Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
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 Turns 'Purple' On Ohio's COVID Advisory Map

the banks
John Minchillo

Ohio hasn't seen a "dramatic surge" in new COVID-19 cases related to the holidays, according to the governor. But Mike DeWine says there has been an upswing. Hamilton County is now at "purple," the highest level on the state's color coded map tracking several different benchmarks. 

Purple means there's "severe exposure and spread," and people should only leave home for supplies and services. Hamilton County meets six of the seven indicators. Declining hospital admissions is the only marker that isn't flagged.

"There's also two counties moving up on our watchlist because of increases of health care utilization -- that is Lorain and Clermont," DeWine says. "But most of our counties are not changing color."

DeWine says new cases in the past two weeks have gone up statewide. The number of COVID patients in ICU beds had been trending down, but appears to be reversing, and could be climbing soon.

New Groups Become Eligible For The Vaccine

DeWine also provided details on Ohio's vaccine rollout. Starting next week, those age 80 and older will be able to sign up for the vaccine. After that, DeWine says he hopes to move down each week by five years -- so on Jan. 25, those age 75 and older can get the vaccine; on Feb. 1, those age 70 and older; and so on.

Also, DeWine says on Jan. 25, those with congenital, developmental, or early onset medical disorders will be eligible for the vaccine. He said he would provide more details on what that group includes during one of his briefings next week. 

Still, he emphasized that just because a group becomes eligible, it does not mean they will immediately receive a shot.

"We don't have enough (vaccines)," he said. "We hope it will increase as we move forward. But like all states, we have to deal with the scarcity." 

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.
Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.