COLUMBUS, Ohio — Answering continued questions from Ohioans on when the statewide curfew will be lifted, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced new criteria that will be used to determine when a curfew can be lifted or modified—citing hospitalizations as a key determinant.
On Tuesday, DeWine said if there are seven straight days of hospitalizations below 3,500, the curfew will be extended from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. The extended curfew would be put in place for two weeks. Right now, the curfew is in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
DeWine said during his briefing Thursday he will announce whether the curfew will move to 11 p.m.
To date, Ohio has gone six days below that hospitalization number.
ODH's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, who worked with DeWine to establish criteria for the curfew, said it just made sense to look at the daily report of concurrent hospitalizations by coronavirus patients.
“Hospital utilization across our state really is one of our most reliable indicators of how severe COVID is at that time. You know, when people are sick enough with COVID to be in the hospital in high numbers, we know we are facing a very serious situation,” Vanderhoff said.
If hospital utilization were to subsequently drop even further below 3,000 for seven consecutive days, Vanderhoff said it appears that we could safely move to a midnight curfew for a two-week period.
“If statewide hospitalizations drop below 2,500 again, that's about three times the volume that we would see at the peak of a typical flu season if it drops below that for seven days. We feel confident that we could lift that curfew," he said.
If at any point, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations begins to rise, health officials could reinstitute the appropriate curfew measures.
Vanderhoff said it’s important to remember that hospitalizations are still a lagging indicator, which means that if hospitalizations go back up, DeWine would have to respond quickly to reinstitute the curfew.
While daily statewide cases continue to decrease, DeWine said Ohioans need to continue to do the daily things—social distancing and wear a mask— especially since the virus is unpredictable and a new variant of the virus was recently discovered in Columbus.
"We have a new "midwest variant" of the virus, and we are concerned that it could become the dominant strain in Ohio - this variant is much more contagious," said DeWine, citing what happened to the variant discovered in the U.K.
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