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'A race': Gov. DeWine announces one-third of Ohioans have received at least one dose of vaccine as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

On Thursday, Ohio reported nearly 3,000 new cases in a 24 hour period.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a story published on April 5, 2021.

During his Thursday afternoon press conference, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that one-third of Ohioans have now received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Despite the increased number of vaccinations, the exciting news is slightly overshadowed by rising coronavirus cases within the state. 

"It is clear that Ohio and the nation are enduring another wave of COVID-19. This time it is being driven by new variants of the original virus. The variants are more contagious and more deadly," said Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

RELATED: COVID-19 in Ohio: State reports 2,742 new cases in the last 24 hours

"Our variant counts jumped from 92 on March 12 to 797 today. That's a doubling time of about every 9-10 days," said Dr. Vanderhoff Thursday. "Ohio remains in a very important race against the virus and its variants. We can win the race if we continue to press on with consistent masking and getting the vaccine."

Several weeks ago, Ohio was hovering around 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day. Today, that number stands at 1,801. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are also on the rise, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In addition, the state's average cases for 100,000 people has climbed to 183.7. DeWine has put the target at 50 cases per 100,000 in order for the state's health orders to be removed.

The race against variants is ongoing, with predictions showing that the B117 variant first located in the U.K. is now the dominant strain in the United States, and is known for being spread more easily than the original strain. 

RELATED: ODH: UK COVID-19 variant expected to be dominant strain in Ohio within two weeks

The solution? Gov. DeWine and Dr. Vanderhoff say that the road out of this pandemic is clear and simple... vaccination.

"Our vaccinations are incredibly safe and they are effective," said Vanderhoff Thursday.

RELATED: WATCH: Time-lapse video shows efficiency of vaccination process at Cleveland State's Wolstein Center