JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A judge on Wednesday turned aside efforts by five Missouri counties, including Jackson County, to reverse his ruling stripping local health departments of the ability to impose regulations aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green issued his order 24 hours after the counties — Jackson, St. Louis, Jefferson, Cooper and Livingston — filed briefs asking for the right to intervene in the case.

Last month, Green invalidated regulations imposed by state and local health departments in connection with the virus, siding with Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

That decision has led to school districts dropping mask mandates and counties lifting health restrictions at a time when cases and hospitalizations are rising quickly.

The counties in their appeal argued that the decision created “chaos” among health officials.

Schmitt, a Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate on a platform that includes opposing health-related mandates for masks and vaccines.