OHIO — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending residents in 34 counties to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
That's eleven more than what the CDC was recommending Wednesday, according to the organization's updated map on Friday.
The map shows those 34 counties are in the "substantial" (orange) or "high" (red) levels for COVID-19 spread. Many of the counties are either in northeast or southeast Ohio. The CDC recommends anyone living in those areas to wear a mask indoors and in public spaces.
Yellow stands for "moderate" and blue means "low" rate of transmission.
On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health reported the case rate as 77.4 per 100,000 people. Last week, the rate sat a little over 46 per 100,000. The updated case rate is now far above the threshold Gov. Mike DeWine set to end all health orders in June.
In the spring, DeWine said that when the case rate fell below 50, the state would end COVID-19 restrictions, which it did on June 2.
ODH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Monday the spread of the delta variant, which is much more contagious than other strains, is the reason for the uptick in cases.
Between Wednesday and Thursday, the state confirmed 1,205 new COVID-19 cases. The 21-day average is 631, according to state data. Between that same time frame, 80 hospitalizations were documented, which is also above the 21-day average of 47.
Thursday marked the third straight day of more than 1,000 cases reported.
DeWine and Vanderhoff both said this week that the rise in cases may also be due to the halt in vaccinations. As of Thursday, a little more than 5.7 million Ohioans are fully vaccinated, according to ODH.
Counties in the "high" level are:
Those in the "substantial" level include: