As the Ohio Department of Health reported the second highest single-day total of COVID-19 cases, Governor Mike DeWine ordered mandatory face masks for the entire state beginning Thursday at 6pm.
Masks are already mandatory in 19 counties, containing 60% of the states population. DeWine says more counties will be placed under a level three public health advisory tomorrow. He says making masks mandatory seems to be slowing the increase in cases in those "red" counties, and it is time to make it statewide.
"We started off, as you saw, with red counties. We saw more and more counties move to red. We have also seen pretty good evidence that more people are wearing masks, and because more people are wearing masks we're seeing a slowing of the acceleration of this in a lot of these red counties. So all of this put together... it seemed like the right time to do it."
The order covers people over 10 years old, when indoors other than a residence, outdoors when unable to maintain a 6 foot distance, when riding, driving, or waiting for public transportation. DeWine says the regulation does not apply to public safety employees, people with a medical condition or disability that prevents masks, or people who are actively eating or drinking.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, 1,527 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the past 24 hours, the second largest single day increase since the pandemic began. Over a thousand cases have been reported every day for the past two weeks, and there have been a total of 78,742 cases reported. There were 16 deaths in the same period, bringing the death toll to 3,235. DeWine says the daily number of of hospitalizations has remained high, with over a thousand people currently in hospitals across the state.
DeWine also issued a travel advisory for people coming from states with positve testing rates of 15% or higher. Travelers arriving in Ohio from Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada or Idaho are asked to self-quarantine at home or in a hotel for 14 days.