The state reported 26 deaths on Friday, bringing its total to 20,556, according to ODH.
The governor said Ohio is in a new state of the pandemic, where it’s about people making individual choices.
With the delta variant spreading throughout Ohio and the U.S., DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff encouraged people to get vaccinated.
“Delta is dominant and it is the culprit,” Vanderhoff said. “Delta spreads like wildfire.”
In May, lab sequencing showed less than 1% of COVID cases were from the delta variant. From July 4-17, the variant accounted for 86.47% of cases, DeWine said.
Vaccination is a person’s best protection against the delta variant and coronavirus, Vanderhoff said. For those who are unable to get vaccinated, wear a face mask, social distancing and frequent hand washing are recommended.
The good news, DeWine said, is that Ohio is starting to see an increase in vaccinations again.
In July, 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties saw an increase in vaccination when compared to June, and last week all 88 counties saw an increase when compared to the first week of July.
DeWine said 60% of Ohioans ages 18 and older are vaccinated and 58% of those ages 12 and older.
Ohio’s 21-day cases average surpassed 1,000 cases a day as of Thursday, according to ODH. After hospitalizations and cases continued to drop throughout the spring and early summer, cases began to climb in Ohio throughout July as the delta variant became more prominent in the state.
More than 1,000 daily cases have been reported in Ohio eight times in the last three weeks and on Wednesday the state added more than 2,000 cases to its total for the first time in nearly four months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending everyone wear masks while indoors in areas with high COVID transmission rates regardless of vaccination. Previously the CDC was only recommending masks for the unvaccinated.
Some major retailers, including Kroger, Walmart, Target and McDonald’s, are requiring workers to wear masks in their stores and restaurants. The cities of Dayton and Riverside are requiring masks inside all city buildings.
In Southwest Ohio, multiple hospitals announced they will require all employees to get vaccinated again coronavirus, including Premier Health, Kettering Health and Dayton Children’s Hospital.