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Vaccine-access details due today

The health districts in Mahoning and Trumbull counties today will announce details of how those 80 years old and older can sign up to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

Gov. Mike DeWine last week gave counties until today to make announcements about the vaccinations for that age group, which makes up 53 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Kris Wilster, director of environmental health for the Trumbull County Combined Health District, confirmed Wednesday that the announcement will be made today.

Tracy Styka, spokeswoman for the Mahoning County Public Health District, did the same.

The vaccinations are supposed to arrive next Tuesday or Wednesday. State officials haven’t released information about how many doses will be given to each county.

About 420,000 Ohioans are at least 80 years old, but only about 100,000 first-dose COVID-19 vaccinations will be available for them next week. Two doses of the vaccines, given about four weeks apart, are needed.

DeWine said Tuesday he wants vaccinations to occur as quickly as possible as the state is scheduled to start vaccinations for those at least 75 years of age as well as those who are younger with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders starting Jan. 25.

Ohioans age 70 and up as well as adults at K-12 schools that have in-person instruction or plan to are anticipated to start being vaccinated Feb. 1.

There is no word on when announcements will be made to notify those groups when and where to get vaccinations.

Vaccine providers aren’t expected to vaccinate everyone in each group in one week. As new groups are authorized to receive vaccinations, previous age groups will continue to be eligible for it.

There are 2.2 million people in the groups that include seniors, those with medical disorders and school personnel.

The latest Ohio Department of Health data shows 338,778 total first-dose vaccinations given in the state as of 6 a.m. Wednesday, including 17,299 in the previous 24 hours.

That is 2.9 percent of the state’s population.

Those vaccines were given to health care workers and personnel routinely involved with COVID-19 patients, emergency medical responders and those living and / or working in congregate settings, such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

The vaccinations first arrived in Ohio on Dec. 14.

DeWine is calling for hospitals to stop vaccinating their staff at midnight Sunday and move to vaccinating those at least 80 years old if they have unused doses. If they decline to vaccinate those seniors, DeWine wants hospitals to return the unused doses to the state.

The Mahoning Valley continues to trail the state average in first-dose vaccinations.

As of Wednesday, 2.82 percent of the population in Mahoning County (6,454 people) had received a first-dose COVID-19 vaccination, according to the ODH. It’s even less in the other counties: 2.06 percent in Trumbull (4,081 people) and 2.35 percent in Columbiana (2,393 people).

COVID-19 DATA

The ODH reported 799,639 total COVID-19 cases in the state as of Wednesday with 656,433 presumed recovered and 9,881 deaths.

The increase in new cases reported Wednesday was 6,701, which is lower than the daily average of 7,372 for the past 21 days. The state will reach a grim landmark today — 800,000 total cases.

There were 79 reported deaths Wednesday, higher than the daily average of 72 for the past 21 days.

Trumbull County continues to see a huge spike in COVID-19 deaths with five more reported Wednesday. Of the 295 COVID-19 deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic in March, 143 of them have been reported since Dec. 1. That’s 48.5 percent of all reported COVID-19 deaths in less than 45 days.

The ODH listed 11,998 total COVID-19 cases in Trumbull County as of Wednesday with 10,286 presumed recovered.

The state reported 16,299 total COVID-19 cases in Mahoning County as of Wednesday with 13,764 presumed recovered and 326 deaths, including one reported Wednesday.

The ODH reported 6,851 total COVID-19 cases in Columbiana County as of Wednesday with 5,747 presumed recovered and 123 fatalities, including one reported Wednesday.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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