COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Department of Health has released updated case numbers for COVID-19 in Ohio.
As of Friday March 19, a total of 997,336 (+1,551) cases had been reported since the pandemic began, leading to 52,049 (+56) hospitalizations and 7,319 (+7) ICU admissions. A total of 2,567,312 people — or 21.96% of the state’s population — have started the vaccination process as of Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine provided an update on where the state stands in him being able to lift his pandemic health orders. He has set a benchmark of 50 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks for those orders to end. The rate now stands at 143.8 cases. A week ago, it was 155.5.
The state is expanding its vaccination program starting Friday, with those 40 and older becoming eligible in addition to more people who meet certain medical conditions. On March 29, those 16 and older will become eligible.
Only the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for use in people ages 16 and 17. DeWine said that the state is currently receiving 400,000 doses of vaccine per week, but that by March 29, it is expected to grow to 500,000.
The state has an online portal for scheduling vaccinations, where users can search for providers by location or ZIP code. DeWine said the state is working with providers on making more appointment information available in the system, but that it is a “work in progress.”
The latest Public Health Advisory System map showed more counties dropping from level 3, or red. There were five counties at level 1, or yellow: Auglaize, Meigs, Mercer, Shelby and Vinton. There were 22 counties at level 2, or yellow. The remaining 61 counties, including Franklin and all of its surrounding counties, were at level 3.
The Department of Health is updating the total number of deaths only after death certificates have been processed, usually twice a week. The ODH reported Tuesday a total number of 17,992 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.