‘This vaccine is the ticket to freedom’: DeWine encourages vaccinations as COVID-19 cases spike in Ohio

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is holding a press conference Thursday afternoon addressing the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Thursday, there have been 1,048,109 total confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state since the pandemic began along with a total of 18,917 deaths.

Here are the Ohio counties with the most coronavirus cases:

  • Franklin: 121,703
  • Cuyahoga: 106,398
  • Hamilton: 77,945
  • Montgomery: 49,883
  • Summit: 45,144

DeWine says Franklin County, which houses the capital city of Columbus, has reached purple on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. This means the county has severe exposure and spread of COVID-19.

The governor also encouraged Ohioans to continue to get vaccinated. He says that vaccination is the way out of the pandemic.

“We know how to get out of this. This is not five months ago, four months ago. We know how to get out of this and we have the tool to get out of it. We just have to use the tool and we’ve got to use it every day,” said DeWine. “And that is to vaccinate people.”

So far, 36% of Ohioans have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 24% are fully vaccinated.

“This vaccine is a ticket to freedom,” he added.

He also reiterated that wearing masks and practicing social distancing are still important, however getting vaccinated is the most effective tool for combating the virus.

DeWine adds that there are still many vaccination appointments available for Friday and Saturday at the Northeast Ohio mass vaccination clinic satellite site in Maple Heights. Those interested in making an appointment are encouraged to type “Maple Heights” in the search box at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to reserve a time.

Earlier this week, the state health department reported a recent bump in coronavirus cases, pushing Ohio further away from the governor’s goal of 50 cases per 100,000 people. Over two weeks the state has eclipsed 200 per 100,000.

This rate, at which DeWine said the state needs to reach 50 for pandemic health orders to lift, is 201 per 100,000 as of Wednesday, April 14. The rate was 185 when our sister station, WCMH, ran the calculation last week, and it was preliminarily in the 140s at one point in March.

To get back to 50 per 100,000 – a rate the state has not hit since June 14, 2020 – Ohio cannot record more than 5,844 onset cases of COVID-19 over a two-week period. That’s 417 a day.

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