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Coronavirus Update: Vaccine Eligibility Expands to Children 12-15, Plus New CDC Guidelines

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Coronavirus Update: Vaccine Eligibility Expands to Children 12-15, Plus New CDC GuidelinesPhoto by Izzy Park.
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Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.

The Numbers

COVID-19 cases — In Columbus, 122 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday, May 13. As of Thursday, 89,695 total cases and 1,073 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Columbus and Worthington.

In Franklin County at large, 173 cases were reported on Wednesday.

Countywide, 134,596 total cases and 1,610 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health.

In Ohio, 1,161 cases were reported on Thursday.

Statewide, 1,088,343 total cases and 19,441 deaths have been confirmed or are probable since the start of the pandemic, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health. 1,041,481 Ohioans have been presumed recovered.

According to the Ohio Vaccination Dashboard, 4,915,037 Ohioans (42.05% of the total population) have been administered at least one dose of the vaccine. 579,201 Franklin County residents (43.99% 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.

More Updates

Governor DeWine Announces Vaccine Incentives, End Date for Health Orders — The governor announced in a Wednesday evening address that five state university scholarships and $5 million in drawings would be up for grabs to incentivize Ohioans to get vaccinated. He also announced an end date for most pandemic-era public health orders, June 2.

During his Thursday press conference, he clarified the drawings would be subject to income tax, as is the case with lottery winners.

Opt-in to Vax-A-Million here: ohiovaxamillion.com.

CDC Announces Mask & Social Distancing Updates — This afternoon, the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) formally announced that fully vaccinated people can now safely resume maskless activity indoors and no longer need to practice 6 feet of social distancing. Of course, the guidelines defer to further state or local governmental rules and private business guidance for implementation.

Uber and Lyft to Offer Free Rides to Vaccine Sites — The White House announced this week ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber would offer free rides to vaccination sites. The feature will launch on May 24, and last until July 4. The offer covers daytime rides in cars, as well as on bikes and scooters.

Other free ride options include COTA Plus and Columbus Stand Up.

Ohio Expands Vaccine Eligibility to Children 12-15 — Gov. DeWine announced this week that the state would expand eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 12-15, following authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“I am encouraged that the FDA has already updated Pfizer’s Emergency Use Authorization to include youth ages 12-15,” he said. “Ohio will immediately expand vaccine eligibility to youth ages 12-15 and provide appropriate guidance for parents, guardians, and vaccine providers across the state. Vaccinations are our way back to a more normal life.”

The age group can now get the Pfizer vaccine from Columbus Public Health and OhioHealth by appointment or walk-in, or many other vaccine providers. A parent or guardian must be present.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Helps Families Afford Internet Service — The Emergency Broadband Benefit program by the Federal Communications Commission went into effect this week. The program helps eligible households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find more information or apply online here.

Ohio Restores Unemployment Benefits Weekly Work-Search Requirement — Starting the week of May 23, unemployed Ohioans must resume weekly work-search activities as part of all future applications for unemployment payments, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced. The return to work search requirements is the result of widespread vaccine availability, the governor said.

The department will notify individuals impacted by this change directly.

Gov. DeWine also announced Thursday that the administration will inform the U.S. Department of Labor that Ohio intends to stop participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program next month. The program gave states funding to offer an additional $600 and later $300 in unemployment benefits.

For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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