Coronavirus Update: Franklin County on Watch List, Funeral Assistance & More
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
COVID-19 cases — In Columbus, 231 cases of COVID-19 were reported as of Wednesday, April 7. As of Thursday, April 8, 85,147 total cases and 1,027 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Columbus and Worthington.
In Franklin County at large, 328 cases were reported as of Wednesday.
Countywide, 128,024 total cases and 1,544 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health.
In Ohio, 2,742 cases were reported on Thursday.
Statewide, 1,033,606 total cases and 18,741 deaths have been confirmed or are probable since the start of the pandemic, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health. 978,269 Ohioans have been presumed recovered.
According to the Ohio Vaccination Dashboard, 3,913,290 Ohioans (33.48% of the total population) have been administered at least one dose of the vaccine. 424,906 Franklin County residents (32.27% of the county population) have received at least one valid dose.
Those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine can book an appointment here or call 1-833-427-5634 for help with scheduling.
Variant Soon Will Become Dominant Virus in Ohio — During a Thursday press conference with Governor Mike DeWine, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health, said he believed the COVID variant first seen in the United Kingdom will be the dominant version of the virus in the state within the next two weeks.
He noted that variant counts jumped from 92 on March 12 to 797 on Thursday, a doubling of every nine to 10 days.
Rising Cases — When Governor DeWine first announced he would lift health restrictions when Ohio hit 50 cases per 100,000 residents, the state was in a much better position in its battle with the pandemic. Now, over a month later, Franklin County is on the state’s Public Health Advisory watch list and at risk of moving to level 4, and Ohio’s two-week average of cases per 100,000 people is now at 183.7.
Franklin County has seen a sustained increase in cases since mid-March, and in COVID-related healthcare use, including emergency department, outpatient visits and hospitalizations.
“We are not seeing the runaway case growth we saw during the fall yet, so we can still turn this around if more people continue to get vaccinated and we continue to mask and social distance,” said the governor.
Dr. Vanderhoff told the press on Thursday that despite rising cases, the state could expect the death rate to be lower than past surges given the rate of vaccination for older, at-risk Ohioans, which is also indicated in the lower rate of hospitalizations for older Ohioans.
This week Gov. DeWine has also encouraged local health departments to reach out to high schools to create access to the vaccine for students 16-years and older.
VaccinateOH — Can’t Stop Columbus has launched their latest project, VaccinateOH.org, which helps people search available vaccine appointments in another way online or via phone or text. The site is modeled on a site in Massachusetts but is reportedly the first on-demand SMS and phone-based vaccine appointment search in the country.
To use VaccinateOH’s interactive voice-based search system, call 614-972-1114.
FEMA Announces Funeral Financial Assistance — Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20 of last year. Implementation is set to begin in April with the help of stakeholder groups and community partners.
FEMA will begin accepting applications for assistance on Monday, April 12, through its call center. Visit www.fema.gov as more information is released.
CDC Awards Vaccine Funding to State — This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced it awarded Ohio over $105,000,000 for the expansion of Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccine programs. The state is one of 64 jurisdictions to receive an award.
As part of ongoing efforts by the CDC to ensure health equity across the country, 75% of the total funding must focus on programs and initiatives intended to increase vaccine access, acceptance and uptake among racial and ethnic minority communities; and, 60% must go to support local health departments, community-based organizations and community health centers.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.