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Top Ohio Health Official says it's too soon to call COVID-19 endemic

 Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director, Ohio Dept of Health
Ohio Dept of Health
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director, Ohio Dept of Health

The number of positive COVID cases in Ohio and hospitalizations has been going down in recent days. And there are some signs that the pandemic could be evolving to an endemic, an illness like flu that is always around but not causing serious threats to the health care infrastructure. But Ohio’s top doctor says it’s too early to talk about COVID as an endemic yet.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says Omicron has infected a lot of Ohioans, giving them some immunity. He says that’s a sign Ohio could be moving toward an endemic.

“But we are on the way there. We haven’t arrived there yet. Before COVID-19 can become endemic, we need to see substantial reductions in our hospitalizations and case numbers coupled with more people vaccinated to keep the spread low,” Vanderhoff says.

Right now, just under 60% of eligible Ohioans are fully vaccinated (59.92% ages 5 and up). And there are more than 4000 (4,044) COVID patients hospitalized in all of the state’s hospitals. That’s one-fifth of the total number of patients in those facilities.

Copyright 2022 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.