On April 15, Governor DeWine announced that more than 36 percent of Ohioans have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine – which is good news for returning to normalcy and work. However, we shouldn’t expect a return to normalcy over the next several weeks as Ohio’s statewide case incidence number has reached 200 cases per 100,000 people as compared to 144 cases per 100,000 people four weeks ago. This is an important figure to track as Governor DeWine has indicated that when the case rate drops to 50 cases per 100,000, and is maintained there for a two-week period, he will lift all health orders including mask mandates and limits on the number of people who can congregate.
The Governor attributes this increase in cases per 100,000 to “a strong variant that is multiplying very quickly and is more contagious than the virus we’ve seen in the past” but states that “vaccination is how we get out of this.” While vaccination may be the key to returning to normal, on April 13, the Ohio Department of Health advised all Ohio vaccine providers to temporarily pause using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine following extremely rare blood-clotting events of six people in the U.S. after receiving the vaccine. It is expected that the FDA and the Ohio Department of Health will eventually lift this temporary pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine; however, a timetable for doing so is unclear.
Finally, on April 9, 2021, the Ohio Department of Health released the “Director’s Amended Order for Social Distancing, Facial Coverings and Non-Congregating.” This Order contains many recommendations that we are all familiar with by now but does help clarify which Orders employers should be complying with and following. To summarize, the Order requires that all individuals wear facial coverings when indoors and when unable to maintain a distance of six feet. This requirement does not apply in several situations including when the individual is alone in an office, can separate by six feet in all directions, facial coverings are in violation of documented industry standards, or facial coverings are in violation of a business’s documented safety policies. The Order further describes the limitations imposed on congregations and large gatherings, appropriate sanitation, appropriate signage, and what to do when there is a confirmed case among other things.
You can view the full order here.