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DeWine advises vaccinations, masks for schoolchildren

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday pleaded with schools to require that children wear masks as school gets underway at a time when coronavirus cases and hospitalizations remain high thanks to the so-called delta variant.

The Republican governor noted that the 3,235 coronavirus cases reported Tuesday along with 1,571 hospitalizations are the highest since February.

The best way for children to stay in school and not have classes interrupted is to be vaccinated, and if children can’t be vaccinated, the best way to stay in class is to wear masks, DeWine said.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 1,197.43 new cases per day on Aug. 1 to 2,567.71 new cases per day on Aug. 15, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The number of patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, on intensive units, and requiring a ventilator, have all increased over the past two weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

GOP lawmakers in March overrode DeWine’s veto of a bill that restricts the state’s ability to respond to emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic with statewide mandates like mask requirements and shut-down orders.