Coronavirus: Guidance on proms, graduations, festivals coming

New public health order consolidates previous mandates, focuses on ‘common-sense’ guidelines

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Guidelines on proms, graduations and other spring events should be available tomorrow, said Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud on Monday.

She also announced a new public health order aimed at consolidating previous orders while also emphasizing face masks and social distancing.

Gov. Mike DeWine said the orders are “common sense” and clarify that things such as proms, graduations and festivals can occur.

“You can do about anything, it’s about how we do it,” said DeWine.

The orders, which should be released by tomorrow, stress wearing face masks while in public or with those outside of your household and social distancing.

“The goal here is to get back to basics, to make sure that we can have a smooth path to return to our lives,” said McCloud.

She reminded Ohioans that while in public, groups should not be larger than 10 people and should stay at least 6 feet away from other groups.

Event organizers should provide one-way traffic flow to prevent crowds and congregating, she said. Indoor events will have a limit of 25% capacity. There will be no limit on outdoor events.

The orders show that “simple steps can save lives and help put this pandemic behind us,” said ODH Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff.

The orders will be available today. Additional guidelines addressing proms, graduations, festivals and other events should be available tomorrow.

“I want to emphasize what we know today, and what we know today is that masks are powerful,” DeWine said.

This week the state plans to begin offering the COVID vaccine on college campuses in an effort to boost vaccine rates and encourage students to get the shot.

With the school year ending in early May for many colleges and universities, Ohio hopes to vaccinate as many students as possible before they leave campus for the summer.

Most on-campus vaccination clinics will have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is one dose.

Last week, Central State University in Wilberforce announced the vaccine would be available in two clinics on-campus Thursday and Friday.

In addition to reaching out to college students, DeWine said his office has contact local health departments about reaching out to high school students about getting vaccinated.

This is entirely up to the individuals and, in the case of the 16- and 17-year-olds, they’d have to bring in a signed permission slip to get vaccinated, DeWine said.

“We very much encourage young people to get vaccinated,” the governor said. “We now have the ability to vaccinate 16- and 17-year-olds with the Pfizer [vaccine]. We know that there are trials being done for those that are 12 and over,” he said. “I would hope that by the beginning of school next year, we will be able to vaccinate a lot more of our young people whose parents want them vaccinated.”

As of Monday, 3,721,565 people in Ohio have received one dose of the COVID vaccine and 2,188,726 people have finished the vaccination, according to ODH.

Ohio has reported 2,918 cases of coronavirus in the last two days. The state health department did not update the COVID dashboard on Easter Sunday.

Since the pandemic has started, the state has recorded 1,026,929 total cases.

In the last two days, Ohio has reported 12 ICU admissions and 139 hospitalizations for a total of 7,462 and 53,445 respectively.

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