Counties to release more coronavirus vaccination information as hospitalizations drop in Ohio

The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in Ohio dropped under 4,000 for the first time in two weeks Wednesday, as health departments prepare to release more specifics on their vaccination programs..

n southwest Ohio, there were 1,092 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Wednesday, with 270 in ICUs and 217 on ventilators. It’s the lowest number of coronavirus inpatients reported in the last two weeks for the region.

Cases increased by 6,701 in Ohio, the second lower number of daily cases reported this week. Throughout the pandemic, Ohio has recorded 799,639 total cases of coronavirus.

Ohio is distributing limited coronavirus vaccine doses in phases. The state begins Phase 1B next week with Ohioans 80 years and older becoming eligible on Jan. 18.

Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that local health departments, vaccine providers and emergency management agencies would release details on Wednesday and today about where residents in their county can be vaccinated. Butler and Warren Counties’ health departments will release county-specific information today.

Information about where Ohioans can get vaccinated will also be available on the Ohio Department of Health’s website starting Thursday. Users will be able to see which providers have received vaccines and will be able to search for providers by county and ZIP code.

As of Wednesday, 338,778 Ohioans have received their first dose of the two-dose coronavirus vaccine regimen, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That’s about 2.9% of the state population and 34% of the estimated Phase 1A population.

New virus strain

A new variant of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been discovered in an Ohio patient by scientists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine. The variant has a mutation similar to a strain in the U.K., but is believed to have occurred in a strain that was already in the U.S., according to a press release from the Wexner Medical Center.

Wexner Medical Center has been sequencing the genome of the virus in patients since March to watch for evolutions. It is not clear how prevalent the new strain is at this time.

“At this point, we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use,” said Peter Mohler, co-author of the study and chief scientific officer at Wexner Medical Center and vice dean for research at the College of Medicine.

Priority groups for vaccine

The Ohio Department of Health has announced two priority groups for distributing the limited supply of coronavirus vaccine doses: Phase 1A and 1B. ODH recently released more details on what medical conditions make a person eligible for the next round.

According to the Ohio Department of Health website, Ohioans below 65 with the following severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders are eligible for the vaccine beginning Jan. 25 as part of Phase 1B:

  • cerebral palsy
  • spina bifida
  • congenital heart disease
  • type 1 diabetes
  • inherited metabolic disorders
  • severe neurologic disorders including epilepsy
  • severe genetic disorders including Down Syndrome, Fragile X, Prader Willi Syndrome, Turner Syndrome
  • severe lung disease including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
  • sickle cell anemia
  • alpha- and beta-thalassemia

Here’s the phase 1B schedule for when each group becomes eligible for the vaccine in Ohio:

  • Week of Jan. 18: Age 80 and above
  • Week of Jan. 25: Age 75 and above and Ohioans with severe medical conditions.
  • Week of Feb. 1: Age 70 and above and K-12 school staff.
  • Week of Feb. 8: Age 65 and above

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