The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued a simplified health order last week to streamline previous orders of infection prevention.
“Our understanding of this virus and how it spreads is much more advanced than it was when we first learned about coronavirus in early 2020,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “As we move to begin a new chapter in our fight against the pandemic, where more and more Ohioans are being vaccinated, this new order will focus on our best defense measures against Covid-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, limiting large gatherings, being outside, and practicing good hand hygiene.”
Local health departments coordinate school vaccinations
Ohio’s local health departments and vaccine providers that are offering the Pfizer vaccine have been asked to coordinate with local high schools to offer vaccinations to high school students who are 16 years or older. Pfizer is the only vaccine that is currently approved for children as young as 16.
This announcement followed last week’s announcement that vaccination clinics will be offered at all higher education campuses in the coming weeks.
As with Ohio colleges, by taking vaccines to schools the state will increase the percentage of people in this age group who choose to get vaccinated, said officials.
Ohio Covid-19 cases moving in wrong direction
Last week was the second in a row where the cases per 100,000 people have gone up by more than 10. Three weeks ago, Ohio’s cases per 100,000 people were 146.9. As of last Thursday, cases per 100,000 people is at 183.7.
“We are moving in the wrong direction from our statewide goal of 50 cases per 100,000 people,” said Gov. DeWine. “We are not seeing the runaway case growth we saw during the fall yet, so we can still turn this around if more people continue to get vaccinated and we continue to mask and social distance.”
The increases in case rates were reflected in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health show case increases in 53 counties over the past week.
Level changes include:
- Franklin County moved to the watch list following sustained increases in cases and in COVID-related healthcare use including emergency department and outpatient visits and hospitalizations for COVID-19.
- Putnam County moved from orange to red.
- Carroll, Mercer, and Morgan counties moved from yellow to orange.
- Brown and Noble counties dropped from orange to yellow.
According to Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio and the nation are enduring another wave of Covid-19 due to variants of the original virus that are more contagious and more deadly. Variant counts in Ohio jumped from 92 on March 12 to 797 on last week, a doubling time of about every 9 to 10 days.
Multisystem Inflamatory syndrome affects kids
Although COVID-19 has historically affected older Ohioans, children are not immune to getting sick with coronavirus, and in some rare cases, kids can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Since the start of the pandemic, 166 children have been treated for this syndrome.
According to Dr. Dustin Fleck, chief of rheumatology at Dayton Children’s Hospital, this syndrome is unique because it is not associated with an active COVID-19 infection. Rather, symptoms usually develop 2-4 weeks after a child has a symptomatic or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection.
The syndrome is characterized by fever and inflammation throughout the body, specifically targeting the heart. The syndrome can also target the gastrointestinal system, liver, lungs, kidneys, and brain. Parents should look for symptoms of abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swelling of hands and feet, and redness of eyes.