Fully vaccinated employees working in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will no longer have to undergo regular, routine COVID-19 testing, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Monday.
Since the start of the pandemic, DeWine has mandated that employees in these facilities routinely get tested for the virus twice every week, even if they have not experienced any symptoms associated with COVID-19.
"Normal, routine testing will not apply to anyone who has been fully vaccinated," said DeWine during his Monday afternoon briefing. "Unvaccinated staff in those facilities will continue to have to be tested twice a week."
He also announced a new "playbook" created by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Aging have created as a guide for Ohioans who are homebound, or for those caring for homebound loved ones.
By utilizing existing Rapid Response Teams, we can work to deliver vaccine to where they are needed. If you are a homebound individual or if you know someone who is homebound who would like a vaccine, please contact your area agency on aging at 1-866-243-5678.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 3, 2021
The playbook is intended to operate as a guide to accessing vaccines for those who cannot go out and get one themselves, DeWine said.
The number of people getting vaccines in Ohio has severely slowed, data showed, and he called out several local health departments statewide for making vaccinations simple and convenient for those still seeking a shot, including the Cincinnati Health Department's plan to offer vaccines at public libraries and directly in neighborhoods.
“If you have not been vaccinated, this is a high-risk gamble, a very high risk situation,” he said. In terms of sporting events, restaurants, shopping and other activities, DeWine said, “once you are vaccinated, you have great opportunity to live your life.”
Ohio saw an increase in COVID-19 cases in April overall, with the bulk of the increase occurring in younger age groups and among children who still are not officially cleared to receive vaccines.
On Monday, the trend showed signs of reversing, DeWine said, and the state saw fewer than 1,000 cases. Monday reports showed the state's lowest seven-day average for COVID-19 cases since Occtober 2020.