COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine said that Ohio is expanding the pool of who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, among other updates he gave Monday on the pandemic. You can watch his comments in the player above.
As of March 1, a total of 968,874 (+1,452) cases have been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 17,346 (+49) deaths, and 50,382 (+103) hospitalizations. A total of 1,687,834 residents — or 14.44% of the population — has started the vaccination process.
The first doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Ohio this week, giving the state an additional option on top of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. DeWine said the state will receive 448,390 doses of vaccine to be administered this week — including 96,100 from Johnson & Johnson — by far the greatest number since vaccinations began in December.
With more vaccine available, DeWine said the state is expanding who is eligible for it. Starting Thursday, all residents 60 and older will be eligible, up from those 65 and older. Also becoming eligible are people with Type 1 diabetes, those who are pregnant, bone marrow transplant recipients and those with ALS. In addition, people in certain occupations — childcare services, funeral services, and law enforcement and corrections officers — will become eligible, too.
DeWine said the group includes an estimated 900,000 residents.
The state is concluding its efforts to vaccinate the school workforce after DeWine set a target date of March 1 for schools to be open to, at minimum, partial in-person learning. DeWine said over 90% of districts met that deadline, with only eight remaining on complete distance learning.
And of those eight, DeWine said seven are making progress on plans to reopen in the next several weeks. In January, half of the state’s schools were on complete distance learning, DeWine said. The vaccination program included some 200,000 teachers, support staff and others.
Last week, Ohio schools showed their fewest number of cases since October.
The Ohio Department of Health reported that it is reconciling death totals, which will cause a fluctuation in numbers over several days.