DeWine Says Dropping COVID Hospitalizations Key To Lifting Curfew
State health officials say the number of Ohioans hospitalized with COVID-19 have begun to decline this month, and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says that will be the benchmark for lifting the statewide curfew which has been in effect since mid-November.
295 people haave been hospitalized in the past 24-hours, 40 in intensive care units. While those numbers are a bit above the recent three week average, hospital discharges have begun to outweigh admissions. The number of Ohioans currently hospitalized has dipped below 3,000 for the first time in weeks. DeWine says continuing to lower that number is the key to rolling back the statewide curfew.
"Seven days - straight days - below 35-hundred, we'll go to an 11pm curfew. And we'll keep that curfew, our plans is to keep that curfew, for another two weeks."
DeWine says if the current trend holds, that rollback could be announced Thursday. He says if the number of hospitalized then stays below 3,000 for solid week, the curfew would be rolled back to midnight, and could eventually be lifted entirely.
State medical director Doctor Bruce Vanderhoff says the hospitalization numbers are key because they show the current state of strain on medical resources. And he cautions the state would have to move quickly if that picture gets worse.
"If they go back up, we would probably have to move quickly to reinstitute the appropriate level of measure, because it would be telling us that we were already in that circumstance. this is not a predictive measure it's a lagging measure. So we would just have to keep that in mind."
DeWine says it's too soon to see the impact of vaccinations. Instead, he says the dropping numbers of Ohioans hospitalized is a sign that increased use of masks, social distancing and improving ventilation are having an effect.