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Hamilton County Turns 'Purple' On Ohio's COVID Advisory Map

John Minchillo

Ohio hasn't seen a "dramatic surge" in new COVID-19 cases related to the holidays, according to the governor. But Mike DeWine says there has been an upswing. Hamilton County is now at "purple," the highest level on the state's color coded map tracking several different benchmarks. 

Purple means there's "severe exposure and spread," and people should only leave home for supplies and services. Hamilton County meets six of the seven indicators. Declining hospital admissions is the only marker that isn't flagged.

"There's also two counties moving up on our watchlist because of increases of health care utilization -- that is Lorain and Clermont," DeWine says. "But most of our counties are not changing color."

DeWine says new cases in the past two weeks have gone up statewide. The number of COVID patients in ICU beds had been trending down, but appears to be reversing, and could be climbing soon.

New Groups Become Eligible For The Vaccine

DeWine also provided details on Ohio's vaccine rollout. Starting next week, those age 80 and older will be able to sign up for the vaccine. After that, DeWine says he hopes to move down each week by five years -- so on Jan. 25, those age 75 and older can get the vaccine; on Feb. 1, those age 70 and older; and so on.

Also, DeWine says on Jan. 25, those with congenital, developmental, or early onset medical disorders will be eligible for the vaccine. He said he would provide more details on what that group includes during one of his briefings next week. 

Still, he emphasized that just because a group becomes eligible, it does not mean they will immediately receive a shot.

"We don't have enough (vaccines)," he said. "We hope it will increase as we move forward. But like all states, we have to deal with the scarcity." 

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Jennifer Merritt
Jennifer Merritt brings 15 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor.
Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.