COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine provided several updates Tuesday on COVID-19 and vaccination efforts in Ohio.
As of Feb. 16, a total of 943,291 (+2,026) cases have been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 16,453 (+59) deaths, and 48,739 (+104) hospitalizations. A total of 1,324,206 residents, or 11.33% of the state’s population, have begun the vaccination process.
The Ohio Department of Health reported that it is reconciling death totals, which will cause a fluctuation in numbers over several days.
DeWine said a winter storm Monday and Tuesday may cause shipping delays from vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, possibly delaying them 1-2 days.
And he gave an update on the state’s efforts to develop a central online scheduling portal for vaccines. He said state officials are reaching out to providers who are administering vaccines — including hospitals, pharmacies and local health departments — to incorporate them into the system if they agree to.
The efforts include making sure that people on vaccine waiting lists are accounted for before the system goes live so that others do not jump them in line. New vaccine providers are being required to join the system. DeWine said it will take another 2-3 weeks to integrate information before the system may be ready for residents.
DeWine reiterated that he expects schools that agreed to participate in the state’s vaccination program to reopen to full in-person or hybrid learning by March 1. He specifically mentioned districts in Akron, Cleveland and Youngstown, as well as one school in Cincinnati, for saying they might continue with full-distance learning past that date.
Ohio is continuing efforts to vaccine residents 65 and older, those with certain medical disorders and the state’s school workforce.