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Ohio's Top Doc is Cautiously Optimistic the Peak of COVID Wave is Behind Us

 A health care worker fills a vial with the Pfizer vaccine
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
A health care worker fills a vial with the Pfizer vaccine at a COVID-19 shot clinic at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in January 2021. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, says reported cases of the disease have been decreasing, which leads him to believe this current wave of infections has peaked.

The Ohio Hospital Association reports one in six Ohioans hospitalized right now is suffering from COVID-19. One in four Ohioans in Intensive Care Units is COVID positive.

The numbers have been trending lower in recent days. There was an average of 4,849 confirmed cases per day in September. Back in August, the average was 2,294 confirmed cases per day. And in July, that average number was 372 confirmed cases.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says the data is looking a little better so he says he is cautiously optimistic.

“We are seeing early indicators that cases appear to be peaking and beginning to point to a decline. I’d expect that hospitalizations and deaths should soon follow," Vanderhoff said.

More than half of Ohioans are now fully vaccinated. Vanderhoff warns those who are not, especially pregnant women, need to get vaccinated soon. He says statistics from the CDC showed more than 125,000 pregnant women have battled COVID-19. He says 22,000 were hospitalized while 161 died. He says most were unvaccinated. But while doctors widely recommend women who are expecting to get COVID-19 shots, Vanderhoff says the majority of pregnant women remain unvaccinated.

In hospitals statewide 97% of those with COVID since Jan. 1 were unvaccinated, and more than 98% of those who have died since then weren’t vaccinated.

The state's latest effort to get younger Ohioans vaccinated started Monday. Ohioans 12 through 25 years old who have been vaccinated can now register for scholarships at ohiovax2school.com. Five $100,000 scholarships and 50 $10,000 scholarships will be awarded.

Earlier this year, Ohio gave away scholarships and $1 million cash prizes as part of the Vax-A-million sweepstakes. Gov. Mike DeWine declared that effort a success though some outside sources that looked into the data disagreed. DeWine is hoping these new sweepstakes, which will allow money for college education, job training programs, or trade school, will attract younger Ohioans who have the lowest vaccination rates.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.