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Mask Mandate Coming For More than Half Of Ohio Population

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)

There are now 19 counties under a Level 3 advisory for the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio. This means more than 60% of the state's population will be under a mask mandate going into the weekend.

The "red" counties in Ohio hit enough indicators for the spread of coronavirus to trigger a mandatory mask order in public.

The new advisory comes a day after Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) made a statewide plea to the people of Ohio to wear masks and to stop gathering in large groups. But he stopped short of issuing stronger health orders, such as a statewide mask mandate.

"We're gonna give it a little while. And I will not rule that out as we go into the future but I think again, people would rather be asked than to be told," says DeWine.

DeWine says he's hoping Ohioans can take the precautions seriously in order to avoid another shut down of businesses.

Watch: Gov. Mike DeWine announces health advisory update for COVID-19

"No one wants to see a shut down, no one wants to see business shut down again. No one wants to see us hunker down. But if we're going to avoid all those bad things, we have to take action," DeWine says, adding that getting more people to wear a mask will take a culture shift that he believes is already happening. 

Democratic lawmakers are calling on DeWine to take more decisive action.

The following counites are currently listed under a Level 3 advisory by the state: Allen, Athens, Butler, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Montgomery, Pickaway, Richland, Scioto, Summit, Union, and Wood.

DeWine says health experts are growing concerned about the amount of cases coming from non-congregate settings, so not from assisted living centers or prisons. DeWine says a majority of cases not coming from congregate settings indicates "significant community spread."

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