Coronavirus: Ohio could receive vaccine as early as Dec. 15, DeWine says

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a mask, urging Ohioans to wear them, during a news conference Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a mask, urging Ohioans to wear them, during a news conference Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Ohio could receive its first batch of a coronavirus vaccine as early as Dec. 15, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

The governor previously said healthcare workers and nursing home staff will be among those getting the first batch of vaccines. It’s unlikely the state will have enough vaccines to distribute to the general population. DeWine said the state is working to refine its distribution plan.

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The first batch will include the Pfizer vaccine and Ohio could receive a batch of the Moderna vaccine the following week.

DeWine said the federal government hopes that batches will continue to be sent out to states, but timelines haven’t been set at this time. He noted the currently the vaccine will take two shots.

Ohio reported 8,604 daily cases of coronavirus Tuesday, making it the sixth straight day the state has recorded more than 7,000 cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

On Monday, there were more than 11,000 daily cases, but DeWine noted that two labs had technical issues that prevented them from reporting cases for two days.

“Yesterday’s data was a little inflated,” he said Tuesday. “This 8,000 is fairly close to where we think it is.”

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DeWine noted that there is currently a backlog of about 6,000 tests the state is still working to process.

Deaths increased by 98 for a total of 6,118. It’s the second-highest number of daily deaths the state has reported.

Hospitalizations continued to increase in the state with 364 reported in the last day. There are 4,449 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state, the most Ohio has reported during the pandemic. Coronavirus patients represent about a quarter of the state’s hospitalized patients, DeWine said.

In southwest Ohio, there are 1,146 coronavirus patients in the hospital, with 246 in the ICU and 183 on ventilators, according to the ODH.

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A Middletown woman joined DeWine’s press conference Tuesday to share her family’s experience with the virus. Susan Norvell, her husband and two daughters all contracted coronavirus.

Norvell said she was unknowingly exposed to the virus and unintentionally spread it to the rest of her household.

One of her daughters initially tested negative for the virus and has not shown any symptoms. Norvell and her other daughter experienced mild symptoms, but her husband was admitted to the ICU. He initially was being cared for at Atrium Medical Center, but was transported to UC Health for additional care.

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Norvell said she is able to visit her husband for an hour a day and can sit outside his room.

Jasmine Shavers, a nurse at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, said she hopes that people stay home this Thanksgiving instead of traveling to see family and friends.

Shavers, who works in an all coronavirus ICU, said she won’t be seeing her family this year and is curious to see if people will follow guidelines.

DeWine and other officials across the state have continued to stress to Ohioans that large gatherings over the holidays could overwhelm hospitals when resources are already strained.

“We are already at a very high level, pushing that even further with a lot more contact, that’s going to be a disaster,” DeWine said. “For those who worry about the economy, there will be a natural slowing down if this virus continues to flare up.”

On Monday, DeWine and hospital leaders across the state discussed the impact the virus is having on healthcare workers and hospitals throughout Ohio.

“We’re not planning for the surge — the surge is here,” said Dr. Richard Lofgren of UC Health. “We’re approaching the point where the influx of COVID patients will displace non-COVID care.”

Lofgren is the leader of Zone 3, which includes southwest Ohio and the Miami Valley.

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On Monday, there were 1,121 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, 253 in the ICU and 171 on ventilators, Lofgren said.

“We’re seeing a proportional amount of spread throughout the entire region,” he said. “This virus is now everywhere.”

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