(24/7 News Source) -- Governor Mike DeWine's statewide address late Wednesday afternoon dealt mostly with urging Ohioans to make more of a sacrifice now in order to avert mandated orders from the state to stem the increase in COVID-19 cases, which have seen recent spikes in parts of Ohio.
Saying Ohio has "reached it's most critical time" in the COVID-19 battle, DeWine says the recent virus spike in a dozen Ohio counties is not due only to more testing. “Our state’s life is now in danger”, said DeWine as he called on Ohioans to increase their vigilance to ward off the threat of COVID-19 infections sweeping the state.
The governor stopped short of implementing a statewide mask mandate or rolling back business re-openings, saying “that discussion is for another time.”
DeWine added “If all of us do not take immediate action to slow this virus down, the tragedy that we see playing out on our television screens every day in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California may well be our reality in just a matter of weeks. It does not have to be this way in Ohio”.
The number of confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio jumped by more than 13-hundred from the latest information released on Wednesday afternoon.
State health officials say one-thousand-three-hundred-sixteen new cases were reported in the last 24-hours, bringing the statewide total to more than 69-thousand. Six new fatalities were also reported and the death toll now stands at three-thousand-seventy-five.
Hamilton and Butler counties are among several at Level Three of Ohio's pandemic-warning system, with both trending toward Level Four. Fairfield and Pickaway counties currently meet Red Level-Three Emergency status, which requires anyone in public in those counties to wear a face covering. Even if Franklin County drops below a level 3 in the state's Coronavirus alert system, masks will still be required in public. This follows a mandate from the Franklin County Board of Health.
Ohio is being added to a travel advisory list issued by the state of New York against areas with spikes in COVID-19. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that Ohio was being included to its advisory list along with Minnesota, New Mexico, and Wisconsin while Delaware was being removed. Ohioans and residents of the other states on the list will now have to quarantine themselves for 14-days after entering New York. Travelers disobeying New York's quarantine order can face a fine up to two-thousand-dollars.
In a related note, Kroger, Walmart, & Sam's Club all will begin requiring customers to wear masks while shopping in all their stores. The store mandate for Walmart and Sam's Club begin July 20th and for Kroger stores on July 22nd.