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Columbus issues indoor mask advisory as COVID cases rise

Mika Baumeister

The Columbus Department of Public Health issued an indoor face mask advisory for public places on Friday morning following an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Public health officials are advising masks should be worn indoors and in crowded areas regardless of vaccination status. The advisory however does not require that masks be worn indoors and Columbus Public Health said there are no plans for a mask mandate at this time.

“Protecting ourselves and our community from COVID-19 takes a multi-layered approach” said Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts. “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from hospitalization and death from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and boosted. Wearing a mask and testing if you’re sick also will help slow down the spread.”

Cases of the coronavirus continue to rise due to the omicron BA.5 variant, which is more contagious and more likely to lead to reinfection.

The CDC considers the community spread level in Franklin County to be high with 214.01 cases per 100,000 people. As of July 18, the positivity rate in Franklin County is 19.8%.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 26,610 cases during the seven-day period ending Thursday. Combined with last week, the state has reported more than 50,000 cases during the two most recent reporting periods, the first time that’s happened since last winter.

Prior to the last two weeks, the state has not seen more than 20,000 reported new cases in a week in nearly five months.

Columbus last had a mask mandate in place from September 2021 until March 2022.

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