**Watch the video above for our report on restaurant surges as Ohio’s COVID restrictions are lifting.**
The Ohio Department of Health reported a case average of 49.5 per 100,000 residents for the period between May 22 and June 4.
Prior to Saturday, the last time Ohio fell below 50 cases per 100,000 residents was on June 25, 2020.
“Ohioans have shown our resilience and grit, and by continuing to get vaccinated we are coming through this pandemic stronger than ever,” DeWine said in a press release. “When I announced this goal on March 4th, I said that reaching 50 cases per 100,000 would mean we were entering a new phase of this pandemic. Vaccinations are working. That’s why cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. But that doesn’t mean we can let our foot off the gas. If you’re not vaccinated against COVID-19, continue to wear a mask in public and Ohioans that are able to get vaccinated should.”
The governor adds that more than 5.3 million Ohioans have started the vaccination process and 4.7 million are fully vaccinated.
Although DeWine says this data shows “a positive indicator in the fight against COVID-19,” he reiterates that “the threat of the virus remains” and encourages Ohioans to continue taking proper preventative measures to prevent further spread.
While masking is no longer mandated, health experts say unvaccinated people should continue wearing masks indoors or in crowded settings where social distancing is not possible. Ohio businesses and organizations also may continue to require masks regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.
Meanwhile, the state is still trying to encourage vaccinations through the Vax-A-Million lottery program.
Ohioans aged 18 and older who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the date of the respective drawing are eligible to enter into the drawings for $1 million each.
Meanwhile, Ohioans under the age of 18 who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a drawing for a four-year full scholarship to any of Ohio’s state colleges and universities. The prize includes full tuition, room and board.
Ohio Vax-a-Million is an opt-in program. Vaccinated Ohioans who haven’t yet entered the lottery can do so online here or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833 427-5634). One entry gets you into all three remaining drawings.