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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has issued new recommendations for contact tracing and COVID-19 policies for schools.

ODH held a press conference on the changes and the state of COVID-19 in Ohio Thursday.

This week, ODH Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, shared a memo with local health departments and K-12 superintendents.

The memo outlines new recommendations on contact tracing.

“The quick spread of the Omicron variant and its rapid clinical course have made universal contact tracing, case investigation and exposure notification impractical when combined with newly reduced timelines for quarantine and isolation,” said Vanderhoff.

The new recommendations focus on clusters of cases or outbreaks.

The new recommendations also say schools will be required to report case data only weekly.

For the first week in a long time, hospital admissions are down in every age group, according to data from the Ohio Hospital Association.

OHA reports 5,004 are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Live updates

  • Here’s who is scheduled to speak:
  • Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, Director, Ohio Department of Health
  • Brian Kaminski, DO, Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety, ProMedica
  • Stephen Feagins, MD, Chief Clinical Officer for Mercy Health – Cincinnati, and Hamilton County Public Health Medical Director
  • More than 20k cases a day since omicron spread – Dr. Vanderhoff
  • Hospitalizations steadily dropping for past 16 days
  • Ohio hit record hospitalizations on Jan. 10
  • Hospitalizations have dropped 25% in 2 weeks
  • Vanderhoff says omicron peaked in Northeast Ohio and they’re seeing signs that it has begun to peak in Central Ohio
  • U.S. Air Force in action at Cleveland Clinic, allowing hospital to accept transfer patients
  • “Omicron is hitting Ohio in waves” – Dr. Vanderhoff
  • NW Ohio has seen cases decline over last week – Dr. Kaminski
  • “There is light on the horizon.” – Dr. Kaminski
  • Dr. Vanderhoff says the contact tracing changes aren’t so parents have to guess but to remind them that “COVID is everywhere”