Republican lawmaker introduces legislation to remove Ohio's mask mandate
Good evening, my fellow highlands. One year ago today, our battle against the coronavirus began that day before we made the decision to close the Arnold Classic, knowing that the virus was, in all likelihood, already here. March 4th, 2020 our first full day in this fight. And none of us then fully understood the battle ahead. This has been a tough year. Many of you have lost a parent. Grandparents, sibling, spouse. Some of you have even lost a child. Mhm. Some of you have lost your job. Yeah, Some of you have lost your business yet through this most difficult year we did what Ohio ones always do. We rallied together. We sacrificed. We showed the world our Ohio grit. Our communities have come together. We've done things the Ohio way. We've been careful and we've been curing. And we've worked hard to protect the most vulnerable among us. Because that is what Ohioans do. We protect each other. We take care of our own. In so many of our communities teachers, superintendent, school staff and families have made so many sacrifices this year to keep kids in school all year working so very hard to keep our kids safe. They followed the best safety measures, and those measures have worked. Now Ohio is a true leader in getting the rest of our kids back in school. We vaccinated over 200,000 educators in just four weeks in February, and today nearly 95% of our Children 95% of our Children are back in school. In person learning. We had a plan and we carried it out. You know, we're now in the offense with this virus. We have the most efficient, effective, the most powerful weapon, and that is the vaccine. And we're implementing our Ohio plan to prioritize the deployment of this vaccine to those Ohio is most likely to die if they get the virus. Our order, Ohioans, those living in our communities and also those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ohioans with Severe developmental disabilities and Ohio is born with very serious life threat threatening medical conditions such as down syndrome, cystic fibrosis or cerebral palsy. Our Ohio plan has made sure that from the very start vaccines are available in every community in the state. Today we have over 1200 separate locations for all Highlands, you can get a vaccine close to their home. Not only that, we've taken the vaccine literally, to the doorsteps, to the doorsteps of people who have other barriers to accessing the vaccine every day. I'm so proud of the volunteers I'm so proud of. The National Guard every day are Ohio National Guard and countless other volunteers are vaccinating people at low income senior housing locations, at churches and a community and health centers and so many other places. To date, we have vaccinated over 1.8 million Ohioans. Now we've got a ways to go. And yes, we need more vaccine. Mhm. But more vaccine is coming. This week, at least 450,000 doses arrived in Ohio more vaccine than any previous week so far. We started our vaccinations in December, starting with long term care facilities, including our nursing homes. At that time, cases in nursing homes were over 2800 per week. Today, after those vaccinations, that number is down to 268 cases per week. 1/10 1 10th of what was but what it was before we started vaccinating and as a result, the number of covid 19 patients in our hospitals has dropped dramatically. We have not just vaccinated are nursing home residents and then going away. Rather, we're implementing an innovative Ohio program that ensures that new residents, new employees and those who initially chose not to take the vaccine all can now get vaccinated. And that will continue in the future in all of Ohio's 930 nursing homes. Yeah, science has shown us that those living with developmental and congenital disorders are also at increased risk of hospitalization and death from covid. The coronavirus, for example, is 10 times deadlier for those living with Down syndrome. And so Ohio has led the way in making vaccine available to these vulnerable individuals. So far, more than 15,000 Ohioans with developmental and congenital disorders have received vaccinations, and more are receiving them every single day. In addition, more than 91% of Ohioans with developmental disabilities who are living in our state's eight developmental centers have also received their vaccines. All of this weaves into our Ohio Story R Ohio plan, and that plan is saving lives. My fellow Highlands victory is in sight. Mhm. We have to keep in mind, though, that there is still a threat out there. Scientists tell us that the virus in Ohio is fast morphing into a more highly contagious virus, and no one no one really knows the full impact that this change might bring. The reality is that Ohioans continue to die each day from the virus. Each death is a tragedy. But there is something seemingly even more tragic and poignant about a death that occurs when the war is almost over and victory is close at hand. Mhm, My dad dicta Wine was a private in the Army, fought in Europe during World War Two. He served in K Company, 103rd Infantry Division of the seventh Army. Dad told me about the final days of the war, and he shared one story that remained with him throughout his life, and this has taken from the official company K History. Go quote from it. The company was strafed by two German M E 109 fighter aircraft as they were pursuing our American P 40 seven's. Yeah, Sergeant Bruno Bochenski was mortally wounded. The men of the third Platoon considered the loss of whiskey is the toughest blow of the campaign. And they brooded for weeks over the cruel quirk of fate which snuffed out the life of one who had come through the really tough days going through those without so much as a scratch. Mhm, mhm. Sergeant Kinski was killed on April 27th, 1945. The war ended just 10 days later. The end of our fight is now in view, but we must continue pressing forward in these final days. We want all Ohioans to complete this vital mission together. Now we must not relent and any struggle when the end is in view, there's a natural human tendency to let up when the job is almost done with kind of pull back a little bit. Sometimes we take our foot off the gas and I understand that I get it. All of us, all of us are so sick of this virus. But, you know, we must resist this urge and we must fight to the very end. I can't tell you exactly the day and the time when we can declare victory, but we will be able to declare victory. I can't predict how this virus will act in the coming days. No one can. But what we do know is this. We're close, we're close. We also know what works. And we know what we need to do to get to the other side of this. To get things back to normal. Not only now do we have three highly effective vaccines. We also have one battle tested tool that is proven to work so well. And that is the mask. Study after study has shown that mass work. In fact, we did our own studying schools and learned that even when kids were not 6 ft apart, even closer than 6 ft and they were in a classroom together for a long time as long as they're wearing a mask, the virus simply simply did not spread Ohioans. You've been doing things right and because