Face coverings are now required statewide.

Gov. DeWine announced during his July 22 press conference that the Ohio Department of Health will now mandate the use of face masks in the state. The order will go into effect the following day at 6 p.m.

“Wearing masks will make a difference. It will determine what our fall looks like,” DeWine stated in a tweet. “We want kids to go back to school, we want to see sports — to do that it’s very important that all Ohioans wear a mask.”

Masks must be worn in indoor locations that are not residences; outdoors when people are not able to maintain six feet of physical distance from those not in your household; and when waiting for, driving, or riding in public transportation, according to the order.

This order only requires those who are 10 years of age or older to wear face coverings.

Those who have medical conditions or disabilities or must communicate with those who do are also exempt from this order. In addition, those who are actively exercising or playing sports, those who are officiants of a religious ceremony, or those who are involved in public safety are exempt. Lastly, people who are “actively eating food or drinking” may remove their masks.

Gov. DeWine also announced last week a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher.

Those traveling from one of the following states should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

The self-quarantine recommendation applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.

Here are the weekly updates of COVID-19 cases in Vinton and Jackson Counties.

Jackson County:

In a week, the Jackson County Health Department has reported 14 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County. The cumulative total stands at 58 lab-confirmed cases.

“At this point in the pandemic the virus is community spread-meaning it is throughout the entire county,” stated Jackson County Health Commissioner Kevin Aston. “All general safety and infection prevention precautions should be taken anytime you are in a public space.”

On July 23, 2020, Jackson County moved from a level 1 (yellow) to a level 2 (orange) on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. A level 2 means “increase exposure and spread.” This is the first time, Jackson County has changed levels.

The health department released the new lab-confirmed cases on July 22 (45th/46th), July 23 (47th/48th), July 24 (49th/50th), July 25 (51st/52nd), July 26 (53rd), and July 28 (54-58).

It also reported five probable (likely) cases of COVID-19. A probable case is defined as an individual who reports a history of a COVID like illness and are epidemiologically linked to a confirmed case or an individual who reports a history of a COVID like illness with supportive lab results, but do not have testing done.

The health department is reporting that 14 of the 58 lab-confirmed cases are currently in isolation.

No deaths have been reported in Jackson County.

The health department is also reporting 10 positive antibody tests.

The CDC reports that an antibody blood tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus.

These are separate tests from lab-confirmed case tests.

There is one current hospitalization. There have a total of four individuals with lab-confirmed cases that were hospitalized, but each have since been released.

A total of 454 tests have returned negative in Jackson County.

The health department is reporting that 51 percent of the 58 confirmed cases have an underlying health condition. The breakdown of gender infected is 54 percent female, and 46 percent male. The age range in years among those infected is 12-90.

Vinton County:

Vinton County has 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of July 28.

The county’s health department also reported 23 recoveries out of the confirmed cases in Vinton County.

Overall, as of Monday afternoon, 176 individuals have tested negative for the virus in Vinton County, the county’s health department said. One test is pending results.

In Vinton County, two fatalities related to the virus have been reported.

The Vinton County Health Department announced the second confirmed death on May 28. The first fatality related to the virus was reported on May 25.

“Out of respect to the family, we urge you not to speculate on the identity of this individual and allow the family to grieve.” the department stated in its social media post update. “This is a devastating situation and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted.”

The health department has not released any demographic information about any COVID-19 positive case in the county “in order to protect the privacy of these individuals” who test positive for the virus.

The first two cases were confirmed on April 25. The Vinton County Health Department (VCHD) reported two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Vinton County residents. Both individuals were contacts of a positive, out-of-county case.

“We have contacted the patients and the individuals potentially exposed and they have been given instructions to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms,” the health department stated at the time.

“Most are work-related exposures to positive cases or immediate contacts of positive cases,” VCHD Health Commissioner and Medical Director Dr. Susan Crapes said in a press release issued earlier this year. “There is evidence of community spread, not just in Vinton County but around the state.

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