Those 16 and older can fill available vaccine slots

Staff Report

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

• Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday that COVID vaccines could be given to Ohioans 16 years and older if demand is low.

While most of Ohio’s current vaccine providers are quickly filling all vaccination appointments, some locations are seeing less demand for the vaccine. In response, DeWine announced that local health departments and hospitals that are having a hard time filling appointments with individuals who are currently eligible for the vaccine may book appointments with anyone 16 years old and older.

Currently, anyone age 40 or older is eligible to receive the vaccine. Eligibility will drop to any Ohioan age 16 and up beginning March 29.

• Also on Monday, DeWine announced updated orders from the Ohio Department of Health related to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The general visitation requirements will remain the same, including the requirement that visitors schedule appointments in advance, are screened at the door, and wear masks. Changes to the order include:

– Ohio is requiring that visitation be permitted whenever safety protocols can be met. Previously, visitation was permitted, not required;

– Vaccinated residents may have physical touch with their visitor while wearing a mask. Previously, touch was discouraged;

– Visits may occur in a resident’s private room, as opposed to the previous requirement of a separate visitation area;

– 30 minutes should serve as the minimum amount of time for a visit. Previously, 30 minutes was the maximum time to visit.

The order will also expand the circumstances in which compassionate care visits should be granted.

In addition, the order will update nursing home and assisted living testing requirements to require the facilities to test vaccinated staff once per week and unvaccinated staff twice per week. The previous order made no distinction between vaccinated or unvaccinated staff.

“We must continue regularly testing for the virus,” said DeWine. “It’s just good science, and it will help us identify cases early and prevent the spread. Further, if COVID is controlled, that means less disruption to visitation.”

Certain circumstances, such as a facility outbreak, may necessitate that visitation be restricted on a case-by-case basis. Nursing homes must also continue following federal regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

• The Fulton County Health Department reported 6 new cases on Tuesday. Combined with the 5 cases reported on Monday, there have now been 3,894 cases overall.

There are no updates from the county on weekends, so the Monday number includes Saturday and Sunday figures.

There have been 207 people hospitalized so far in the county. There have been 64 total deaths since March 2020.

Among the cases through Tuesday, there were 2,124 females and 1,757 males. The median age for confirmed cases is 45.

Lucas County had 36,983 cases and 743 deaths as of Tuesday. Defiance County had 3,839 cases and 94 deaths, Williams County 3,089 cases and 71 deaths, and Henry County 2,531 cases and 64 deaths.

Ohio passed 1 million cases, with 1,002,822 as of Tuesday. Statewide, there have been 52,349 hospitalizations and 7,351 intensive care unit admissions related to the disease, as of Tuesday’s update.

There have been 18,382 deaths of Ohioans reported through Tuesday.

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Staff Report