Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week seven counties in Ohio will start wearing face coverings in public as the coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state.
Counties that need to follow this mandate are currently in Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency, according to DeWine’s press release.
The counties that meet this criterion are Butler County, Cuyahoga County, Franklin County, Hamilton County, Huron County, Montgomery County and Trumbull County. This order will impact more than 4.5 million Ohioans, which is around 40 percent of Ohio’s population.
DeWine’s health measure went into effect on Wednesday.
No county is at the highest level Purple Alert Level 4, but Franklin County is closely approaching.
“In addition to social distancing and reducing unnecessary interactions with others, we know that wearing a mask helps protect others in the community. It has been, and remains, a very strong recommendation that I urge all Ohioans to continue doing even if you are not in a red-alert county,” said Governor DeWine. “In red-alert and purple-alert counties, however, we must do more to help protect citizens because the risk of spread is increasing even more.”
People who live in counties in Level 3 or Level 4 must wear face coverings under these guidelines:
- In any indoor location that is not a residence;
- When outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their household; or
- While waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.
Children under 10 do not have to follow these rules.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will update these rankings every Thursday to determine if counties can move in and out of these face coverings rules. When a county leaves Level 3 for Level 2, it no longer has to follow these measures.
As to if face coverings do work, a study done by healthaffairs.org showed that state-mandated face covering measures had some impact on preventing coronavirus cases.
State policies mandating public or community use of face masks or covers in mitigating novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread are hotly contested. This study provides evidence from a natural experiment on effects of state government mandates in the US for face mask use in public issued by 15 states plus DC between April 8 and May 15. The research design is an event study examining changes in the daily county-level COVID-19 growth rates between March 31, 2020 and May 22, 2020. Mandating face mask use in public is associated with a decline in the daily COVID-19 growth rate by 0.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.7, and 2.0 percentage-points in 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, 16–20, and 21+ days after signing, respectively. Estimates suggest as many as 230,000–450,000 COVID-19 cases possibly averted By May 22, 2020 by these mandates. The findings suggest that requiring face mask use in public might help in mitigating COVID-19 spread.
On Wednesday, Ohio had a total of 56,384 cases and 2,991 deaths, according to ODH data.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected] Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.