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Multiple Northeast Ohio counties reach 'substantial' COVID-19 spread; masks recommended indoors

Cuyahoga County has reached the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) definition of "substantial" coronavirus (COVID-19) spread, triggering a recommendation that even people who have been vaccinated wear masks or facial coverings indoors. According to data obtained by The New York Times, Cuyahoga County reported a seven-day average of 99 new daily cases on Sunday, August 1. That marks an increase from the 68 new cases seven-day average it reported a week prior and a 125 percent increase from two weeks earlier when Cuyahoga County reported a seven-day average of 42 COVID-19 cases. Cuyahoga County's label of "substantial" COVID-19 spread is based on the CDC's four-level system, which includes low, moderate, substantial and high. As of Friday, Cuyahoga County was listed at moderate, before moving to substantial, which is reserved for areas with new infection rates of 50 or more per 100,000 residents or positive COVID-19 test results of over eight percent in the past seven days. While there isn't currently a federal, statewide or local mask mandate in effect, the CDC has recommended that people in areas of substantial or high coronavirus spread wear masks indoors whether they are vaccinated or not. Speaking at a press briefing last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine indicated that he doesn't anticipate putting a statewide mask mandate into effect anytime soon. "There's not the appetite in this state today for that type of mandate," DeWine said while speaking specifically about mask mandates for schools. "We did last year in the schools and it worked well. There's not the appetite in this state for that. I do not effectively have the ability to do that. But what I do have the ability to do and what the health department has the ability to do is to tell what the facts are.

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