of what Ohioans are doing faithfully wearing mask in school, in business and while shopping, we have made significant strides in getting our lives back to normal. The curfew has been lifted. We no longer have stayed home orders, restaurants, bars, gyms are open and we're looking forward. We're looking forward to a spring with graduations and proms and a summer fairs and festivals concerts in baseball. Yes, we may start at 30% capacity for the Reds and the Indians, the minor league teams, but we anticipate that is more and more of us get vaccinated. These percentages will grow until we have full ballparks. Full concert halls, full theaters, full capacity. It's so many other venues. Now let's talk for a moment about how we can measure that success, how we know when we're there. I'm often asked Mike, When is this going to end? When can we lift the health orders? I've consoled a doctor, Vanderhof, our Department of Health, medical director and number of epidemiologists as well as other health experts. And they tell me that now, with the vaccine, we can set realistic goals. And so tonight I'm announcing that when Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders in the state will come off. Now, cases per 100,000 people for a two week period is a standard measure, a measure that we've used since early in the pandemic. We show these numbers every week at our press conferences. Achieving this goal is very doable. We can't do this and I know we will now let me put these numbers in a little context. On December 3rd, 2020 Ohio was at 731 cases per 100,000 population over the previous two weeks, 7 31 on February 3rd, 2021 month ago, Ohio's cases were down to 445 and just yesterday we were down 279 cases. In three months we've gone down 550 cases per 100,000 people. Over the last month alone, we've gone down 265 cases per 100,000. Ohio is on the right path to get us to 50 and this is thanks to the vaccine. And thanks to your hard work and what you are doing every day to help mitigate the virus, our path back is by continuing forward by wearing that mask and by getting that vaccine and while no one will be forced to take the vaccine, the more of us who can get vaccinated and the quicker we can get it done, the more complete will be our victory. The sooner will we have that victory, and the more confidently Can we put this all behind us? Ohio. This is our path back. Mhm. My friends were now in the last few miles of what has been a ruling marathon. Mhm. We're tired, but no marathoner pulls out on purpose at the 25th mile marker. They know that they're almost to the finish line. Mhm. And that is when the marathoner digs even deeper from within to marshal the will to go on to go on to that finish line. In the words of Ohio State legend Olympic hero Jesse Owens, I quote that is the moment when we cannot give in to the pain. And instead of going to limit to the limit, we must go past it. Because that that is where victory is always found. Ohio. We must run through the tape at the end of this race. We need to keep going. We need to finish the job and we need to finish strong. My fellow Ohioans, we can do this. Thank you very much. May God bless all of you. Mhm! Mhm!
Republican lawmaker introduces legislation to remove Ohio's mask mandate
A Republican lawmaker will introduce new legislation to lift Ohio’s mask requirement, saying her bill “supports individual freedom.”Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, said Thursday that she plans to introduce new legislation next week to remove statewide mask mandates in Ohio. This comes as several other states have announced they too would do away with mask mandates.In a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine and other state officials, Powell says “it is past time to allow Ohioans to choose for themselves whether or not to wear a mask. My bill supports individual freedom, and allows Ohioans to make the choice of whether or not they voluntarily want to wear a mask.”The lawmaker argues the vaccine distribution is increasing rapidly, “allowing Ohioans to get a vaccine if they so choose.”More than 1.7 million people in Ohio have received at least one shot of the vaccine, or about 15% of the population. However, the vaccine is unavailable to the majority of the general public.Officials with the governor’s office said there are no immediate plans to lift the state’s mask mandate. Ohio's mask mandate will continue until a “critical mass” has been reached of people who have received the coronavirus vaccine, a spokesperson for DeWine said.On Thursday, the governor laid out plans to drop all health orders across the state. But that will likely be months into the future. When Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be revoked, the governor said. On Thursday, that figure is at 179 cases per 100,000. In December, the figure was at 731, so already the state has seen drastic improvements.The governor credited this drop in cases to continued mask-wearing and social distancing, coupled with the vaccine rollout. But the state still has a ways to go before health orders will be dropped.Cases per 100,000 people for a two-week period is a standard measure the state has used since early in the pandemic.
A Republican lawmaker will introduce new legislation to lift Ohio’s mask requirement, saying her bill “supports individual freedom.”
Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, said Thursday that she plans to introduce new legislation next week to remove statewide mask mandates in Ohio.
This comes as several other states have announced they too would do away with mask mandates.
In a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine and other state officials, Powell says “it is past time to allow Ohioans to choose for themselves whether or not to wear a mask. My bill supports individual freedom, and allows Ohioans to make the choice of whether or not they voluntarily want to wear a mask.”
The lawmaker argues the vaccine distribution is increasing rapidly, “allowing Ohioans to get a vaccine if they so choose.”
More than 1.7 million people in Ohio have received at least one shot of the vaccine, or about 15% of the population. However, the vaccine is unavailable to the majority of the general public.
Officials with the governor’s office said there are no immediate plans to lift the state’s mask mandate. Ohio's mask mandate will continue until a “critical mass” has been reached of people who have received the coronavirus vaccine, a spokesperson for DeWine said.
On Thursday, the governor laid out plans to drop all health orders across the state. But that will likely be months into the future.
When Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be revoked, the governor said. On Thursday, that figure is at 179 cases per 100,000. In December, the figure was at 731, so already the state has seen drastic improvements.
The governor credited this drop in cases to continued mask-wearing and social distancing, coupled with the vaccine rollout. But the state still has a ways to go before health orders will be dropped.
Cases per 100,000 people for a two-week period is a standard measure the state has used since early in the pandemic.
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