Ohio’s top leaders sought to shoot down the stigma around wearing a mask in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Saturday as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus climbed another 13% to 3,739.
Gov. Mike DeWine said during a daily press conference that he would wear a mask in most public settings and that Ohioans should appreciate those who are taking action to stop from spreading germs. At the same time, the state is trying to acquire more N95 masks for medical settings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week advised that people begin voluntarily wearing masks in public
“What we don’t want is people to think that this is a substitute for social distancing. It is not. It is certainly something we can do and should be accepted,” DeWine said.
State data released Saturday afternoon showed that 427 more Ohioans have tested positive for the coronavirus since March 9, even as the state has taken measures to curb the spread of the global pandemic in Ohio. So far, 102 people have died from the coronavirus in Ohio.
Cuyahoga County has the most cases, 781, followed by Franklin County with 557.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections also confirmed on Saturday that it had its first positive case among its nearly 49,000 inmates. One of 30 inmates tested at the Marion Correctional Institution tested positive for the virus, several days after a staff member at the prison tested positive.
A large portion of the most serious cases are among older Ohioans. About 63% of the hospitalizations, and 94 of the 102 deaths were for those age 60 and older.
Modeling the state is relying on anticipates that the peak of the virus will bring up to 10,000 new cases a day, most of them showing mild symptoms that would not make them eligible for testing, and would occur in mid- to late April.
Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have issued several orders designed to stop Ohioans from coming in close contact with one another as they try to slow the spread of the virus — or “flatten the curve” — and prevent health care facilities from being overwhelmed.
Social distancing should help delay when the number of cases will peak, Acton has said.
Ohio is under an extended version of DeWine’s original stay-at-home order, which was set to expire on April 6. But this week, the governor extended that order to May 1 to give more time for health care facilities to prepare for cases to peak.
Non-essential businesses and activities are closed under the order, and those without vital jobs are to leave their homes only if they are seeking food, medicine and medical care or to walk outside.