COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff announced the Ohio Vax-to-School program at a press conference Thursday.

The incentive program is for all vaccinated Ohioans ages 12 to 25. They can enter a drawing for one of five $100,000 scholarships. There are also 50 scholarships of $10,000 available.

The Ohio Lottery will release further details in the coming week. Funds come from existing COVID-19 relief dollars.

As of Thursday, Sept. 23, a total of 1,373,275 (+7,475) cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic, leading to 71,301 (+300) hospitalizations and 9,326 (+24) ICU admissions. A total of 6,262,492 Ohioans — 53.58% of the state’s population — has started the vaccination process. That’s an increase of 8,711 from the previous day.    

The 21-day case average for Ohio is now over 6,500, as some Ohio intensive care units are running out of beds.

DeWine expressed concern over increasing hospitalizations among Ohioans 49 and younger, with nearly 400 the week of Sept. 5, and the vast majority of patients were unvaccinated. He said that in August, on average two people younger than 50 died of COVID-19 every day.

DeWine spoke with medical officials from around the state, who said in addition to COVID-19 patients filling hospitals that they are starting to see staffing issues, making caring for those patients difficult.

The Department of Health reported 125 deaths, Tuesday, bringing the total to 21,596. The state is updating the number only after death certificates have been processed, usually twice a week.

Ohio recorded 9,019 coronavirus cases Sept. 10, the most during the Delta wave. It was the highest one-day total since Jan. 8 (9,535).

Just 17 days in the entire pandemic has Ohio seen 9,000 cases, and only 10 days have seen more than 10,000. The state’s highest one-day total was set on Nov. 23 with 11,885 cases.