COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine provided several updates Tuesday on vaccine distribution and the coronavirus pandemic in Ohio.
As of Dec. 15, a total of 579,357 (+8,755) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 7,654 (+103) deaths and 32,878 (+614) hospitalizations. There were 5,296 people currently in hospitals, including 1,311 in ICUs.
DeWine was both pleased by the arrival of the vaccine and concerned about the high rate of spread of the virus in the state. Several state health orders, such as a 10 p.m. curfew and a mask order for retail businesses, remain in effect to try to curb the spread.
“We’ve got to deal with this ourselves,” he said. “This vaccine is not going to cover enough people quick enough to get us out of this. I mean, eventually, it will. We’re at a very, very high rate today, and the rest of December — January, February — are probably going to be hell unless we turn this thing around.”
After two Ohio hospitals received shipments of vaccine on Monday, seven more received them on Tuesday. Among the hospitals that have received vaccine shipments are Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus.
DeWine said by Christmas that 420,000 vaccine doses from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna will have arrived in the state, with an additional 237,000 scheduled to arrive New Year’s week.
“The arrival of the vaccine, it is signaling to us that we’re being able to pivot from just being able to play defense to now having an offensive and a defensive game,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health. “But we can’t stop playing defense. Wear a mask, keep your distance if we want to win this game.”
During his briefing, he brought on medical personnel, some of whom have already received their first dose of the two-step Pfizer vaccine, and in one case, he showed a front-line nurse as she was vaccinated, as he works to build public trust in the new treatments.
DeWine watched the shipment arrive Tuesday at Springfield Regional Medical Center, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted watched it arrive at Riverside. When the first shipments arrived Monday, DeWine said it was a “a great day. It’s a very, very happy day.”