Latest CDC mask guidelines could result in update to Ohio’s mandate

Ohio might update its mask mandate after update guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks outside unless in large crowds.

Gov. Mike DeWine said he glanced at the updated guidelines prior to his press conference Tuesday afternoon and the “basic principles” appear to be the same as Ohio’s mandate.

“I don’t think the CDC’s comments today is big surprise,” he said. “It doesn’t change that if we’re in a crowded area outside, we need to wear a mask.”

Under the state’s mask mandate, Ohioans are required to wear masks while inside stores, restaurants and indoor public buildings, as well as while using public transportation. Residents should also wear masks outside where social distancing isn’t possible.

Guidance issued by the CDC on Tuesday said that fully-vaccinated people can gather outdoors without a mask unless they are in ”certain crowded settings and venues.”

They should still wear a mask while attending a crowded outdoor event, such as a live performance, parade or sports event.

A person is considered fully-vaccinated two weeks after their second dose two-dose vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the CDC’s update is “pretty much consistent” with Ohio’s current mandate.

DeWine added the state will look at the guidance and update the state’s mandate if needed to align with the CDC.

The governor said early last month that once the state reports less than 50 COVID cases per 100,000 people for two straight weeks the mask mandate will be lifted. On Thursday, Ohio reported 185.8 cases per 100,000.

On Tuesday DeWine said he still thinks that number is “doable” but that the state has looked at possibility of tying the mask mandate to vaccination rates.

“I do believe that as we get more people vaccinated, you’re going to see those numbers go down,” he said. “...Part of that is complicated by the fact that no one knows exactly what herd immunity will constitute nor are we sure how many people are still carrying immunity even if they are not getting vaccinated.”

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