Mask mandate to be removed once COVID cases fall

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Mask mandate to be removed once COVID cases fall

Mask mandate to be removed once COVID cases fall

DeWine says all health orders, including the mask mandate will be removed when Ohio drops to 50 cases per 100,000 over 2 weeks.

Mask mandate to be removed once COVID cases fall

One year after Ohio began its battle with coronavirus, Governor Mike DeWine has mapped a path to the end of COVID-19 restrictions.

DeWine said during the statewide address that he will remove all health orders, including mask mandates and limitations on businesses when the state sees a drop in new cases based on population.

Ohio has used cases per 100,000 people during a two week period as a standard metric since early in the pandemic.

"After consulting with Dr. Vanderhoff,  our State Medical Director and a number of epidemiologists, as well as other health experts, they tell me now we can set realistic goals." Dewine said. 

"When Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will be lifted."

Dewine noted that in December, Ohio had 731 cases per 100,000. That figure declined to 445 on Feb. 3 and to 179 new cases on Thursday.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 968,874 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 17,346 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 50,382 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 7,148 admissions to intensive care units. The most recent vaccine data shows that 1.8 million Ohioans or around 15% of the population have been vaccinated.

Related: Gov. Mike DeWine announces indoor and outdoor sporting and entertainment venues can reopen at reduced capacity.