Ohio officials considering vaccination target for ending health orders

Ohio officials considering vaccination target for ending health orders

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The DeWine administration is considering adding a new metric that would end all health orders in Ohio if a certain percentage of residents become vaccinated, the governor said Monday afternoon.

What You Need To Know

  • The COVID-19 case rate declined to 147.9 on Tuesday
  • Gov. DeWine said he’s considering a new metric to end health orders
  • Outdoor activities are much safer than indoor activities, DeWine said

Gov. Mike DeWine said during a news conference that discussions are “ongoing” and the exact target for the vaccination rate has not been determined, he said. 

“We’ve not yet come up with a; ‘Here’s the specific number that all health orders will come off.’ We’re still talking about it, still looking at it,” DeWine said. 

On Monday, Ohio’s case rate stood at 147.9 per 100,000 residents for the previous two weeks, which represents a drop since the last update Thursday when the rate was 155.6. Health orders would be lifted if that figure drops below 50, but DeWine said Monday he will continue to consult medical advisors about adding a vaccination target as an alternative way to phase out health restrictions, including the state’s mask mandate.

The governor said he believes it will become clear that the two figures — the case rate and the vaccination rate — are closely correlated, predicting a continued decline in cases as more Ohioans become fully vaccinated. 


Officials are considering a vaccination target for lifting Ohio’s health orders. (AP Photo: Thomas Samson, File)

DeWine said it remains unclear how many more vaccinations are needed to get to herd immunity. 

“What makes this difficult is we don’t know how many people have immunity now. We know how many of them vaccinated,” he said. “But we don’t know how many people have had the virus before and are certainly carrying some immunity.”

The governor first indicated an interested in a vaccination target for ending health orders on April 21 in response to Kentucky’s plan to lift restrictions when 2.5 million residents are vaccinated.

Among other states that have since announced similar plans, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is lifting health orders in phases using vaccination targets — the first, a return to in-person work, occurring when 55% of all eligible residents are vaccinated. All health orders will be lifted in Michigan if 70% of all eligible adults get vaccinated.

DeWine said his administration will follow the science, which he said now means recognizing that outdoor activities are much safer than indoor activities. 

“I’ll continue to consult the medical advisors. We will certainly talk to Dr. [Bruce] Vanderhoff, but as far as any other changes, yeah there may be other other changes,” he said when asked if Ohioans can expect eased restrictions for outdoor activities. 

The governor also weighed in Monday to share his reaction to the crowds at the NFL Draft in Cleveland. He noted that vaccination was required for an area of the event, and he said outdoor gatherings with masks are not high risk.

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