Ohio health orders end this week as COVID cases drop: What is changing

Ohio’s COVID-19 pandemic health orders will expire on Wednesday.

Our reporters gathered the latest information on what happens next and what we know about vaccination and the pandemic in Ohio.

What happens to pandemic health orders Wednesday?

Ohio’s mandates added for the coronavirus pandemic expire Wednesday.

However, Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday stressed the importance of getting the vaccine and for those who have not been vaccinated to continue to wear masks while indoors.

Also, masks may still be required in some cases. Health care facilities, businesses, schools, government centers and other organizations can set their own rules on masks, social distancing and other coronavirus safety protocols.

How does this change current rules?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that it’s generally safe for those who are fully vaccinated to do much of what they did pre-pandemic.

Following that advisory, Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration said fully vaccinated people don’t have to follow state rules requiring masking and social distancing.

The change coming Wednesday means instead of just exempting fully vaccinated people from the pandemic rules, the state-level pandemic rules are expiring.

Can businesses, schools and other organizations still have their own rules?

Yes. The state-level requirements are dropping, but stores, hospitals, schools and other businesses or facilities can choose what they want to do.

The CDC still recommends that everyone wear masks while in health care settings, on public transportation or when inside a business that chooses to require masks.

The CDC also advises higher-risk people with weak immune systems such as those with a transplant should ask their doctor for advice.

What is the state of the pandemic in Ohio?

The pandemic continues to wane in the state.

Cases are declining. The state reported 377 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, and the current case average is 873 cases per day.

It was the ninth day in a row that the state has reported fewer than 1,000 new cases. The Ohio Hospital Association reported that 723 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

What’s the state of the vaccine rollout?

About 45% of the Ohio population — 5.3 million people — have received at least one dose. That includes over half of adults in the state and more than three out of four adults over 65 years old.

About 40% of Ohioans are fully vaccinated.

This ranges widely by region. In Darke County, about 29.7% of the population has at least one dose. In Warren County, nearly 50% have at least started their vaccine.

There are racial disparities in coverage as well, though data gaps prevent a full picture. About 46% of the white Ohioans have at least one dose.

Does everyone have a vaccine who wants one?

National data indicates there are still people who want a vaccine as soon as possible but have not received a shot yet, though that group has been getting smaller.

Kaiser Family Foundation’s vaccine monitor the latest update, published May 28, reported about 4% of people in the U.S. want a vaccine as soon as possible but haven’t received one. Another 12% say they will wait and see.

About 32% of unvaccinated adults reported full FDA approval of a vaccine would make them more likely to get vaccinated. About 21% of employed adults who have not gotten a vaccine say they would be more inclined to do so if their employer gave them paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from side effects, Kaiser reported.

About the Author