COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The daily number of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases reported to the Ohio Health Department topped 1,000 on Wednesday for the first time in two months, while both the city of Dayton and Ohio State University announced plans to make mask wearing mandatory.
Ohio now has nearly 53,000 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, with a one-day reported increase of 1,076 compared to 743 on Tuesday. Results typically reflect tests conducted in the past 36 hours, but could involve people showing symptoms for up to two weeks.
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Ohio has increased by 402, an increase of nearly 99%, according to an Associated Press analysis. Ohio reported 1,175 cases April 29, when mass testing of prisons was still going on.
Deaths neared 2,900 on Wednesday, total hospitalizations approached 8,000 and total ICU admissions topped 2,000, the Health Department said.
Ohio’s positivity rate, a measure of how widespread the disease is in the community, remains at about 5%.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has warned of spikes in two southwestern Ohio counties, Hamilton and Montgomery. In the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, 28 inmates and five staff members have tested positive, the Dayton Daily News reported Wednesday.
Wednesday evening, the five-member Dayton City Commission approved a new city law requiring mask wearing in all public places in Dayton, including inside city businesses, and outside when social distancing isn’t possible. The ordinance takes effect Friday and carries an $85 fine.
“Unfortunately, wearing a mask has become a political flash point,” said Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat. “But I also know that masks save lives. Masks are incredibly effective in reducing the spread of this virus. Masks are a small sacrifice that we can all make to take care of one another.”
DeWine, a Republican, announced support for the move and urged other communities to do the same. DeWine has strongly recommended mask wearing statewide but has yet to mandate it universally. Mask wearing is currently required for Ohio employees but optional for customers.
“Wearing a mask will allow us to help keep businesses open and help prevent further spikes,” the governor said.
Also Wednesday, Ohio State University said students, faculty, staff and others will be required to wear masks indoors on campus this fall and sign a pledge “to affirm their understanding of what is needed to help fight the spread of the (corona)virus and their intention to do their part,” according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.
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