DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Since Sunday, Ohio is seeing a steep increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations which health leaders attribute to recent holiday gatherings. Some leaders suspect residents are experiencing large amounts of COVID fatigue. Families are leaving their guard down among one another for the holidays resulting in a spike in cases.

“We’re starting to see additional cases that we can tie back to Thanksgiving,” said Health Commissioner CCCHD Charles Patterson.

Patterson believes some holiday gatherings went unmasked, causing a rise in cases. The coronavirus dashboard reports a sharp increase in hospitalizations with 612 more people admitted with the virus in the past day, up from 177 on Monday. Other Miami Valley health leaders say the spike was expected.

“We are going to see an increase as we come indoors because the distance required for transmission will get closer so it’ll increase the opportunity for that, that’s when masking will become even more important,” said Miami Valley Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon.

Patterson and Dr. Colon are hopeful as more Ohioans start the vaccination process, COVID-19 vaccines will prevent the state from returning to the highest peak of cases during the pandemic.

“The number of cases have continued to increase in Clark County for the fourth straight week,” said Patterson. “We’re back to if you’ve had a vaccine, have your booster, that’s great but if you’re going around people you’re normally not around, wear a mask.”

The coronavirus dashboard shows that over 58 percent of Ohioans have started the vaccination process.