Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state will stop participating in the federal unemployment assistance program, which provided out of work Ohioans an additional $300 a week during the pandemic, beginning June 26.
In some cases, the additional assistance is "discouraging" workers from returning to their job, he said.
“When this program was put in place, it was a lifeline for many Americans at a time when the only weapon we had in fighting the virus was to slow its spread,” he said. “That is no longer the case. That is no longer our only tool in this fight.”
The announcement comes as industries in the state have said there is a shortage of labor. In March, the state's unemployment was at 4.9%.
He added that the assistance was always intended to be temporary. Ending the program in June will give workers enough time to get vaccinated before returning to work, DeWine said.
DeWine called the authorizations of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 a “significant step” in the fight against COVID-19.
Endorsement for the Pfizer vaccine for children in that age group came Wednesday from U.S. health advisers. Earlier this week the Food and Drug Administration cleared its use for those as young as age 12.
“As we are able to make vaccines available to more people, it will help us return to the life we want to live,” he said.
While Ohio has not reached its goal of 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, DeWine announced all health orders will be dropped by June 2. Currently, the case rate is 119.9, a drop from last week's 140.2.
Ohio has had 1,088,343 total cases of COVID-19, the Ohio Department of Health reported May 13.
The number of reported cases increased by 1,161 from May 12, staying under the state's 21-day average of 1,344.
The ODH has changed how it releases COVID-19 deaths in the state after conducting a review of the process. Deaths will be verified by coded death certificate information received from the National Center for Health Statistics, which can take some time to receive, according to a note on the ODH website. Death information is not available daily and will be updated twice a week moving forward.
Ohio residents account for a total of 19,441 COVID-19 deaths, the ODH reported May 11; the median age of those who has died is 80.
The individuals who have tested positive range in age of less than a year to 111 years old; the median age is 41.
The total number of tests conducted in Ohio is 12,787,875. The daily percent positivity of confirmed laboratory tests is 3.0%, with a seven-day moving average of 3.5%, according to May 11 data reported by performing labs via ODH's electronic laboratory reporting system.
The ODH reports 57,809 cumulative hospitalizations, and 7,955 individuals have been admitted to the ICU due to the coronavirus. The median age of those hospitalized is 67.
The ODH reports 1,041,481 individuals are presumed recovered – defined as cases with a symptom onset over 21 days prior who are not deceased.
Cuyahoga County accounts for 112,785 of the cases, 6,788 hospitalizations and 2,120 deaths.
A total of 4,915,037 Ohioans (42.05% of the state's population) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 4,293,006 Ohioans (36.73%) completed the vaccination process as of May 13.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced in an evening address May 12 that Ohio’s mask mandate and most other coronavirus-related state orders will end on June 2, allowing three weeks for more people to get vaccinated before then.
If you have questions regarding COVID-19, call 833-4ASKODH (833-427-5634) or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.