Staff and personnel at 500 K-12 schools are scheduled to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine next week as Ohio continues to expand vaccination efforts.
Under Phase 1B, K-12 staff and Ohioans ages 70 and older will be eligible for the vaccine as of Monday.
All remaining districts that signed up for the vaccine will know by the end of the week when they are scheduled to receive it, Gov. Mike DeWine said.
“Our goal is try to get every child back in school by March 1,” the governor said.
All public school districts except one has pledged to return to hybrid or in-person learning by that date, he said. Most K-12 school staff in a county will be vaccinated within seven days.
DeWine noted that due to limited supplies it is not possible to vaccinate all K-12 school personnel in one week while continuing to administer vaccines to older Ohioans.
Vaccine clinics for school staff will be separate from clinics for seniors to keep the two groups from competing with each other.
The state hopes to have about 100,000 vaccines available for the elderly and approximately 55,000 for school personnel each week, the governor said.
“We’ve tried to make this simple for K-12 staff to get vaccinated,” DeWine added. “Most K-12 staff in a county will be vaccinated within seven days. The goal is to maximize the capacity of local vaccination partners.”
A statewide curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be re-evaluated two weeks from today as coronavirus hospitalizations continue to drop in Ohio.
“We will look at these numbers again in two weeks to potentially move to a midnight curfew or eliminate the curfew completely,” DeWine said.
The governor announced measures earlier this week aimed at easing the statewide curfew. It went into effect in min-November and was from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
However, with hospitalizations trending down, DeWine said Tuesday that there were ways to start lifting the curfew.
If hospitalizations stay below 3,500 patients for seven days the curfew is from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. If the patient count drops below 3,000 for seven days in a row then it’s from midnight to 5 a.m. To lift the curfew entirely, hospitalizations need to say below 2,500 for a week.
However, if hospitalizations start to increase again, the curfew could be reinstated.
The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in Ohio stayed under 3,000 for the third day in a row. As of Thursday, there were 2,829 people hospitalized, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Southwest Ohio is following a similar trend with 805 hospitalized COVID-19 patients reported Thursday. It’s the fewest number of patients reported in the last two weeks and the sixth straight day the regions has recorded less than 900 patients in the hospital.
Statewide, 256 hospitalizations were added Thursday, for a total of 45, 786.
ICU admissions totaled at 6,644, including 23 reported today.
Ohio recorded 5,432 daily cases bringing the state’s total to 883,716, according to ODH.
Though DeWine said the cases are still high, he noted it’s much lower than the surge Ohio witnessed in November.
Deaths increased by 75 for a total of 11,006.