Governor DeWine advocates for masks in school, laments new law preventing a statewide mandate

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:45 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made a public plea on Tuesday for schools to use masks as a way to keep kids in the classroom full-time.

The Governor joined forces with the heads of children’s hospitals from around the state, including ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital, armed with the latest numbers showing 29,000 children in Ohio have been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the last couple of months, representing an increase of almost 200%.

“The data are now clear that there is a higher level of COVID-19 in school districts where masks are not required,” said Governor DeWine. “If we want our schools to stay open, the best way to do that is for those 12 and over to get vaccinated. But because those under 12 are still too young to be vaccinated, we need students who come in to school to wear a mask until we get through this.”

The heads of children’s hospitals pointed out that admissions into their medical centers have increased along with admissions to children’s ICUs.

“In the city of Toledo and at Ebeid Children’s Hospital, we’ve seen significant in-patient and out-patient volumes, and we’ve seen a significant increase in kids with respiratory illnesses,” said Paul Grieb, chief nursing officer at Toledo Children’s Hospital. “We had a significant event occur last night in Lucas County. That means if a rescue squad responded to a 911 call and picked up a patient to take them to a hospital that was on EMS bypass, that rescue squad would not be allowed to stop at that hospital. The county EMS system would have to dispatch each call one at a time. That means a patient wouldn’t necessarily go to the hospital closest to them or best-suited to take care of the patients’ needs.”

However, the Governor said while he would love to issue a mask mandate, the legislature has made that impossible with legislation that prevents the Governor from making such a move. And he says they have vowed to cancel it immediately.

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