By Annie Ross

Pennsylvania has joined a growing list of states mandating that masks be worn in public.

Secretary of Health Rachel Levine  signed an order requiring masks for anyone who leaves their home. The order, effectively immediately, includes limited exceptions.

The announcement comes the same day that Pennsylvania health officials reported 636 new cases of the novel coronavirus — its highest 24-hour surge since early June.

Pennsylvania had seen a relatively low climb in daily cases compared with the nation’s hot spots.

Still, the commonwealth ranks among the 11 states with a seven-day new-case average more than 10 percent higher than its average from a week ago, according to data collected by The Washington Post.

“It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Levine said in a statement. “While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent. My mask protects you, and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask shows that you care about others, and that you are committed to protecting the lives of those around you.”

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia require people to wear some sort of face covering while in public. After Pennsylvania’s decision, only two northeastern states — Vermont and New Hampshire — remain without a mask mandate.