CLEVELAND — Wednesday marked two years to the day that the state of Ohio announced the first confirmed cases of COVID-19. From that day forward, Gov. Mike DeWine was front and center on a near-daily basis to provide critical updates on the pandemic in the state.
During an interview with 3News' Sara Shookman on Wednesday, DeWine was asked to reflect on the past two years of COVID and how he feels moving forward.
"I think as I look back and reflect on the last two years, I think about those who have died, I think about those who have had long term problems because of COVID. I know people who are in both of those categories. And so I think about them and everyone else," DeWine said. "To the future, I think Ohio's future is very bright. I'm very optimistic about where this state is going."
The future of COVID-19 in Ohio has seemed to be brightening of late. Case numbers have fallen in many parts of the state, while the CDC has started to loosen its mask-wearing guidance.
"I certainly hope this is a new chapter," DeWine added. "I'm watching cases go down every single day. They continue to drop. I get those numbers every single day. And you know, the number of people in our hospitals is dropping dramatically every single day, that the count of people who have COVID. So we are clearly headed in the right direction"
DeWine and his administration has continued to struggle getting Ohioans vaccinated. As of Wednesday, 57% of the state was fully vaccinated. The governor is continuing to plead for people to get their shots.
"Now I can't guarantee that we're not gonna get another variant out there. And so we know the strongest thing people can do is to get vaccinated. We continue to urge people to get vaccinated. We continue to urge people if they've been vaccinated to get that booster shot, that those booster shots really matter a lot. And it's particularly true if you have any kind of medical vulnerability, or if you're over 60 years of age. The importance of that booster shot goes up really, really dramatically. It's very, very powerful," he added.
The Ohio Department of Health reports that there have been more than 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state since that first reported day two years ago. 37,146 Ohioans have died.