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DeWine Gives Hint Of When Mask Mandate, Other Health Orders Will Be Lifted

Gov Mike DeWine
Jo Ingles
Gov Mike DeWine

In his third statewide primetime address during the pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine is telling Ohioans when they can expect existing health orders to come off if COVID cases continue to decline. 

A year after the Arnold Sports Festival became the first major event canceled because of coronavirus, DeWine says Ohioans have made great progress by wearing masks, social distancing, and getting vaccines. And he says if Ohioans continue to do that, rates of COVID-19 will continue to go down.  

“When Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders in the state will come off," DeWine says.

But DeWine says he can’t predict when that will happen.

DeWine notes there were 731 cases per 100,000 people on December 3, which dropped to 445 cases per 100,000 people two months later as vaccinations began. Currently, there are 179 cases per 100,000 people.

There are approximately 11.9 million people in Ohio. So that means the orders will be lifted when there are no more than 5,950 cases over a two-week period. That would be an average of 425 cases per day. The last time the confirmed cases were that low in Ohio was June 17, when there were 392 confirmed cases.

But right now, only one county - Holmes - meets that standard, as shown in a chart on the Ohio Department of Health's website:

So for now, the mask mandate going back to July and other orders remain.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.