DeWine announces easing of sporting, entertainment venue restrictions

Staff Report


Here are the latest details on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the area:

• Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday a loosening of restrictions for sporting and entertainment venues when safety protocols are followed.

“The vaccines have given us great hope, but until we have enough Ohioans vaccinated we must continue masking and social distancing,” said DeWine. “Easing up on some prevention measures is intended to serve as a starting point. If the trajectory of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continues downward, we hope to be able to relax more of these measures. If it gets worse, we may have to tighten up.”

Sporting and entertainment events will be able to reopen with 25 percent maximum indoor capacity and 30 percent maximum outdoor capacity provided they follow established precautions such as mandatory mask wearing for employees and customers, spectator pathways that allow for social distancing, and seating in groups in six-foot intervals of no more than six people from the same household.

General admission, including lawns, standing room, and infields, will be permitted if masks are worn and if six-foot distancing can be marked and maintained.

It was also announced that new guidance for proms, banquets, wedding receptions, fairs, festivals, and parades is forthcoming.

• Fulton County school employees have now been able to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the county remains with the lowest percentage in the area of those who have received the vaccine.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 5,002 Fulton County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That accounts for 11.87% of the population.

In Lucas County, 15.96% have received at least one dose, with 17.02% in Wood County, 16.21% in Henry County, 12.25% in Williams County, and 14.03% in Defiance County.

According to the Fulton County Health Department (FCHD), over 400 vaccines were administered last week by FCHD and the Fulton County Health Center with the help of many community partners. In addition, over 750 school staff members were vaccinated on Saturday.

• This week, Ohio is expected to receive 310,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. With this increase in doses, Ohio will add additional new vaccine provider sites including some Meijer and Walmart locations and more independent pharmacies.

Providers that are currently receiving vaccines – including Rite-Aid, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, local health departments, and hospitals – can anticipate larger shipments, according to DeWine.

Based on information provided by the federal government, once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available, Ohio will receive an additional 91,000 doses during the first week.

• The number of new COVID-19 cases being reported in Fulton County has slowed, especially when compared to late last year. Fulton County’s cases climbed from 3,735 on Feb. 21 to 3,779, as of Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

There were no new deaths reported over the last week. The total number of hospitalizations increased by two, to 203 as of Sunday.

The Fulton County Health Department’s last update was Friday, and included 41 confirmed active cases, 3 fewer than the previous Friday.

Lucas County has had 35,217 cases, as of Sunday, according to the county health department. There have been a total of 765 deaths reported in the county.

There were 967,422 cases reported overall in Ohio, as of Sunday. Statewide, there had been 50,279 hospitalizations and 7,134 intensive care unit admissions related to the disease.

There are 14,709 confirmed COVID-19 deaths statewide, with 2,588 more probable COVID-19 deaths.

• For the first time in several weeks, Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System has shown change in the amount of spread in some Ohio counties. Four counties, including Williams County, dropped from Level 3 to Level 2 public health emergency.

Now 8 of the state’s 88 counties are not at Level 3.

Fulton County remained at a Level 3 public emergency for COVID-19, with the latest update on Thursday, but the case rate continues to fall. The most recent figure is 144.8 per 100,000 from Feb. 10-23.

The county met the following indicators: new cases per capita and proportion of non-congregate cases.

Lucas County had a case rate of 172.1 per 100,000 and met two indicators: new cases per capita and proportion of non-congregate cases.

• Ohio continues to see downward COVID-19 hospitalization trends, particularly in the 80-plus age group which was among the first groups to become eligible for the vaccine. In December, those 80-plus made up more than 25 percent of Ohio’s COVID hospitalizations. In February, that number dropped to about 18 percent.

Ohio is also seeing a decline in COVID cases among nursing home residents. In the past week, Ohio had 369 new nursing home cases, compared to 2,832 new cases in one week in December.

As part of the new COVID-19 Vaccine Maintenance Program, Ohio will continue vaccinating new nursing home residents, new staff hires, and those who have recently decided to take the vaccine.

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Staff Report