Ohio Governor Mike DeWine hints at vaccine benchmark to push for loosening COVID rules
While some Ohio residents have refrained from getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has said he is holding back from lifting further health restrictions related to the pandemic.
But in the next few days, the Republican has hinted that he may set a new benchmark for lifting things like indoor capacity limits at bars, restaurants, concert halls and sporting events, and that benchmark will most likely be to get more Ohio vaccinated.
As the number of cases declined slightly in his update on Monday, he called on local health services to be creative in their vaccine awareness to start easing restrictions.
“My caveat is: if you haven’t been vaccinated it’s a high risk bet, a very high risk situation,” DeWine said Monday at a press briefing. “Getting it into people’s arms is our ticket out of this virus,” he said, pointing to age statistics that show case rates among the elderly in Ohio – those who are the first eligible for the vaccine – are among the lowest in the state.
“We have yet to find a ‘Here is a specific number for which all health orders will be scrapped’,” he said. “We always talk about it, we always watch it.”
In Kentucky, DeWine’s counterpart Governor Andy Beshear has set a rough target of 2.5 million Kentuckians vaccinated before making major revisions to his administration’s health orders.
As the weeks since vaccination eligibility has opened statewide, demand for Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines has declined in both states. In Ohio, more than 2,100 new vaccines had been administered since the last count, but it was the lowest count of the year to date.
About 4.7 million Ohioans – or about 40% of those eligible – had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday.
“There is a time, which is very soon, when everyone has had the chance to get the vaccine, and you can’t ask everyone to keep sacrificing yourself if you’re not ready to do this. it takes to create your own safe environment, ”Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Monday on WLW 700.
DeWine has relaxed a COVID procedure: Long-term care facilities no longer have to test fully vaccinated employees every two weeks.
“People go to restaurants more; they go to bars; they go to baseball games, ”DeWine said. “There is a world out there once you are vaccinated.”
The Hamilton County Public Health Department said it would travel to administer vaccines anywhere they could find people gathered. Last week, for example, the department set up a place to hand out free plans at the Kenwood Theater.