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Ohio plans first COVID-19 shot for all school employees in February

COLUMBUS (AP) — Some school employees will begin receiving the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine this month as Ohio continues its goal of returning all children to in-person learning by March 1, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday.

Employees at Cincinnati city schools will begin receiving shots this week and other districts next week, though the state doesn’t have enough doses on hand for all districts to begin receiving vaccinations this month, the governor said.

“Ohio’s ultimate plan is that anyone who works in a school in Ohio will have the opportunity to get their first shot in the month of February,” DeWine said.

DeWine also said the current 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will be shortened to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Thursday as long as the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to fall below 3,500. The curfew could be eliminated if, over the next few weeks, hospitalization numbers fall below 2,500 over seven days.

The good news about the curfew doesn’t mean Ohioans should let down their guard, the governor said.

“We must keep practicing safety protocols. Our case numbers are improving because of what you are doing — and what you’re not doing,” DeWine said at his twice-weekly briefing streamed live. “More people are wearing masks. Please continue wearing masks.”

The curfew prohibits people from being outside their homes during those hours with multiple exceptions including work, grocery shopping, medical appointments and other necessary trips.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 8,219 new cases per day on Jan. 11 to 5,370 new cases per day on Jan. 25, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 80 deaths per day on Jan. 11 to 70 deaths per day on Jan. 25.

The state Health Department says more than 620,000 Ohioans, or just over 5 percent of the Ohio’s population, have received at least the initial dose of the vaccine.