Skip to content

DeWine: No next phase until '65 years olds have no trouble getting the vaccine'

DeWine's team is working to determine who comes next in the state's vaccine rollout, but, thus far, details are scant.
Mike DeWine 02222021
Gov. Mike DeWine during the state's coronavirus update on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.

COLUMBUS — Nearly 60 percent of Ohioans age 80 and older have received the COVID-19 vaccine, DeWine said Monday.

But taking a look at the rest of Phase 1B — whose largest group is older Ohioans — the state still has a ways to go: 

  • 75-79: 49.9 percent;
  • 70-74: 37.3 percent;
  • 65-69: 23.4 percent.

In the meantime, DeWine's team is working to determine who comes next, but, thus far, details are scant.

The age range will likely move to Ohioans 60 and older and could include other small groups based on exposure to the virus. 

DeWine has received hundreds of letters from Ohioans advocating for certain groups — like funeral directors and morticians — to be prioritized next, and "they all make good cases."

He expects the next phase to be introduced "in a matter of weeks." The state will be ready to expand eligibility "when 65-year-olds have no trouble getting the vaccine."

"March is going to be a better month than February in terms of vaccine supply," he said. 

Rescheduling vaccines

Last week's severe winter weather prevented Ohio from distributing COVID-19 vaccines as expected, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a Monday briefing. 

Shipments of the Moderna vaccine were delayed and expected to arrive this week. In the absence of shipments, providers either canceled vaccine clinics or dipped into their reserves of second doses.

"Those will be backfilled," DeWine assured. 

But for the providers forced to cancel vaccine clinics last week, DeWine urged them to expand their appointment schedules to include evening and weekend shifts. 

"We've got to get caught up," he said Monday.

Nursing home dashboard

Ohioans can now more easily determine if they're able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes, thanks to a new dashboard unveiled Monday during DeWine's state briefing. 

The dashboard maps county COVID-19 positivity rates throughout the state, since a facility must be in a county with a positivity rate less than 10 percent for visitation to be permitted. 

Visitation is not permitted at facilities in red counties. Visitation may be allowed at facilities in yellow and green counties "if other circumstances allow."

Per guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, facilities must also have no new onset of COVID-19 for the last 14 days and must not be conducting outbreak testing. 

The dashboard includes a list of nursing homes throughout the state, their addresses, contact information and whether or not they allow inside visitation, outside visitation and window visitation. 

DeWine also penned a letter to Ohio nursing homes reminding administrators of these guidelines and the fact that CMS guidlines permit compassionate care visits, which "are not just for end of life care."

Rather, compassionate care visits are permitted for residents who are suffering in isolation. 

For example, a resident who is grieving the loss of a family member or a friend could qualify for such a visit. 

Other news

• According to the latest figures Monday from the Ohio Department of Health, the state is reporting 955,378 confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus. There have been 19,183 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 14,076 in Trumbull County; and 8,029 in Columbiana County.

• Statewide, there have been 16,874 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 deaths, including 532 in Mahoning County; 449 in Trumbull; and 177 in Columbiana. Mahoning County’s 532 reported COVID-19 deaths on Monday was eighth among Ohio’s 88 counties; Cuyahoga County had the most with 1,695.

• In nearby counties: Stark, 28,891 cases and 824 deaths; Portage, 10,778 cases and 152 deaths; and Ashtabula, 5,746 cases and 140 deaths.

Youngstown State University reported 18 new coronavirus cases on Monday. Of the new cases, 12 were reported by students who live off-campus, four cases were reported by students living on-campus and two cases were reported by employees. YSU has reported 544 total cases from Aug. 1, 2020 through Feb. 20.

Mahoning County Public Health announced today that all of its COVID-19 clinics are being held this week as planned. There are no schedule changes. However, the Youngstown City Health District announced Sunday that it rescheduled coronavirus vaccinations because Moderna vaccines did not arrive last week due to inclement weather across the country.

• According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday, there were 915,018 COVID-19 cases in the state which have led to 23,614 deaths. The state said the recovery rate is 89 percent. There have been 7,935 confirmed or suspected cases in Mercer County and 237 deaths; 5,929 cases in Lawrence County and 180 deaths. In Mercer County, 13,665 people have received the first of two vaccination doses and 4,811 have received both; in Lawrence County, 7,991 have received one dose; 2,822 have received both.

--Reporter Ellen Wagner contributed to this report.