Coronavirus in Ohio Tuesday update: 1,709 new cases reported

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state. 

As of March 2, a total of 970,583 (+1,709) cases have been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 50,503 (+121) hospitalizations and 7,160 (+12) ICU admissions.

The ODH announced Tuesday that it would be changing the way it releases COVID-19 deaths in the state after a review of the process. Because of how the state processes death certificates, death totals will now be updated twice a week, rather than daily, on the state’s online coronavirus dashboard.

In February, the Department of Health announced the state’s COVID-19 death count was underreported by some 4,200, leading to the review.

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. Ohio Governor Mike 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.

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