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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.

DeWine Says Ohio 'On Track' To Make COVID-19 Vaccine Available For Every Adult By May 1

Dan Konik

The national goal laid out by President Joe Biden to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to every adult by May 1 is within reach for Ohio, according to Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio).

Vaccine eligibility broadened this week with the inclusion of people over the age of 50, those with Type 2 diabetes, and end-stage renal disease. This adds nearly 1.4 million people to the eligibility list in Ohio.

DeWine says Biden's goal was already a possibility before the president made the announcement.

"We are on track to do that, we're going to make the vaccine available as quickly as we can," said DeWine. 

Ohio is aligning with federal guidelines that continue allowing visitation at nursing homes unless there's a coronavirus outbreak. And assisted living facilities can now allow visits in a resident's room. 

DeWine says to expect full county fairs but with rules attached such as limited crowds in grandstands. 

As for spring high school sports, DeWine removed the rule that student athletes must quarantine if they're exposed to COVID in the classroom. 

DeWine said the state will be expanding access to at-home COVID-19 tests. He was asked if more testing would make it harder to clear the case threshold needed to lift state mandates. DeWine said no because the positivity rate is so low.

"So I'm not worried about how many tests were doing. That is not going to really impact to a great extent when your positivity rate is that low. So no, I'm not concerned about that at all," DeWine said.

DeWine set a goal for the state to drop to 50 cases per 100,000 people in order to lift all state health orders. On Thursday, DeWine announced the two-week case average was 155 cases per 100,000 people.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.