COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine is considering whether to change Ohio’s metric for ending coronavirus-related public health orders from case levels to vaccination levels, he said Wednesday.
For Ohioans to be free of public health orders — which require wearing masks, social distancing, keeping tables at restaurants and bars apart or installing barriers between tables, among other rules — coronavirus cases must lower to an average of 50 per 100,000 residents. DeWine announced the benchmark March 4.
In neighboring Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear has used the metric of vaccinations. He announced last week he will lift orders when 2.5 million of the state’s nearly 4.5 million residents get vaccinated.
“We are actually looking at that,” DeWine said. “We don’t have anything to announce. But we are looking at that. We are looking at any kind of measures that tell people where we’re going and what we have to do to achieve it. We’re not ruling that out at all. We saw what Gov. Beshear did.”
The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com previously asked DeWine on April 3 whether he was going to stick with the metric of 50 cases per 100,000 residents, or if would change that. At the time, he said, he planned to stay with the case levels.
“But I think what will change it is the number of people who get vaccinated,” he said then.
The case figure is difficult for average Ohioans to access.
The number of cases per 100,000 residents isn’t directly tied to the new cases figure reported at 2 p.m. each day on the main pages of Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard.
And 50 cases per 100,000 residents has to be a statewide average for orders to go away — not based on what any one county achieves.
When determining cases per 100,000, people need to look back two weeks at the number of known cases in which symptoms began during the time period, and then subtract incarcerated individuals.
Right now, cases are around 200 per 100,000 residents. That’s nowhere near the goal of returning to life before the pandemic.
On Wednesday, DeWine said that there is a close relationship between vaccination levels and new cases.
“These figures are so intertwined and so related,” he said. “If you hit a certain level of vaccines, you’re going to hit that level of 50. That’s what we think. Where that is, I don’t think anyone knows exactly.”
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