Coronavirus: Not wearing face masks would be ‘negligent,’ DeWine says

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Not wearing face masks would be negligent and a mistake, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday as he unveiled plans to reopen the state.

Masks are required for workers and even consumers in multiple industries, according to guidelines released Monday.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the idea for face masks and coverings came from the business task force compiled by the state to look at safe ways businesses can reopen.

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The governor noted that it’s not forever, but that if the state wants to get back to work employees need to be protected.

He added that the state isn’t mandating people wear face masks when they walk out of their house, but recommend it.

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DeWine laid out which businesses will reopen and when as the state starts loosening some restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The following industries were included in the governor’s announcement:

• May 1: Outpatient health care, dental and veterinary procedures

• May 4: General offices, construction, distribution and manufacturing

• May 12: Consumer, retail and services

If people are able to work from home, DeWine urged employees to continue that practice.

>> Here’s what DeWine’s plan to reopen Ohio says

Public gatherings will still be limited to 10 people or less as the state begins to reopen, DeWine said.

“We don’t want to go back,” he said. “The virus is still out there.”

Essential health care procedures and surgeries that require a hospital stay will continue as the state continues to reopen.

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Daycares, restaurants and hair salons are not included in the businesses reopening.

There will be strict guidelines businesses will be expected to follow, DeWine said, including requiting face coverings, daily health assessments, limiting capacity and cleaning and sanitizing the workplace.

The state is still working on increasing its supplies of personal protective equipment, the governor said.

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Ohio is also continuing to work on expanding testing and creating a contact tracing to workforce to identify hot spots of coronavirus and prevent it from spreading further.

By May 27, the state is estimated to be able to administer 22,275 tests a day and 133,650 a week.

The state is also ramping up its contact tracing workforce and needs an estimated 1,750 workers to dispatch to local health departments and control spikes in cases.

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DeWine praised Ohioans for working hard to slow the spread of coronavirus and help allow the state to begin reopening.

“You have done an amazing job,” he said. “Ohioans have stepped up. We are here because of what you have done.”

However, despite the state’s work to slow the the virus down, it is still here and is as dangerous as ever, the governor said.

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He also stressed that people should continue practicing physical distancing, wash their hands frequently and wear face masks.

There are a total of 16,325 total cases and 753 deaths connected to coronarvirus in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Confirmed cases are at 15,699 and deaths are at 712.

Hospitalizations are 3,232 with ICU admissions at 978.

DeWine looked at the state’s date from the last five days and said we’re headed in the right direction, but not totally there yet.

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