DeWine: Fully Vaccinated Ohioans No Longer Have To Quarantine If Exposed

Gov. Mike DeWine addressed the public from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland. [The Ohio Channel]
Gov. Mike DeWine addressed the public from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland. [The Ohio Channel]

Updated: 4:02 p.m., Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Fully vaccinated Ohioans no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during a Tuesday press conference.

“Fully vaccinated” means two weeks after the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

The change to the statewide health order will especially impact students, DeWine said, who may have had to miss sporting events or extracurricular activities due to being exposed to the virus.

“If they were exposed outside of the classroom to someone, they had to quarantine, and we've had our students who have missed big athletic events, might be missing a debate,” he said.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently open to 16- and 17-year-olds, and DeWine said he hopes vaccines will soon be available for kids age 12 and older.

Anyone under 18 years old needs a guardian’s consent to get vaccinated, and parents or guardians must accompany minors for the shot.

The change in quarantine rules will also impact adults, with the exception of those in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, who DeWine said will still have to follow quarantine guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

DeWine made the announcement from the Wolstein Center in Downtown Cleveland, part of the FEMA mass vaccination site which is now expected to remain open for a total of 12 weeks.

The site is now offering vaccinations for those who walk up without an appointment. DeWine said this makes it much more accessible for people who have trouble making appointments.

“If anyone has been waiting, now is the time to come,” DeWine said.

This week and next, the Wolstein Center will offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine. After that, in Week 9, DeWine said he’s unsure of what vaccine will be offered.

The Wolstein Center site originally planned to offer the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine during the last two weeks of the clinic, but shifted to Pfizer when Johnson & Johnson was temporarily paused while health officials reviewed possible side effects.

Some Ohio clinics are now offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine again, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted the pause Friday, but DeWine did not say whether the Wolstein Center will offer that vaccine at all.

DeWine said the Wolstein Center has administered 237,000 as of Tuesday.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 4.6 million Ohioans have had first dose, or nearly 40 percent of the state's population.

COVID-19 cases have been plateauing in Ohio, which Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said is due to the vaccine. 

“Vaccination is our key to putting this virus behind us,” Vanderhoff said. "Vaccination is the shield that lets us plan on the things we want to do."

However, Erie, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula and Summit counties are all still in the top six Ohio counties for COVID-19 incidence rate, according to ODH data.

Variants are impacting how quickly COVID-19 continues to spread, and Vanderhoff said variant B.1.1.7 is currently the leading variant in Ohio – along with and the rest of the country and other parts of the world.

"Two-thirds of the variants that are detected are consistently that variant, and it is literally leaving the other variants in the dust," he said.

Variants are much more contagious than the original strain of the virus, and as a result, it takes less exposure to get people sick, Vanderhoff said, making the continued use of masks in close quarters important, along with hand washing and other precautions.

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