Governor, doctor optimistic Ohio can hit COVID-19 goal by July 4

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio’s path to ending the statewide health order amid the COVID-19 pandemic has plateaued.

In early March, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he will lift all remaining health mandates, including the mask requirement, when the state gets down to 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks.

On Thursday, the state was at 183.7 cases per 100,000. For context, Ohio was at 731 cases per 100,000 on Dec. 3; 445 per 100,000 on Feb. 3; and 179 on March 3. DeWine said it’s still possible to reach the goal by July 4.

“I would share the governor’s optimism and not because we don’t face a challenge, but because of how, here in Ohio, we’ve consistently addressed these COVID challenges,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health.

“We’ve got two really powerful forces working in our advantage. One is that we’re doing a very good job getting vaccines into arms. We’ve crossed that one third threshold,” Vanderhoff said. “The second is a very high retail compliance with masking.”

On Monday, DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud announced the state was simplifying its health orders.

The single order now focuses on masking in public, maintaining social distancing and limiting groups of people.

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