This story has been updated after receiving further information from Jared Warner, the Highland County Health Commissioner.
Highland County’s K-12 school employees had the chance Friday to receive a COVID-19 shot provided by the Highland County Health Department at the YMCA in Hillsboro. Health commissioner Jared Warner said the health department administered around 1,500 vaccine doses by the end of the week, and the county as a whole administered 2,000 doses.
“It feels great, especially after the frustrations of last week and the shipment delays and vaccine, being able to get back on track this week is really exciting … and today we’re focusing on our teachers, K-12, and all the other school staff. So, we’ve been in session for a long time and it’s good to have some extra protection for them so they can keep things going,” Warner said.
In addition, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) said Highland County schools did not have any Covid cases for students or staff this week.
Fairfield Locals Schools said on its website there were six students in the elementary school, one student in the middle school, two high school students and one member of district staff that had to quarantine.
Greenfield Exempted Village Schools said on its website that one member of staff needed to quarantine, and 10 students were required to quarantine.
Lynchburg-Clay’s website said six elementary students, one middle school student, one high school staff member and one district staff member needed to quarantine.
There was no new information for the Bright Local or Hillsboro school districts.
In other news, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state has relaxed some of its restrictions for sports and entertainment locations as long as they follow safety measures. Those locations will be allowed to reopen with 25 percent maximum indoor capacity and 30 percent maximum outdoor capacity if they use the precautions such as mask-wearing for employees and customers, spectator pathways that will allow social distancing as well as group seating in six-foot increments of no more than six people from the same household.
“The vaccines have given us great hope, but until we have enough Ohioans vaccinated, we must continue masking and social distancing,” DeWine said in a news release. “Easing up on some prevention measures is intended to serve as a starting point. If the trajectory of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continues downward, we hope to be able to relax more of these measures. If it gets worse, we may have to tighten up.”
DeWine also announced the launch of the state’s new health equity website which is housed at coronavirus.ohio.gov. The website, according to DeWine, will highlight “Ohio’s efforts to achieve equity in its pandemic response and provides resources to help communities, agencies, and organizations across the state join in those efforts.”
The website, called a Communications Resources Hub, offers print, digital, audio and video resources to help Ohioans educate whatever community they may be in about the COVID-19 vaccine. It will also have materials for specific groups like minorities and Ohioans who speak English as their second language.
DeWine said that next week, Ohio will get 310,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. He said that because of the increase in dosage, the state is adding new vaccine provider sites, such as Meijer and Walmart, as well as more independent pharmacies.
Some providers that currently receive vaccines can anticipate larger shipments, which include RiteAid, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, local health departments and hospitals. DeWine also said that when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is ready and available, Ohio will get an additional 91,000 does the first week.
According the ODH, the latest statistics have lowered four counties from a Level 3 Public Emergency to Level 2, those being Holmes, Mercer, Shelby and Williams.
Highland County stayed at a Level 3 Public Emergency, but its overall numbers continue to drop. The county, according to the ODH, has 222.42 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents. The county has, however, met a couple of other indicators, such as non-congregate cases and outpatient visits. Its emergency department visits have also gone up to a .43 seven-day average compared to Feb. 21 when it was at zero.
Also, as of Feb. 25, Highland County had the 15th highest case county per 100,000. It has had 3,254 cases of COVID-19, 171 hospitalizations and 55 deaths.
DeWine said there have been 962,404 confirmed and probable cases in Ohio since the pandemic began and 17,125 confirmed and probable deaths due.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2522.