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State expands vaccine eligibility

With an increase in COVID-19 vaccines coming into the state, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a significant expansion to those eligible to receive the inoculations.

Effective Thursday, that will include those at least 60 years of age, those with certain medical conditions and those working in certain professions.

“This is the time to do this because of the great increase of vaccines coming into Ohio,” DeWine said Monday.

The state is going to receive 448,390 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week — the most ever received by Ohio in a week, he said.

That includes 96,100 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses.

The state has received about 210,000 vaccines per week for about the past month.

The state also is lowering the age eligibility to 60, effective Thursday. It’s been at least 65 years old since Feb. 8.

DeWine said last Tuesday it would be about three to four weeks before the age could be lowered and “certain smaller groups” could be added. But with the additional vaccines, that was moved to Thursday.

In addition to the lower age, those with type 1 diabetes, pregnant women, bone marrow transplant recipients and those with ALS are eligible to receive the vaccine starting Thursday.

Also, those who work in child care, at funeral homes, firefighters and law enforcement, corrections and probation officers are eligible.

The expanded eligibility groups includes 941,000 people.

“Age is still the best indicator,” DeWine said. “We made some exceptions where we felt people were at risk.”

The next step is to lower the age group to 55 and possibly add others, he said. While he didn’t provide a timetable, he expected it to be a few weeks.

After that, the state will lower the eligibility age group to 50, DeWine said.

About 97 to 98 percent of all COVID-19 fatalities in the state are people who were at least 50 years old, he said.

The increased vaccines are going to about 200 independent pharmacies that haven’t had them before as well as chain pharmacies, hospitals and local health districts, DeWine said.

“We placed vaccines in all 88 counties so that Ohioans would not have to travel hours to get a shot,” he said.

The state will have 1,205 providers of the vaccine and had about 700 a few weeks ago, DeWine said.

The state provided COVID-19 vaccines to adult staff working in K-12 schools in exchange for the buildings offered at least partial in-person learning.

Only eight districts, including Youngstown, are not offering in-person learning. But seven, including Youngstown, plan to offer it in a few weeks.

About 200,000 school personnel were vaccinated in the past four weeks, DeWine said.

COVID-19 DATA

The state reported 1,452 new COVID-19 cases Monday, below the daily average of 2,225 during the past 21 days, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

It came a day after 1,268 new cases were reported.

The 2,720 total cases for Sunday and Monday is the least for a two-day period since 2,721 were reported Oct. 11 and 12.

Overall, the state had 968,874 COVID-19 cases with 911,474 presumed recovered and 17,346 deaths as of Monday, according to the ODH.

That includes 49 new deaths reported Monday with three in Trumbull County and one each in Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

Mahoning County had 19,444 total cases as of Monday with 18,133 presumed recovered and 544 deaths, according to the ODH.

Trumbull County had 14,315 total COVID-19 cases as of Monday with 13,266 presumed recovered and 465 fatalities, according to the ODH.

Columbiana County had 8,120 total COVID-19 cases as of Monday with 7,598 presumed recovered and 183 deaths, according to the ODH.

VACCINATIONS

The ODH listed 1,687,834 people, 14.44 percent of the state’s population, receiving at least the first of the two-dose vaccine as of 6 a.m. Monday, including 32,997 in the previous 24 hours.

In Mahoning County, 17.17 percent of the population (39,264 people) had received at least the first dose compared to 15.17 percent in Trumbull County (30,037 people) and 14.11 percent in Columbiana County (14,376 people) as of 6 a.m. Monday, according to the ODH.

There were 912,354 people, 7.81 percent of the state’s population, receiving both vaccine doses as of 6 a.m. Monday, including 27,920 in the prior 24 hours.

In Mahoning County, 8.93 percent of the population (20,418 people) had received both doses while 7.72 percent of the population in Trumbull (15,293 people) and 6.52 percent of the population in Columbiana (6,642 people) had both doses as of 6 a.m. Monday.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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