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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urges Northeast Ohio to increase mask use

Appearing at Burke Lakefront Airport, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine urged Northeast Ohio to increase its use of masks.

CLEVELAND — As Ohio has seen its coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers surge in recent weeks, so too has Northeast Ohio.

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Appearing at Burke Lakefront Airport on Monday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine urged those in Northeast Ohio to increase their use of masks and facial coverings in order to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

"Rural counties, we're not seeing their mask-wearing as high. We'd like to really see it get up," DeWine said. "If we could get 85 percent of the people who are out in public to wear a mask in the state, if we could get people to -- not stop what they're doing, but rather to do it differently, that's what we're going to have to do as we go through this. It's going to make all the difference in the world."

DeWine's comments come just days after Cuyahoga County and Summit County were each upgraded to a Level 3 coronavirus risk level on the state's public advisory system. Per the advisory, a Level 3 "red" indicates "very high exposure and spread" of the coronavirus.

As of last Thursday, 29 of Ohio's 88 counties were labeled as "red," with those counties accounting for 65 percent of the state's population.

In July, DeWine put in a statewide mandate requiring anybody in public wear a mask or facial covering. Now, more than ever, it's important that mandate be followed, according to DeWine, or else the state may need to consider stricter measures in order to help decrease the virus' rising spread.

"This is a time when truly people control," DeWine said. "Citizens control what the next three months look like.”