Ohio combines health orders with eye on rise in variant COVID-19 cases


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Monday said he will issue a new, single COVID-19 health order designed to replace the previous multiple orders from the past year. The order promotes wearing a mask inside or outside when distancing is not possible, that groups should not be larger than 10 people, and to maintain a social distance of six feet.

DeWine said the decision to issue a single order was based on information that was learned during the pandemic and with an eye on COVID-19 variants that are spreading in the state, especially in northwest Ohio.

View the order here

“We know more now than we started,” DeWine said. “The power of these masks are so much greater than we knew even six months ago.”

The order will be signed Monday by state health director Stephanie McCloud, with further information to come once it is made available.

DeWine also detailed a push to vaccinate college students in the state during April. He visited one clinic at Ohio State earlier Monday. The goal is to vaccinate students before they start leaving campus next month.

In addition, DeWine said the state is developing plans to vaccine high school students 16 and older and will work to make the Pfizer vaccine — the only one approved for 16- and 17-year-olds — available to them. The timeline is to have eligible high school students vaccinated before the end of the school year. Vaccination for adults is voluntary; for minors, parental consent would be required.

DeWine and McCloud said the state is complete guidance for proms and graduations, with those expected by Tuesday.

Last week, DeWine provided his most recent update on where the state stands in meeting the standard for him lifting his pandemic health orders. He has set a benchmark of 50 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks for those orders to end. The rate stands at 167.1.

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