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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Mayor Cranley Dons A Mask, Urges Others Do The Same

City of Cincinnati
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley wearing an FC Cincinnati scarf as a mask during a Wednesday press briefing.

Officials at all levels of government have suggested people wear masks when out in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially if there could be issues maintaining six-foot spacing with others.Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley started the city's Wednesday press briefing using an FC Cincinnati scarf as a mask.

Cranley said studies show the cloth mask gives you a little protection. But he added what it really does is protect others from you.

"And I want you to think about that for a second because what we're learning is that many, many, many people have the coronavirus and will never know it, and don't have symptoms and yet can give the coronavirus to other people," Cranley said.

Cranley suggested wearing the cloth masks to the grocery store, pharmacy or other businesses to protect workers at those locations.

There are 134 confirmed COVID-19 cases within city limits, and 14 positive tests were returned Wednesday.  There have been three deaths within the city; 15 patients are in the hospital and 32 people have recovered.

City Health Commissioner Melba Moore said starting Thursday the city will provide the ethnicity of those with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Moore also shared a message she said she's heard from the mayor and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

"These are challenging times for us, they're turbulent times," Moore said. "Hard decisions are having to be made. And the restrictions that have been put in place is not to be punitive to any ethnic group. It is so that we can save lives."

Moore acknowledged that tests done at city health clinics are still being analyzed by a private provider, and they're still working with that provider to get test results returned more quickly.

Meanwhile, Mayor Cranley is asking city residents and businesses to participate in an effort Thursday night to honor first responders during the crisis.

"We will be lighting up the Cincinnati sign (on the convention center) and Fountain Square and other locations, and if you happen to have a building and can control your lights in blue in honor of our first responders and to thank them for their wonderful work protecting us all," Cranley said.

Cranley also said that for now, with yard waste collection suspended for the pandemic, people can place yard waste in their trash cans as long as they have room for it.

The mayor said that's not the ideal solution, but it is a solution. 

You can also take yard waste to Rumpke's facility in Colerain Township or Bzak Landscaping on Turpin Lane in Anderson Township. The city suggests calling first before using either of those facilities.

The city hopes to resume yard waste collection in June.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.