COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
As of March 16, a total of 992,223 (+1,883) cases had been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 51,756 (+114) hospitalizations and 7,277 (+10) ICU admissions. A total of 2,430,893 Ohioans — 20.80% of the state’s population — have started the vaccination process.
The Department of Health is updating the total number of deaths only after death certificates have been processed, usually twice a week. The ODH reported Tuesday a total number of 18,114 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Tuesday morning that eligibility will open Friday for those 40 and older and as well as those with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart disease and obesity. On March 29, eligibility will open to those 16 and older.
DeWine has said he will lift all state health orders related to the pandemic once the state achieves a rate of 50 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period. He said the state is currently at 155.0, down from a peak in December of 845.5.
With case numbers declining, DeWine said that county fairs can proceed this year. Social-distancing and mask-wearing will be required as long as the health orders remain in place. And he said for high school spring sports that student-athletes will no longer be required to quarantine if there is incidental exposure to a positive case in the classroom.
On the updated map for the Public Health Advisory System, Franklin County and its surrounding counties remained at level 3, or red. A total of 21 counties were at level 2, or orange, and one county, Meigs, was at level 1, or yellow. The remaining counties were at level 3.
Vaccines are now available to those 50 and older, those in certain occupations and those with certain medical conditions:
- People with ALS
- Bone marrow transplant recipients
- People with type 1 diabetes
- People with type 2 diabetes
- Pregnant women
- People with end-stage renal disease
- Those employed in child-care services
- Those employed in the funeral services industry
- Law enforcement and corrections officers
A state portal for scheduling vaccinations has been launched. Users can search for vaccine locations by city, county or ZIP code and find links to make appointments.