COLUMBUS — High school sports as well as other contact and non-contact organized sports — all athletes and all teams of all ages, school-affiliated or not — may proceed forward this fall.
Gov. Mike DeWine told Ohioans Tuesday afternoon at his update and via Twitter that an order will be coming out shortly authorizing sports to move forward while offering guidance for safety.
There is also an option for some fall sports like football to be delayed until the spring if schools wish, DeWine said.
The governor’s order prohibits spectators at events other than family members or individuals close to the athlete, with final decisions on those people left up to schools. Similar limits are in place for family members of marching bands, drill teams and cheerleaders.
“Our order provides best guidance to play sports as safely as can be played in the era of COVID-19,” DeWine said.
DeWine said his wish is that athletes playing sports stay focused on safety and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“I hope that the desire to have a season will inspire our young people, ours student athletes, 24/7 to be as careful as they can,” the governor said.
Ohio’s daily reported case numbers have dropped in recent days, and are well below the seven-day average of slightly above 1,000 confirmed cases. However, the governor said rates are climbing now in several rural counties.
DeWine hinted last week that sports will go ahead with limited attendance and many decisions left up to parents, schools and local health departments.
As of the Tuesday afternoon update, Ohio reports 104,105 confirmed and 5,818 probable cases of COVID-19 for a total of 109,923 cases. A total of 12,346 people have been hospitalized, including 2,805 admissions to intensive care units. Cases are comprised of 52 percent females and 48 percent males.
The state reports 3,592 confirmed deaths and 279 probable deaths due to COVID-19 for a total of 3,871 deaths.
In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov .
The News Journal’s Tom Barr contributed to this story.