FOCUS: One year later – Key dates in the COVID-19 pandemic

Published 1:05 am Saturday, March 13, 2021


Dec. 31 – China reports clusters of cases in Wuhan province


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Jan. 20 – First U.S. case of COVID-19 reported, first case reported in South Korea
Jan. 25 – First case of COVID-19 reported in Australia
Jan. 31 – First case of COVID-19 reported in United Kingdom, Italy

Feb. 26 – First non-travel case of COVID-19 reported in U.S.


Georgia Dillon, director of the Lawrence County Department of Health, announces the first case of COVID-19 in Lawrence County on March 25. (Screengrab)

March 4 – Gov. Mike DeWine orders Arnold Sports Festival canceled in Ohio
March 5 – DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton host COVID-19 summit
March 6 – First COVID-19 case reported in Kentucky
March 9 – First confirmed case in Ohio
March 9 – DeWine declares state of emergency
March 11– President Donald Trump addresses nation on pandemic, World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic, actor Tom Hanks announces he has tested positive for the virus, NBA suspends games after player tests positive
March 12 – DeWine orders public schools closed, ban on mass gatherings ordered in Ohio, U.S. COVID-19 cases reach 1,000, NCAA cancels March Madness, Ironton declares state of emergency

Ironton resident Jen Bagley used sidewalk chalk to brighten up parts of the city with artwork in March during the state of emergency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Ironton Tribune | Sarah Simmons)

March 13 – Ohio University announces suspension of in-person instruction through end of spring
March 14 – Hospitals ordered to postpone elective surgeries, Coal Grove declares state of emergency
March 15 – Bars and indoor-dining ordered closed, Chesapeake declares state of emergency
March 16 – DeWine orders delay for March primary election
March 17 – First COVID-19 death in Ohio, first case confirmed in West Virginia
March 19 – U.S. State Department advises against international travel
March 22 – Stay-at-home order issued
March 25 – First positive case reported in Lawrence County
March 30 – First cases of COVID-19 reported in Cabell County, West Virginia


Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, speaks at a daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in April. (The Ohio Channel)

April 4 – Ohio recommends use of facial coverings and masks
April 27 – Reopening plan released for state
April 28 – Ballots counted for mail-in primary election


Izsak Unger helping a customer with a pair of sneakers at Unger’s Shoes when the store reopened in May. (The Ironton Tribune | Jeremy Holtzapfel)

May 1 – Hospitals reopen for elective surgeries in Ohio, state stay-at-home order expires
May 2 – South Point hosts socially distanced cruise-in event for community
May 4 – Construction, manufacturing businesses reopen in Ohio
May 12 – Consumer, retail, service businesses reopen in Ohio
May 18 – Lawrence County Courthouse reopens to public

Customers eagerly wait in line for a cut at Ironton Barber Shop when it reopened in May. (The Ironton Tribune | Jeremy Holtzapfel)

May 21 – Campgrounds reopen in Ohio
May 25 – Ironton Lawrence-County Memorial Day Parade takes place in scaled-down form with no spectators
May 28 – U.S. COVID-19 deaths top 100,000
May 29 – Board announces cancellation of Lawrence County Fair
Late May – Schools host socially-distanced graduation events for seniors

South Point Elementary School hosted their fifth grade drive-through graduation on May 23 due to pandemic limits on crowd sizes. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

The Division 1 banner is carried by Ben Anderson and Sami Anderson of Boy Scout Troop 106 in the 152nd Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade in May. The parade was held without spectators and livestreamed due to the pandemic. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

June 12 – Acton resigns as Ohio’s health director
June 18 – First Ohio counties, in southwestern part of state, begin seeing spike in cases
June 24 – West Virginia announces surge in COVID-19 cases tied to travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

July 2 – Four-tier alert map begins, Lawrence County listed at Orange Level Two
July 14 – Lawrence County Livestock Show offers scaled-down events in place of Lawrence County Fair
July 15 – DeWine addresses state on spike in cases; Walmart, Kroger say all customers required to wear masks
July 23 – Mask mandate in all Ohio counties begins
July 23 – Lawrence County moved to Red Level Three alert, Pumpkin House and fall festival canceled in Kenova, West Virginia
July 31 – Ironton Wizardfest announces cancellation of 2020 events

