Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) says the most effective way to bring down the current spike of COVID-19 in Ohio is for everyone to start taking social distancing more seriously. DeWine laid out what the stakes are if the virus continues to spread.
DeWine says the increasing cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 through community spread can be a main indicator for in-person classes for children.
"We can turn this heat down and we can get back to a simmer of this virus instead of a flame starting to really, really come up, because that flame is a direct threat to keeping our kids in schools," says DeWine.
DeWine says he has no plans for a statewide shutdown of in-person education, which happened in March. However, he says the local districts base their future plans on the spread of the virus in each county.
More than 65% of Ohio's population is living in a county designated as a Level 3 Red county under the state's health advisory system and school districts have used that system to gauge if students should go back to in-person education, stay all virtual, or a hybrid of the two.
DeWine says, at this point, staying socially distant and wearing masks is more effective through personal responsibility than government enforcement.
During Monday's briefing on COVID-19, DeWine discussed the plan Ohio submitted for when a COVID-19 vaccine is available. The plan, sent to federal officials, addresses the preparations needed for receiving the vaccine and a coordinated strategy to distribute it.
DeWine says, when it comes to which groups should be immunized first, there are certain groups at the top of the priority list.
"We want to take care of the most vulnerable people first, but also at the same time, try to take care of, you know, get immunized. Those who are the front lines, people who are dealing with people with COVID, we've got to get them taken care of early on. So those two those two groups early and then we move into other groups beyond that," says DeWine.
DeWine says the plan is a working document that federal officials requested to get ahead of a potential vaccine distribution.
The governor says most of the supply could go directly to hospitals and health care providers while another portion could go to the state for more targeted distribution.