Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said there has been a significant decrease in coronavirus cases in urban areas, but the state has experienced an increase in cases in rural areas.
“We've seen in the urban areas that a bigger percentage of people will wear a mask for a longer period of time, and we've seen those numbers come down. Unfortunately, we're seeing the numbers go up in our rural areas,” DeWine said at a news conference Thursday.
“Spread is primarily, we're seeing in social situations, family gatherings where people are unmasked, and in close contact and basically let their guard down," he added.
The latest numbers: The governor says 22 more people died and 86 were hospitalized in the last 24 hours. That brings the current total of confirmed cases to at least 106,063 and at least 3,650 people have died in the state so far. Mercer County has the highest number of cases in Ohio with at least 718, two times what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers high incidence.
DeWine announced that he is issuing an order for all 765 assisted living facilities in the state. The order requires participation in a rapid saliva test for all residents and staff at no cost. The self-performed test will offer results within 48 hours of lab receipt.
“The value in this initiative is tied to four things, the accuracy and sensitivity of the test, how quickly you get test results, consistent to repeat testing and high-risk settings and modifying behavior based on the results data," he said. "Our focus has been and remains, protecting Ohio and navigating through this pandemic. To achieve this, we must have 100% participation of all assisted living facilities in Ohio,” he added.