CLEVELAND — Life is slowly returning to pre-pandemic normalcy for people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, further enforcing the argument that the vaccine is the world's ticket to freedom.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday eased masking guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans. They don't need to wear masks outside, unless they're in a large crowd of strangers.
An individual is considered "fully vaccinated" two weeks after the second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the 3.6 million fully vaccinated Ohioans are no longer required to quarantined after exposure to someone with COVID-19.
DeWine said the state may change is mask mandate to more closely align with CDC recommendations for vaccinated people.
"[The COVID-19 vaccine] is our ticket to get back to normal," he reiterated Tuesday.
Vaccine cards will offer a literal ticket to freedom for football fans attending the NFL draft in Cleveland this weekend.
"The Draft Experience" includes a "vaccinated fan zone" this year. Attendees who have received their final doses by April 15 will be required to show their vaccination cards to get passes.
Local and state education advocates gathered Monday night for a town hall to discuss returning local control to school districts in the hands of the state by getting rid of House Bill 70, also called the "Youngstown Plan."
Though organizers had said Gov. Mike DeWine would attend the meeting, Devin Babcock, assistant policy director in DeWine’s office, showed up instead to represent him.
During Tuesday's state briefing, Mahoning Matters asked DeWine the primary question unanswered by the Monday night meeting: Is he committed to restoring local control of failing Ohio school districts?
"I made pretty clear to the legislature that we need to have a bill," DeWine said. "Totally walking away probably is not a good idea either."
He's afraid abolishing HB 70 would harm students, but he said he is "open to coming up with a new way of doing this."
• According to the latest figures Tuesday from the Ohio Department of Health, the state is reporting 1,067,262 confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus. There have been 21,184 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 15,810 in Trumbull County; and 8,648 in Columbiana County.
• Statewide, the new adjusted COVID-19 death total is 19,188, including 585 in Mahoning County; 462 in Trumbull; and 227 in Columbiana. Mahoning County’s 585 reported COVID-19 deaths was eighth among Ohio’s 88 counties; Cuyahoga County had the most with 2,090.
• In nearby counties: Stark, 31,807 cases and 906 deaths; Portage, 12,596 cases and 199 deaths; and Ashtabula, 6,652 cases and 167 deaths.
• Salem Regional Medical Center will administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at two area locations today: Salem Regional Medical Center and the Columbiana Family Care Center. Make an appointment at the medical center's website.
• Trumbull County Combined Health District will host a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m. today at its offices, 176 Chestnut Ave. The clinic will be first come, first served, with 100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine available for individuals age 16 and older. Detail can be found at the district website.
• According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday, there were 1,139,390 COVID-19 cases in the state which have led to 26,072 deaths. There have been 9,080 confirmed or suspected cases in Mercer County and 253 deaths; 7,212 cases in Lawrence County and 203 deaths. In Mercer County, 31,609 people have been completely vaccinated; in Lawrence County, 21,347 have been completely vaccinated.
• OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology will reopen to the public at 9 a.m. May 15 in the historic McCrory Building. OH WOW! purchased the building in 2019. It began Phase 1 of a multimillion dollar renovation in January, with the vision of reorganizing visitor circulation and creating a new entrance and welcoming lobby on Central Square.
• The Rotary Club of Youngstown’s third annual Groundhog Craft Beerfest will take place from 5 to 9 .m. July 10 in the parking lot of Stambaugh Auditorium. Tickets, which are limited due to COVID-19 protocols, will go on sale Friday and can be ordered at 330-259-0555. The event will feature live entertainment, food trucks and craft beers from the region.