Wheeling, W.Va (WTRF) — At his stop at the Ohio County Airport Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made it clear – He does not want to lockdown the Buckeye State – But he does want to do everything in his power to slow the spread of this virus.

Gov. DeWine came to warn that inspectors are now in shops today following his orders, and he also says community spread is on the rise in our neck of the woods in ways he’s never seen before.

An indefinite number of inspectors will now be watching for masks but Governor DeWine says don’t call 9-1-1 if you simply see someone not wearing one. 

  “We think this is going to work. We’ve already seen in some locations the mask wearing going up. That’s really what we want to see. We tell clerks to be careful, don’t have a confrontation with anybody. There may be some people who want to test it, don’t do that, let them come in,” said DeWine. “But I think putting those signs up, setting the standards ‘hey this is what we expect’; that’s what we want retail to do.” 

The Governor says this order comes at a turning point for the state… a last-ditch effort to slow the spread. Where the virus had not hit before – cases are now snowballing in rural areas. 

The surge in Belmont County cases is eight-times higher than weeks ago, with eastern Ohio at 656 cases, and in the state — hospitalizations jumping from 1-thousand to 3-thousand. 

…But a Belmont doctor says the worst is around the corner…the hospitals won’t feel this weight until another couple weeks. 

“Luckily, we’ve created a surge plan and we’re ready to take that on, but we can only take that on if we have enough staff. And staffing is the biggest problem I can see as a potential issue,” said Shaun Roe, MD, Medicine Director of Belmont Professional Associates.

DeWine hopes to see Ohioans move with caution to at least 90 percent of people wearing masks.

But there’s another defense in the work… Merderna has been conducting vaccine trials with 95 percent efficiency.  

“There’s a vaccine on the horizon, we’re really excited about that.” 

The Governor says people working in nursing homes will be first to get it. But if you’re on the fence about a rushed vaccine, you can wait it out. 

“First of December we’re going to protect our nursing homes, we’re going to protect our health workers. The average person is not going to face that decision for a while.” 

Gov. DeWine will be the recent COVID-19 spikes in cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions throughout Ohio and specifically in this region of the state.