get the vaccine before each of the drawings.

Only 46 percent of Ohioans between the ages of 12 and 25 are vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to about 73 percent of those over the age of 40, DeWine said. The minimum age to get vaccinated is 12.

The 27 days with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the state for children between the ages of 5 and 17 have been since school started a few weeks ago, DeWine said.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said: “We continue to see concerning figures about COVID-19 cases in our younger population.”

DeWine compared this new program to the Ohio Vax-a-Million drawings, which started May 26, and gave away $1 million per week for five weeks as well as full scholarships for those under the age of 18.

However, DeWine acknowledged that program increased vaccinations for only about two weeks.

DeWine contended the Vax-a-Million program was successful even though the number of people vaccinated quickly went down after it was announced.

“I’ve got to go for something that’s not a sure shot,” he said.

Like the previous giveaways, the money for this program will come from unused federal COVID-19 relief funds, DeWine said.

“This is money well spent,” he said.

If the federal money wasn’t available, DeWine said he would have been willing to use state dollars.

About 61 percent of all students in public schools are required to wear face masks indoors during the school day, DeWine said.

DeWine has the authority, but not the autonomy, to impose a mask mandate but refuses to do so.

DeWine, a Republican, said if he required one in public schools, it would be removed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

FRANKLIN’S PLEA

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said the number of cases, especially among those who are unvaccinated, is going in the wrong direction and is begging people to get their vaccinations.

“I’m asking for everyone to take this seriously,” Franklin said.

Trumbull County Combined Health District Director Frank Migliozzi said from May 24 to July 25, Trumbull County had 286 COVID-19 cases with no reported hospitalizations. However, from July 26 to Sept. 22, the county had 3,088 reported cases with 36 people hospitalized.

“This surge in cases is impacting our schools and workplaces, as well as our families, resulting in high absenteeism, workforce shortages and entire household members becoming ill,” Migliozzi said. “We are seeing the age of our cases and hospitalizations dropping to those under 50, where vaccination rates are much lower. The average age of persons in Trumbull with COVID-19 is 37.5 years old.”

Approximately 80 percent of Trumbull County residents 65 and older have been vaccinated. Only 33 percent of 12- to 18-year-olds have been vaccinated.

The combined health district offers vaccine clinics 5 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the Eastwood Mall. There will be a clinic 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 9 and Oct. 23.

“About 80 percent of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated and young people,” Dr. James Shina of Steward Medical Group said. “Vaccinations are safe and effective. Young people are being hit pretty hard.”

COVID-19 DATA

For the fourth day in a row, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state increased.

The 7,475 COVID-19 cases Thursday is up from the daily average of 6,580 for the past 21 days, according to the ODH.

Thursday’s total includes 373 cases in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties combined.

A little more than two months ago, all of Ohio was averaging about 260 cases per day.

The state had a total of 1,373,275 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday with 1,223,118 presumed recovered.

The ODH usually provides death information on Tuesdays and Fridays. There were 21,596 total COVID-19 deaths as of Tuesday.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased greatly, DeWine said.

In mid-July, about 200 patients were in Ohio hospitals with COVID-19, while the number now is 3,702, according to a Thursday letter from Mike Abrams, president and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association to DeWine.

Also, about two months ago, 1 of every 100 patients in Ohio hospitals had COVID-19. It’s now 1 in 6, Abrams wrote.

“Hospital and health care resources are not unlimited,” Abrams wrote. “When hospital resources, including staff, are stretched so thin, hospitals’ ability to care for patients can be compromised.”

Mahoning County had 27,127 total COVID-19 cases as of Thursday with 24,064 presumed recovered and 639 deaths.

Trumbull County had 19,983 total COVID-19 cases as of Thursday with 17,761 presumed recovered and 509 deaths.

Columbiana County had 11,800 total COVID-19 cases as of Thursday with 10,130 presumed recovered and 241 deaths.

VACCINATIONS

There were 6,262,492 people, 53.58 percent of the state’s population, who at least had started getting inoculated as of 6 a.m. Thursday, including 8,711 in the previous 24 hours, according to the ODH.

In Mahoning County, 51.69 percent of the population (118,212 people) had received at least one dose, while 49.45 percent of the population in Trumbull County (97,905 people) and 42.09 percent in Columbiana County (42,885 people) had as of 6 a.m. Thursday, according to the ODH.

There were 5,805,567 people, 49.67 percent of the state’s population, who finished the vaccinations as of 6 a.m. Thursday, including 9,899 in the prior 24 hours.

In Mahoning County, 48 percent of the population (109,772 people) had completed the process, while 45.61 percent of the population in Trumbull (90,290 people) and 39.19 percent of the population in Columbiana (39,925 people) had as of 6 a.m. Thursday.

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