Greene County Public Health is asking residents to sign up on their website — https://healthalert.gcph.info/COVID19/signup — if they are 65 and older or live with a severe, congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorder for email and phone alerts about vaccination clinics. Residents who have trouble filling out the online form can call 937-374-5600.
The health department is working with Greene County Emergency Management to distribute the vaccine.
More than 26,000 Greene County residents are 65 and older (not including those in congregate care) and would be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B, according to Public Health. Greene County also has approximately 3,000 K-12 school teachers and staff who would be eligible for the vaccine on Feb. 1, pending their districts returning to in-person learning by March 1.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 4,200 people had already signed up for the county’s alert system, 600 of which are 80 years and older. This alert system is “not necessarily a waiting list; it’s more like a queue line,” Fox said.
Greene County Public Health is not the only area agency that will be giving out coronavirus vaccines to Phase 1B recipients. Statewide, Ohio has tapped 800 approved vaccine providers, such as pharmacies, hospitals and doctors’ offices for this next phase.
Information about where Ohioans can get vaccinated will also be available on the Ohio Department of Health’s website starting Thursday. Users will be able to see which providers have received vaccines and will be able to search for providers by county and ZIP code.
As of Wednesday, 338,778 Ohioans have received their first dose of the two-dose coronavirus vaccine regimen, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That’s about 2.9% of the state population and 34% of the estimated Phase 1A population.
The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in Ohio dropped under 4,000 for the first time in two weeks Wednesday, according to ODH. On Wednesday, Ohio reported 6,701 new cases of COVID, 288 hospitalizations and 79 deaths from the virus.
New virus strain
A new variant of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been discovered in an Ohio patient by scientists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine. The variant has a mutation similar to a strain in the U.K., but is believed to have occurred in a strain that was already in the U.S., according to a news release from the Wexner Medical Center.
Wexner Medical Center has been sequencing the genome of the virus in patients since March to watch for evolutions. It is not clear how prevalent the new strain is at this time.
“At this point, we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use,” said Peter Mohler, co-author of the study and chief scientific officer at Wexner Medical Center and vice dean for research at the College of Medicine.
The Ohio Department of Health has announced two priority groups for distributing the limited supply of coronavirus vaccine doses: Phase 1A and 1B. ODH recently released more details on what medical conditions make a person eligible for the next round.
According to the Ohio Department of Health website, Ohioans below 65 with the following severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders are eligible for the vaccine beginning Jan. 25 as part of Phase 1B:
- cerebral palsy
- spina bifida
- congenital heart disease
- type 1 diabetes
- inherited metabolic disorders
- severe neurologic disorders including epilepsy
- severe genetic disorders, including Down Syndrome, Fragile X, Prader Willi Syndrome and Turner Syndrome
- severe lung disease, including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
- sickle cell anemia
- alpha- and beta-thalassemia
Here’s the phase 1B schedule for when each group becomes eligible for the vaccine in Ohio:
- Week of Jan. 18: Age 80 and above
- Week of Jan. 25: Age 75 and above and Ohioans with severe medical conditions.
- Week of Feb. 1: Age 70 and above and K-12 school staff.
- Week of Feb. 8: Age 65 and above
An earlier version of this article listed Greene County Public Heath’s phone number as 937-374-5700. The correct phone number is 937-374-5600.