Home News COVID risk level drops, masking urged in fewer counties

COVID risk level drops, masking urged in fewer counties


OHIO — The number of counties where face coverings are recommended decreased this week, based on updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer advises masking in areas with low or medium levels in COVID-19 in most public places, including schools
  • Areas with high levels with COVID-19, including 10 Ohio counties, are still advised to mask up in public
  • Those who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 are still advised to wear a mask

According to the CDC’s COVID-19 guidance, masking is urged in 10 out of Ohio’s 88 counties. Most of the counties on the list border the Ohio River. Only one county, Ottawa County, is located north of Interstate 70. 

On Feb. 25, when the CDC updated its COVID-19 guidance, masking was urged in 15 Ohio counties. 

While previous guidance only factored a county’s COVID-19 case rate, the CDC’s new recommendations account for local hospitalizations. The CDC urges areas with high levels of COVID-19 to continue masking. 

The CDC advises residents of the following counties to mask while in public: 

  • Belmont
  • Gallia
  • Lawrence
  • Meigs
  • Monroe
  • Ottawa
  • Pike
  • Ross
  • Scioto
  • Washington

Ohio counties not listed above have either low or medium levels of COVID-19, and therefore are not being urged to mask, according to the CDC. Most of northeast and southwest Ohio have low COVID-19 levels while most of central Ohio has a medium spread of COVID-19.

The state has seen a significant decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last seven weeks, according to Ohio Hospital Association data. As of Saturday, Ohio hospitals had 856 COVID-19 patients, down from a peak of 6,729 patients Jan. 11. All eight of the Ohio Hospital Association’s regions have seen a significant decline in COVID-19 cases.

No matter the location, the CDC is still encouraging the public to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations. 

“Layered prevention strategies — like staying up to date on vaccines, screening testing, ventilation and wearing masks — can help limit severe disease and reduce the potential for strain on the health care system,” the CDC said. “CDC recommends using county COVID-19 Community Levels to help determine which COVID-19 prevention measures to use for individuals and communities.”



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