COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Public Health department has issued a mask advisory Friday, asking people to wear a mask indoors and in gatherings.

While it’s not requiring masks like a mandate, the health department said the advisory is an encouragement for everyone to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status. Despite that, the department’s head said the vaccine can still help with symptoms if someone does contract the virus.

“The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from hospitalization and death from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and boosted,” said Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts. “Wearing a mask and testing if you’re sick also will help slow down the spread.”

The announcement came one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention marked Franklin County as an area with a high level of cases. Communities are marked with a low, medium or high level and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the total number of cases in the area. Columbus Public Health said it was following CDC guidelines to issue the advisory based on the city’s current rating.

Franklin County Public Health mirrored the city’s message on masks, issuing its own mask advisory. The department asked the public to wear them indoors in public places, including schools. FCPH previously dropped a county-wide mask advisory on Feb. 28. The city and county both previously issued a mask advisory on Aug. 5, 2021.

Ohio as a whole recently reached 50,000 new cases within the span of two weeks. The state’s new case rate has consistently gone up for three weeks consecutively.