CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that all health orders will be lifted when the state gets down to 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks.
Cases per 100,000 people for a two-week frame is the standard measure Ohio has followed since early in the pandemic, DeWine says.
“Victory is in sight,” the governor said during his statewide address.
He says steps have already been taken to return our lives back to normal including the curfew being lifted, removal of state-at-home orders, and the opening of restaurants, bars, and gyms.
DeWine says the vaccine is the most efficient and effective weapon against COVID-19 and over 1.8 million Ohioans have been vaccinated.
“Our path back is by each of us getting vaccinated when we can, and by each of us wearing masks in public. While no one will be forced to take the vaccine, the more of us who are vaccinated, the more complete our victory, and the more confidently we can put this behind us,” he said.
Approximately one year ago on March 3, 2020, DeWine announced the first government-recommended cancellation of an event due to coronavirus.
“This has been a tough year. Many have lost a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a spouse, and some have even lost a child,” the governor said Thursday.
The Arnold Sports Expo, which typically draws around 250,000 people, was scheduled to be held in Columbus but was canceled.
“The mayor, our public health officials and I are gravely concerned that that the event as organized poses a unique and unacceptable risk for the spread of COVID-19 for guests and the community,” DeWine said.
According to the AP, nine days later, DeWine ordered schools closed for three weeks, an order that ultimately ended in-person learning for many districts for nearly a year.
In response to other states, including Texas and Mississippi, lifting their mask mandates, a spokesman for DeWine said there are no immediate plans to do the same in Ohio.
“In order to keep the recovery going, we need to keep efforts in place until it’s no longer the distancing and masks keeping Ohioans safe, it’s the vaccine,” they said.
As of March 4, nearly a million more Ohioans were eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in including people ages 60 and up and law enforcement officials.
Other groups now able to get shots are those with Type 1 diabetes and ALS; pregnant women, bone marrow recipients, correction officers and workers in the childcare and funeral services industry.
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