COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Tuesday that effective on Wednesday, July 8, at 6 p.m., a new Ohio Department of Health order mandates face coverings in public in all counties designated as a Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency or a Purple Alert Level 4 Public Health Emergency.
At press time, seven counties in Ohio are designated at Red Alert Level 3 which indicates those in these counties have a very high risk of exposure and spread. Those counties include Butler County, Cuyahoga County, Franklin County, Hamilton County, Huron County, Montgomery County and Trumbull County.
As of Wednesday, no counties have reached Purple Alert Level 4, however, Franklin County is approaching this top tier.
“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.”
Last week, Governor DeWine announced the creation of Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System, which consists of four alert levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. Each level is calculated based on seven data-driven health indicators.
Those in counties designated as Red Alert Level 3 or Purple Alert Level 4 are required to wear a face covering: 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.
The order does not apply to children under the age of 10 or any other minor who cannot safely wear a face covering. The order also reflects the mask guidance in place for employees and businesses which does not require a person to wear a mask if their physician advises against it, if wearing a mask is prohibited by federal regulation, if communicating with the hearing impaired, when alone in an office or personal workspace, and other similar measures.
Schools that offer Kindergarten through Grade 12 instruction should follow the guidelines set forth last week by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health, according to officials.
The Ohio Department of Health will update county rankings every Thursday. Any county that increases to Red Alert Level 3 will automatically be included in the face-covering mandate. Any county that decreases from Red Alert Level 3 to Orange Alert Level 2 will automatically be released from the face-covering requirement.
Current Ohio data: At press time, there had been reported 60,181 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2991 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 8,489 people have been hospitalized, including 2,127 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov .
According to the ODH, at press time there had been reported a total of 80 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Preble County, with 13 hospitalizations, and one death. The ODH reports 51 cases in Preble County are “presumed recovered.”
For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.