The village of South Point hosted three food truck rallies over the summer. With indoor dining closed at restaurants, food trucks became a popular feature in many areas during the pandemic. (Austin Johnson | The Ironton Tribune)

Aug. 6 – Lawrence County alert downgraded to Orange Level Two, outbreak reported at Harbor Health Care in Ironton
Aug. 13 – First COVID-19 death reported in Lawrence County
Mid–August – Schools in Ohio begin re-opening with masks required
Aug. 15 – FDA approves saliva test for COVID-19
Aug. 17 – COVID-19 becomes third leading cause of death in U.S.
Aug. 19 – Ohio Department of Health issues requirements for resuming sports at schools in the state
Aug. 28 – First known case of reinfection from COVID-19 reported in U.S.

Sept. 10 – DeWine names Joan Duwve as new health director. Duwve initially accepts position, but backs out hours later
Sept. 16 – Trump administration releases distribution plan for pending vaccines
Sept. 22 – U.S. COVID-19 deaths top 200,000
Sept. 23 – A strain of COVID-19, reported to be more contagious, is discovered
Sept. 28 – Worldwide deaths from COVID-19 total more than 1 million

Oct. 2 – President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump announce they have tested positive for COVID-19, the president is hospitalized for three days
Oct. 8 – Lawrence County returns to Red Level Three alert on state’s COVID-19 map; Outbreak of COVID-19 cases in White House totals 34, following a reception for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett
Oct. 15 – U.S. cases of COVID-19 spike to highest levels seen since August
Oct. 19 – Worldwide reported cases of COVID-19 top 40 million


Bill Neville, 93, of South Point, is masked as he carries a photo of his brother and fellow World War II veteran, Fred, as he crosses the Oakley C. Collins Memorial Bridge as part of his annual walk in November. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Nov. 3 – U.S. presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden defeats Trump’s bid for re-election
Nov. 4 – U.S. is reporting more than 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 daily
Nov. 5 – Stephanie McCloud named as new Ohio health director
Nov. 9 – Pfizer announces that its vaccine trials are 90 percent effective
Nov. 16 – Moderna announces 94.5 effective results in its vaccine trials


Masked dancers perform in an outdoor Christmas show by the Yvonne Dekay School of Dance on Judd Plaza in Ashland in December. (The Ironton Tribune | Jeremy Holtzapfel)

Dec. 10 – FDA announces its first endorsement of a COVID-19 vaccine for Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine
Dec. 14 – U.S. COVID-19 deaths top 300,000
Dec. 17 – FDA announces its backing of the Moderna vaccine
Dec. 22 – First vaccines arrive in Lawrence County, with staff at the Lawrence County Health Department the first to receive the Moderna shot


Jan. 19 – Vaccinations for those 80 and above in general population begin in Ohio; U.S. COVID-19 deaths top 400,000
Jan. 20 – Biden sworn in as president of the United States
Jan. 21 – DeWine announces those 75 and older can get a vaccine in Ohio
Jan. 26 – Ohio’s statewide curfew scaled back by one hour

Feb. 1 – Vaccination of school personnel begins in Ohio
Feb. 8 – Vaccination age lowered to 65 in Ohio
Feb. 11 – DeWine announces end to Ohio’s statewide curfew; state reports fewer than 3,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for first time since spike
Feb. 20 – U.S. sees 29 percent decline in new daily COVID-19 cases
Feb. 21 – Kentucky reports six weeks of decline in COVID-19 cases
Feb. 22 – U.S. COVID-19 deaths top 500,000
Feb. 24 – Mass vaccination event takes place for Lawrence County school employees
Feb. 26 – Ohio reports fewer than 2,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for fourth day in a week

March 1 – Organizers vote for full return of Lawrence County Fair in July
March 11 – Single shot vaccines begin in Lawrence County; DeWine announces that he expects all counties to have full fairs by summer