Gov. Mike DeWine.

While Athens County inched closer to the 300 mark of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a statewide mask mandate during his daily press conference on Wednesday. The order will be effective as of Thursday at 6 p.m.

Previously DeWine resisted enacting a state mask order, instead favoring to only issue mask orders in “red alert” or “Level 3” counties on the Public Health Emergency Alert System, the system that monitors the severity of the pandemic in each county.

Athens County was upgraded to “Level 3” last week and has been under a mask mandate since.

Currently 19 of Ohio’s counties are “Level 3”, many of which are the state’s most populated counties. Nearly 60% of Ohio’s population were already under a mask order prior to DeWine’s announcement.

Under the new order, masks will be required at all times when:

  • At an indoor location that’s not a residence
  • Outdoors, when unable to keep a 6 foot social distance from those not in your household
  • When waiting for, riding, driving, or operation public transportation. i.e. taxi, car service or private ride share

The order only applies to those 10 years of age or older. In addition, the mask order does not apply to:

  • Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability
  • Those who are actively exercising or playing sports
  • Those who are officiants at religious services
  • Those who are actively involved in public safety
  • Those who are actively eating or drinking

“Wearing masks will make a difference. It will determine what our fall looks like. We want kids to go back to school, we want to see sports – to do that it’s very important that all Ohioans wear a mask,” DeWine said.

Currently in Athens County there are 292 cases of COVID-19, of which, 150 are known active cases and 140 are recovered, there was one death related to COVID-19 in March. Of the 292 cases, 290 have been confirmed with a test, while two cases are considering probable, meaning they have been given a clinical diagnosis.

Statewide there are now 78,742 total COVID-19 cases in Ohio, and 3,235 deaths.

There have been 24 cases aged 0-19, 202 aged 20-29, 25 aged 30-39, nine aged 40-49, 13 aged 50-59, 14 aged 60-69, four aged 70-79, and one case aged 80+.

In Athens County, 148 of the cases are female and 144 are male.

In the counties surrounding Athens, the confirmed cases stand at:

  • Washington – 171
  • Morgan – 15
  • Perry – 63
  • Hocking – 98
  • Vinton – 25
  • Meigs – 20

Currently, COVID-19 tests are available to those who have symptoms. A test can be ordered by a physician, at the Emergency Room, Holzer, and CVS on State Street.

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