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Ohioans urged to wear masks

COLUMBUS — The number of coronavirus cases topped 4,000 over the weekend and Gov. Mike DeWine advised residents to begin wearing cloth masks when in public.

DeWine said on Saturday that, along with state health department director Amy Acton and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, he “recommend that Ohioans begin wearing cloth masks while in public settings where social distancing is difficult.”

DeWine said the recommendation echoes that of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The governor directed Ohioans to the state’s coronavirus website, at coronavirus.ohio.gov, which provides a guide to the use of masks, as well as instructions on making them.

On the site, Acton said people should use coverings in settings “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and public parks.”

She said people should still maintain a six-foot distance, even when masks are used.

She advised that cloth face coverings not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The site also urged residents not to use medical supply masks, which are being reserved for health care workers, first responders and people who are known to be sick.

The Department of Health said cloth face coverings can be made from household items or common materials by using multiple layers of a fabric that does not damage or lose shape when laundered.

For making face coverings, they recommend tightly woven fabric (preferably cloth that lets minimal light shine through), such as quilting cloth. Coverings should fit snugly and allow for breathing without restriction. They should be secured with ties or ear loops.

The CDC offers instructions for a no-sew face covering at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html and for sewing a face covering at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

DeWine also focused on two needs he said are important during the pandemic.

He said there is still a need for personal protective equipment in the state for frontline workers. Items sought include surgical gowns, face and surgery masks, gloves, N-95 particulate respirators, isolation gowns, face shields, tyvek coveralls, thermometers, foot coverings and ventilator tubing.

The governor asked individuals and companies who could donate or help to visit https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/contact/personal-protective-equipment, where a contact form is available.

DeWine also said there is an urgent need for blood donations at this time and asked Ohioans to call their local blood bank or the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.