Ohio COVID-19 Cases Climbing, Including Variants, Vaccine Efforts Intensify: Reporters Roundtable
COVID-19 variants and an increase in cases is driving Ohio in the wrong direction if we hope to end all pandemic health orders soon. Governor DeWine held a media briefing yesterday and said Ohio is now at 167 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. That is well above last week's number of 147 cases per 100,000. We need to get down to 50 cases per 100,000 for two consecutive weeks to end the health orders including the mask mandate.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, one of the biggest hot spots is along the Ohio-Michigan border.
Weeks ago, the governor predicted that we would be in a race between variants and the vaccine to get to a pandemic finish line. We are seeing increases on both fronts.
The state now says two million Ohioans are fully vaccinated. But the number of cases of COVID-19 variant cases are also growing too.
With reopening plans hinging on vaccinations a question that has been raised is whether or not businesses or other entities should consider requiring vaccination proof to enter? The idea of vaccine passports has led to heated discussion on social media. But, one Ohio lawmaker wants to pre-emptively ensure that the state of Ohio doesn't go down that road.
Asian American residents living in the same Columbus suburb as Lieutenant Governor John Husted have sent him a letter expressing their concern over a recent tweet that generated controversy. In the tweet, Husted referred to the coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus". The tweet linked to an article in which the ex-director of the Centers for Disease Control made claims about the virus' origin.
The Ohio Supreme Court this week approved new rule changes aimed at reforming the bail process and making bail uniform between jurisdictions. The rules impact counties that have both municipal and county courts which includes Cuyahoga County. The Supreme Court's rule changes also requires the first option considered to be the release of an individual on a personal recognizance bond.
Baseball returns to Progressive Field Monday for the home opener. But, fans returning to see the Indians play at home will have to adhere to some new rules and guidelines. The team will not permit fans to paint their face to resemble Native American imagery and the club says headdresses or other attire that references Native American culture or traditions are prohibited. The team is in the process of changing its name from Indians and has already moved away from its long time mascot, Chief Wahoo. The front office, however, says gear with the Wahoo logo is acceptable.
Marlene Harris-Taylor, Managing Producer for Health, Ideastream
Nick Castele, Reporter, Ideastream
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV