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Gov. Mike DeWine thanks Ohioans for months of hard work fighting off COVID-19, urges residents to not let guard down

The governor made the remarks during his Thursday night press conference before announcing the state's criteria for lifting all health orders.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thursday evening, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine kicked off his statewide address by thanking Ohioans for their months of hard work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The end of our fight is now in view, but we must continue pressing forward in these final days. We must not relent," DeWine said on Twitter. "Ohioans are doing things right.  And because of what Ohioans have done, we have made significant strides in getting our lives back to normal."

The Ohio legislator acknowledged how far the state has come since one year ago, when the first cases of COVID-19 were just beginning to pop up. 

RELATED: WATCH LIVE: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gives statewide address on COVID-19

"Ohio is a true leader in getting our kids back in school. We have vaccinated over 200,000 educators in just four weeks in February," DeWine said. "And today, nearly 95% of our kids are back in school for in person learning." 

The message, which prefaced the criteria for all health orders to drop off, comes as other states have begun to lift mask-mandates, with many urging DeWine to do the same. 

On Wednesday, however, DeWine's press secretary Dan Tierney said that Gov. DeWine has no immediate plans to lift any restrictions, which echoes today's message asking Ohioans to stay vigilant and not let their guard down.

"Our path back is by each of us getting vaccinated when we can, and by each of us wearing masks in public," Tierney wrote. "While no one will be forced to take the vaccine, the more of us who are vaccinated, the more complete our victory, and the more confidently we can put this behind us."

RELATED: Ohio opens vaccine eligibility to groups in Phase 1C, Phase 2: See who is now included

Later in the address, DeWine announced that Ohio will be allowed to fully reopen when the state gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks.

Editor's note: the video in the player below is from a story published on Feb. 25, 2021.

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