Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that anyone age 50 and over will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting on March 11 in. In a news release DeWine called it Phase 2B, with Phase 1D also starting on March 11, encompassing those with Type 2 Diabetes and end-stage renal disease.
Cases for COVID-19 have now dropped to a 14-day average of 183.04 cases per 100,000 residents in Highland County, according to a March 5 update from the Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner. He also said the seven-day average is about 130 per 100,000 residents.
Warner also commented on one of DeWine’s updates that said all health restrictions would be lifted when Ohio gets to 50 or less cases per 100,000 as a 14-day average for COVID-19, stating some counties have already reached that goal. He said the last time Highland County was below 50 cases per 100,000 was Nov. 3 of last year.
“I won’t predict when we will reach this threshold again, but I can tell you that many top epidemiologists are still predicting an increase in cases in the next 4 to 6 weeks due to the UK B.1.1.7 variant emerging in the US,” Warner said in a post on the Highland County Health Department’s Facebook page. “We have seen this type of surge occur in several countries in Europe, though it occurred in many locations before vaccination efforts were very widespread.”
Warner said Ohio currently has 22 identified cases of the B.1.1.7 strain, and that he hopes a spike doesn’t happen. He also said it is possible that if there is a spike for the B.1.1.7 strain, the increased Ohio vaccination rates could help stave off the size of a spike.
DeWine announced that Ohio’s centralized scheduling website is now available at https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/. He said the website will be a “singular location” where Ohio residents can confirm if they’re eligible to get the vaccine, look where they can receive it and schedule vaccine appointments.
“As we continue to receive more vaccines, having a centralized scheduling website will streamline the process, reduce data lags, and provide real-time information on vaccination progress across the state,” DeWine said.
According to Warner, Highland County is receiving 800 Moderna vaccines for this week and received 300 doses of the Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) vaccine last week.
He said the JNJ vaccine has shown a 72 percent efficacy rate against COVID-19, which differs from the mid-90 percent of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Warner stressed that while it might look like the JNJ vaccine is inferior, they are just different.
“Pfizer and Moderna are more effective in preventing infection or at least symptoms of COVID-19, there is no question about this,” Warner said. “The key thing to understand here is that all three vaccine types are 100% effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. I am going to write that again more clearly: JNJ vaccine has been shown to be 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death. This vaccine is doing its job, with a single dose.”
According to a Sunday Facebook post, the health department still had vaccine spots open for Thursday, March 11. The health department has an online sign-up form that can be found at https://forms.gle/Tay3m57UWiTW52Y5A.
According to the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) COVID-19 Dashboard, last updated Monday, Highland County has had 3,292 total cases of the virus, 174 hospitalizations, 51 deaths and 3,111 presumed recovered from the virus.
Also, according to dashboard, 6.26 percent of the population in Highland County have completed their vaccinations. ODH considers completed when “an individual has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and is considered fully immunized.” The dashboard lists each age group and the amount that have completed their vaccines.
* 0-19 — Eight people, or 0.07 of the population, have completed their vaccines.
* 20-29 — 108 people, or 2.19 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 30-39 — 173 people, or 3.59 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 40-49 — 233 people, or 4.42 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 50-59 — 294 people, or 5.08 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 60-64 — 145 people, or 4.76 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 65-69 — 135 people, or 5.21 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 70-74 — 368 people, or 17.24 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 75-79 — 426 people, or 28.36 percent, have completed their vaccines.
* 80 and over — 813, or 41.84 percent, people have completed their vaccines.
In a tweet, DeWine announced that he is recognizing the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case in Ohio by ordering all U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout the state from sunrise to sunset of March 9, 2021.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.