CLEVELAND — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on March 4 that when the state reports 50 or fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks, he will lift all state health orders, including the mask mandate and mass gathering restrictions. The question Ohioans have been asking since then: How close are we?
The chart below tracks Ohio’s recent progress towards that metric, with the red line representing the 50 case per 100,000 people threshold. It is updated automatically, whenever the state releases new numbers.
Click here for the official state measure of cases per 100,000, which is updated weekly on Thursdays.
During the weeks of March 3 to March 16, Ohio reported 143.8 cases per 100,000 after a steady week-by-week decline from the mid-December spike of 845.5 cases per 100,000. The last time Ohio had fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 was the week of June 24, 2020, when the state reported 46.1 cases. By July, that number had risen to 114.
Ohio's top state doctor, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, said during a Zoom news conference on March 5 that he does not expect the state to remove COVID-19 health orders in the next few weeks because of the state's current COVID-19 case numbers, and because he is unsure about the potential for variants, like B117, to impact the number of Ohio's cases.
While he refused to speculate about when Ohio will hit the marker, Vanderhoff said the state was on the right path.
“I am optimistic that when we achieve this level that it will be a signal to us that we are acquiring enough immunity as a result of vaccination, that it is this vaccination process that is beginning to push this virus into the corner," he said.
Vanderhoff said when there are less than 50 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period in Ohio, it does not mean the pandemic is over, only that there is a "moderate" level of the virus circulating, so it will be less of a threat.
Vanderhoff said Ohioans will still need to get vaccinated. He also said social distancing and wearing masks will still be recommended in certain settings.
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