Ohio vaccinations surpass COVID-19 cases in hopeful milestone

With a boost from school staff vaccinations, there are now more Ohioans who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine than the total tally of people in the state with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case.

The Ohio Department of Health reported Wednesday afternoon that 908,096 people have received at least one vaccine dose, which eclipsed the 906,727 cumulative cases reported since the start of the pandemic.

This follows the same milestone being reached at a national level.

Kate Warren, researcher with Cleveland-based health and human services think tank Community Solutions, said with only 7.8% of the total U.S. population having received at least the first shot of the vaccine so far, that there’s still a long way to go to stop the spread of COVID-19. She also highlighted the need for equitable distribution, so that all people who need the vaccine have access to it.

Still, the moment is hopeful and noteworthy, according to Warren, who had been tracking the two numbers.

“I don’t think that’s a magic number for any reason, but it just feels like a hopeful milestone as we’ve been seeing these COVID cases rise for over a year at this point and vaccines became available in Ohio on Dec. 14. That’s a very quick catch up,” Warren said.

Speaking at a Premier Health vaccination clinic for school staff, Dr. Roberto Colón, chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital, said it is great to have reached that milestone “and it speaks to the entire infrastructure that has been created to be able to get more and more people vaccinated.”

“It’s a great start and we just need to keep that number going up until we get enough people vaccinated that we can really stop COVID from becoming a threat,” Colón said.

Ohio reported less than 4,000 daily cases of coronavirus for the fourth straight day on Wednesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

While the number of daily cases has slightly increased each day since Sunday, Ohio is still under its 21-day average of 5,099 cases. It’s also nearly half the of daily cases recorded in mid January when the state was seeing more than 6,000 cases a day.

Ninety-four deaths were reported Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 11,430.

As of Wednesday, Ohio had 2,379 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 627 in ICUs and 415 on ventilators, according to ODH.

Some area counties are reporting long waiting lists for people eligible for the vaccines.

The Greene County Public Health said its waiting list for people to be vaccinated is around 20,000 people, with hundreds signing up each day.

Greene County urged people to stay patient as they vaccinate people as quickly as possible, but noted that vaccine supplies are limited.

“We are focusing on getting our most vulnerable population vaccinated who are most at risk of severe illness should they get COVID-19,” said Health Commissioner Melissa Howell. “We want to remind everyone that vaccine is in very short supply at this time and vaccinating everyone in Phase 1B is going to take a lot of time. Patience is key.”

The Ohio Department of Health has list a of providers available here: https://vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov/. Other providers in Greene County include Discount Drug Mart, Kettering Health Network, Kroger and Walgreens.

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