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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hamilton County's COVID Vaccine Site Opens Friday At BOE Early Vote Center

National Institutes of Health

The Hamilton County Board of Elections Early Vote Center will become the main COVID-19 vaccine clinic for the county.

Vaccines will be administered at 2300 Wall Street in Norwood. The clinic will open on Friday, and vaccines will be available by appointment only. You must also meet the age requirement at that time as determined by the state. Currently, that is age 80 and older

Hamilton County Public Health will contact those eligible for the vaccine to schedule an appointment. The department is asking people to not go to the Board of Elections without an appointment.

County Director of Elections Sherry Poland said the facility is over 15,000-square feet and will provide the health department enough space to administer vaccines safely.

"Eighty-thousand residents of Hamilton County voted early here at the Board of Elections, so we already have 80,000 that have an idea of where the facility is," Poland said.

The facility has nearly 100 free public parking spaces and multiple bus routes stop very close to the Early Vote Center.

To register for the vaccine, click here. Remember, vaccines are not available to everyone. Currently, vaccines will be administered to Ohioans above 80 years old. Below is a calendar showing when more age groups will be eligible for the vaccine.

Credit Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Jan. 20, 2021 briefing)
Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Jan. 20, 2021 briefing)

Hamilton County At 'Purple' Level

At least 3,428 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Hamilton County over the previous week.

As the county enters its first week since going "purple" on the state's COVID Public Health Advisory System, Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said the county could return to red by next week.

"If things continue to trend as they look today, we should transition back to red with high incidence of cases," Kesterman said. "That's the marker that means that we have more than 100 cases per 100,000 in population."

During Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing, Kesterman said roughly 660 patients are currently hospitalized, which is down from 700 patients in recent months.

"This number still is high and is still putting our hospitals in strain, but it's much of an improvement, so we're very excited about that," Kesterman said. "The same is happening with our intensive care units. I have been reporting for quite some time that we've been around 200 people in our ICUs. We are now down to about 175."

At least 41 new hospitalizations were reported within the last week. Fifteen new deaths were also reported.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 61,000 people within Hamilton County have tested positive for COVID-19. More than 2,000 people have been hospitalized and more than 400 have died.

Dayton Debuts Options Too

Dayton has a COVID-vaccine drive-thru operation. Miami Valley Hospital is running the clinic at UD Arena, and has plans to vaccinate more than 5,000 Ohioans in the next week.

As in Hamilton County - and all of Ohio - right now, only those age 80 and older can get the shots. The clinic started Wednesday afternoon with doses for 11,000 people who'd already registered. It continues through Saturday, by appointment only.

A release from Premier Health says more clinics could be scheduled, if more doses come from the state. To make an appointment in Dayton, go to

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.