COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s governor on Monday again dropped the minimum age eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations, this time to include those 50 years or older.
With the state continuing to show progress in battling the deadly virus, GOP Gov. Mike DeWine said the minimum age will be lowered from 60 years-plus as of Thursday. That is one week since the last age reduction in eligibility. Ohio has seen declining rates of infections and hospitalizations.
On Monday, the state reported 84 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the previous 24 hours, with a 21-day rolling average of 111 hospitalizations, and 1,245 new coronavirus cases in the prior 24 hours, with a 21-day rolling average of 1,831.
“You can see these numbers continue to go down, and we’re very, very happy to see that,” DeWine said. “That’s a great thing.”
The state’s long-awaited state vaccine website was also up and running on Monday. The site is meant to provide one-stop searches for available vaccination appointments around the state, relieving people from having to search or call multiple providers seeking appointments.
The U.S. and Ohio flags will be flown at half-mast on Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the first Ohio COVID-19 case, DeWine said earlier on Monday. More than 17,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Ohio in the past year.
The state’s expanded vaccination eligibility will make another 1.2 million people eligible to be vaccinated. It also will include people with Type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease.
Some 2 million Ohioans have received at least one shot of the vaccine, or some 17% of the population as of Monday, according to the state Health Department.
DeWine said last week that he will lift the state’s mask mandate and other public health orders once the state hits the mark of 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people for two weeks.