COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine announced Saturday that Ohio has achieved the COVID-19 case threshold he initially set in order to lift health orders in the state.
The governor’s office announced that as of Saturday, the state reached 49.5 onset cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over the two-week period from May 22 to June 4.
DeWine initially set the metric back in early March, saying it would need to reach 50 cases per 100,000 for state health orders to lift.
DeWine, however, lifted the health orders on June 2 while the state hovered just above 50 per 100,000.
“Ohioans have shown our resilience and grit, and by continuing to get vaccinated we are coming through this pandemic stronger than ever,” DeWine said in a press release.
“When I announced this goal on March 4th, I said that reaching 50 cases per 100,000 would mean we were entering a new phase of this pandemic. Vaccinations are working. That’s why cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. But that doesn’t mean we can let our foot off the gas. If you’re not vaccinated against COVID-19, continue to wear a mask in public and Ohioans that are able to get vaccinated should.”
According to the announcement, more than 5.3 million Ohioans have started the COVID-19 vaccination process, accounting for 45.9 percent of all Ohioans. More than 4.7 million people, or 40.5 percent, of all Ohioans are fully vaccinated.
In December 2020, case rates per 100,000 residents were higher than 900, the state said.
It has been nearly a year since Ohio saw 50 or fewer cases per 100,000; the last time that happened was on June 25, 2020, when the state recorded 49.7 cases for the period between June 11-24.
While Ohio’s health order expired, the state is still encouraging non-vaccinated residents to follow COVID-19 mitigation guidelines including wearing a face mask and social distancing. Businesses can still require face masks despite a customer’s or employee’s vaccination status, the state said.
Local orders, such as the mask mandate in Columbus, remain in effect despite the lifting of statewide mandates.