Amid Spike in Cases, DeWine Backs Dayton’s Mask Requirement

Update: 8:50 p.m., July 1 | Dayton City Commission vote
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine supported the decision of Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley to require the use of masks in public places.

According to reports by WHIO TV 7, the mandatory ordinance was passed by unanimous vote Wednesday evening by the Dayton City Commission, and will take effect at 8 a.m. Friday. Per the ordinance, anyone not wearing a mask or face covering in public could be subject to an $85 fine, according to the report.

“It’s an appropriate and welcome response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in their area,” DeWine said in a statement released late Wednesday. “Masks are recommended by the CDC and medical professionals to help protect other people. Wearing a mask will allow us to help keep businesses open and help prevent further spikes.

“I encourage other communities to consider following Dayton’s lead,” continued DeWine, whose administration has, thus far, not mandated face coverings for all Ohioans.

During his briefing on Monday, DeWine said he will address the next phase of guidelines for the state on Thursday, including the state’s work on plans to reopen schools.

Whaley’s decision comes the day Ohio has reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus. It is the highest increase in cases since the virus peaked in the state around mid-April.

It also comes on the same day that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a new order signed by the commonwealth’s secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, requiring masks be worn by all individuals when they are outside their homes. The order takes effect immediately.

“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “Those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing – two practices that must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports 87,242 cases in the commonwealth, of which 84,751 are confirmed and 2,491 are probable. There have been 6,649 deaths thus far in Pennsylvania.

The Ohio Department of Health reports 52,865 cases Wednesday, with 49,263 confirmed cases and 3,602 probable based on the CDC’s expanded cased definition. So far in the state, 7,911 individuals have been hospitalized with 2,008 admissions to intensive care. There have been 2,876 total deaths in the state, 2,626 of which are confirmed.

The 21-day average for cases is 633, up from 494 that was reported nearly a week ago. The 21-day average of key indicators – cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths – is what the Ohio Department of Health looked to when determining when to reopen the state.

Dayton is in Montgomery County, which has seen spikes in cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks. The county is eighth in the state for cases with 1,784, including 288 hospitalizations and 26 deaths.

Spikes in Montgomery and Hamilton counties have caught the attention of the DeWine administration, as well as the federal government. On Monday, DeWine said he had spoken to Vice President Mike Pence during a call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, who said the government would “give us added help in those two counties,” DeWine reported.

At the start of the week, Montgomery County’s daily average jumped to 40 per 100,000 population, up from 10 in early June. Hamilton County saw a similar spike in the period, recording an average of 100 daily cases per 100,000 population, up from 30.

Doctor visits and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are also on the rise in those counties, as are admissions to intensive care.

In Mahoning County, the ODH reported 1,752 cases Wednesday, with 357 hospitalizations and 228 deaths. Trumbull County reports 863 cases, 210 hospitalizations and 62 deaths, while Columbiana County reports 1,209 cases, 147 hospitalizations and 60 deaths.

Mahoning County is ranks fourth highest in the state for cumulative deaths from COVID-19.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.