Nov 22, 2021 - COVID

COVID cases up in Ohio as holidays approach

Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Ohio's pandemic outlook is once again trending in the wrong direction headed into the upcoming holiday season.

Why it matters: With cases and hospitalizations on the rise, holiday travel and indoor celebrations will put the millions of unvaccinated Americans at risk.

The big picture: Most families are planning Thanksgiving festivities resembling that of pre-pandemic years, according to Monmouth University polling.

The latest: Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the state health director, is urging Ohioans to be cautious with travel plans this week.

  • He advises getting tested before and after seeing loved ones and staying home entirely if not feeling well.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 17, Ohio recorded more than 2,800 patients in the hospital with COVID and more than 800 in the ICU, per data from the Ohio Department of Health.

  • That marks a 23% increase in hospitalizations over the previous 21 days, Vanderhoff says.
  • The more than 6,300 new cases reported in the 24 hours leading up to Nov. 17 was the highest one-day count since October.

What they're saying: Vanderhoff and other health officials continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent spread and ward off serious illness.

  • "Vaccination remains especially important because the delta variant appears to have gotten a second wave," he said at a recent news conference.
  • "Don't bring tragedy that can be easily avoided to your family this holiday season. Make the safe choice and get vaccinated."

Meanwhile, the Republican majority in the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to weaken vaccine requirements.

  • House Bill 218 would prohibit any Ohio entity — public or private — from requiring a person to show proof of vaccination against COVID to enter a space or receive a service.
  • The bill would also require any employer, school or college that issues a vaccine requirement for employees or students to allow exemptions for medical, religious and philosophical reasons.
  • HB218 needs support from the Ohio Senate and a signature from Gov. Mike DeWine to become law.

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