COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced guidelines Tuesday that would allow for the statewide curfew to be shortened and eventually removed.
DeWine says 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 in the state fall below 2,500 over seven days.
DeWine explained that hospitalizations are a "lagging indicator" and if the numbers go back up, the state would likely need to reinstitute safety measures.
The curfew, which started in November and has been extended multiple times, prohibits people from being outside their homes during those hours with multiple exceptions including work, grocery shopping, medical appointments and other necessary trips.
The original order can be read here.
The good news about the curfew doesn't mean Ohioans should let down their guard, the governor said in Tuesday's briefing.
“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. “More people are wearing masks. Please continue wearing masks.”
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% of the state's population, have received at least the initial dose of the vaccine.