Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday said a major shipment of personal protective equipment is on the way to help Ohio emergency management agencies in the front-line fight to limit the spread of coronavirus. He said the 4.1 million pieces of PPE have been shipped out in the last week is likely the largest one-time distribution the state has ever made.

The equipment will go to nursing homes, jails, community living facilities, hospitals and first responders.

The shipment includes 500,000 N95 masks, 850,000 face shields, 750,000 surgical masks and 2 million non-medical gloves.

The state now has 17,303 cases of COVID-19, 937 deaths and 3,421 hospitalizations, the Department of Health reported on Wednesday. The caseload increased by 534 since Tuesday, a 3.2% increase.

DeWine led Wednesday’s briefing by showing off artwork from an Akron Public Schools student illustrating the message “We’re in this together” across the masks of a group of five young people.

By the numbers

Here are the latest local numbers:

Summit: Three new deaths reported for a total of 46. There are 585 total coronavirus cases, an increase of 39 since Monday, with 223 cumulative hospitalizations.

Stark: Three new death reported. A total of 333 cases (10 new), 80 cumulative hospitalizations and 39 deaths.

Portage: Four new deaths reported. A total of 230 cases (four new), 65 cumulative hospitalizations, 39 deaths.

Wayne: One new death reported. A total of 125 cases (six new), 21 cumulative hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

Medina: One new death reported. A total of 165 cases (three new), 43 cumulative hospitalizations and 15 deaths.

Ashland: Six cases (none new), one hospitalization, no deaths.

Holmes: Five cases (none new), two hospitalizations, one death.

Tuscarawas: 60 cases (one new), 11 hospitalizations, no deaths.

Earlier

Gov. Mike DeWine did an about-face Tuesday on wearing face masks to lessen the spread of coronavirus as Ohio gradually reopens.

After his administration posted online Monday that donning face masks would be mandatory in workplaces and for shoppers returning to stores, the governor and his advisers appeared to change their minds.

Then, early Tuesday evening — a bit over two hours after DeWine’s news briefing ended — the governor’s office said masks generally would be required in the workplace and for store employees.

“Face coverings would still be mandated for employees unless wearing a face covering is not advisable by a health care professional, goes against industry best practices, or is not permitted by federal or state laws and regulations,” DeWine’s office said in a prepared statement.

Dan Tierney, DeWine’s press secretary, said revised online material posted Tuesday afternoon still stating masks were not required for employees in the workplace and stores was in error. The governor’s prepared remarks were silent on the topic, Tierney said.

Deaths per capita

Ohio cases

Cases by county

Cases per capita by county