Ohio continues to move closer to COVID goal previously tied to mask mandate



Ohio is continuing to move closer to a key coronavirus metric that was previously linked to the state’s mask mandate and other public health orders.

The state is averaging 89.8 cases per 100,000 people from May 10-23, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday.

Last week, Ohio reported 106.9 cases per 100,000.

Previously, Ohio’s public health orders were set to be lifted once the state reported less than 50 cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks.

However, during a statewide address earlier this month DeWine announced that all pandemic-related health orders would end on June 2.

On Monday, the state reported 566 daily cases, the fewest recorded in three weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Health. It’s nearly half of the state’s 21-day average of 1,041 cases.

Hospitalizations and ICU admissions were also down, with Ohio recording 88 hospitalizations and eight ICU admissions. The state’s 21-day average is 97 hospitalizations a day and 11 ICU admissions a day.

More than 2,758,000 people have registered for Ohio’s Vax-a-Million drawings, DeWine announced.

For the $1 million prize, 2,758,470 people have signed up and 104,386 people have signed up for the college scholarship.

On Wednesday, the first winners of the Vax-a-Million campaign campaign will be announced.

Since announcing the campaign, the state has seen a 94% increase in vaccination rates for ages 16 and 17, DeWine said. It’s the largest increase for any age group.

Ages 18 and 19 saw an increase of 46% and ages 20-49 an increase of 55%.

On a county level, Athens County is reporting the biggest increase in vaccinations at 144%, the governor said.

Miami County was the only area county to make the top 10, ranking sixth with an increase of 129% between May 14-19 compared to May 7-12.

As of Monday, more than 5,179,000 people in Ohio have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 4,539,000 people have finished the vaccine.

While the drawing is scheduled for today, the winners will not be announced for another two days so the Ohio Department of Health can confirm the winners are eligible for the prizes.

Over the next few weeks, the state will award five $1 million prizes and five college scholarships to Ohioans who have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

Critics have called the campaign a waste of taxpayer money, and a state lawmaker said she’s in the process of drafting a bill that would stop it.

“I wanted to move forward on (the legislation) and see how we could stop the vaccine lottery because it is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and that’s in our purview to see how we can fix that,” Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum said.

DeWine and ODH Director Stephanie McCloud said the goal of the campaign is to increase awareness and encourage Ohioans to get vaccinated.

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