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Governors, health experts discuss wearing masks in public

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Published: Jul. 12, 2020 at 5:38 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) -The area’s most populated counties have all seen the largest increase in COVID-19 cases since the early weeks of the pandemic. It’s something local leaders have noticed as well.

“We have people who have gone all over the country and they’re coming home,” says Wood County Commission President Blair Couch. “I drove by a house with 25 cars out front, a big party.”

Health officials say wearing a mask can limit the spread of the virus.

Dr. Clay Marsh, Coronavirus expert, West Virginia:“Remember, when you put on your mask, make sure it covers your nose and your mouth”, West Virginia’s coronavirus “czar”, Dr. Clay Marsh, explained at Friday’s statewide briefing. “Then, tighten it around your nose and your face so it fits snugly. And if you do this, this might be a minor inconvenience and it might not feel as comfortable, this is some thing we’re doing for each other.”

both West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine have stopped short of issuing statewide orders to wear masks in public.

Justice last Monday issued a mask requirement in buildings, but without enforcement measures. DeWine so far has issued mask requirements in a dozen counties, mainly in northern and southwest Ohio, where the virus spread is the worst.

“We’re saying, hey, we have to be really careful in these counties,” DeWine said Friday, in an interview with CNN. “But we’re also signaling to everybody else, look, we’re trending this way, our numbers are not good. We’re 1200 cases per day, we have a problem and we have to deal with the problem.”

Justice said Friday he is considering limiting the size of gatherings, as was done in the spring, and could as soon as Monday order closings in Monongalia County, which has seen a recent spike in cases. But he has been reluctant to close the state’s economy again, risking an economic collapse. This past week, guidelines were issued allowing for the opening of school buildings and sports activities in the fall.

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