COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held his first COVID-19 news conference in several weeks as cases, particularly of the delta variant, continue to rise in the state and nationwide.

While mostly focusing on the effectiveness of the vaccine, the governor did address questions about whether we could see the return of mask mandates. The short answer: no.

“I take the world as I find it and we are at a point with this today in regards to this pandemic, well over a year into it, where individuals’ choices is the most important thing, it’s where we are,” DeWine said. “We have the vaccine so people can choose to get that vaccine. We also have, they know the power of masks.”

In March, the Ohio General Assembly overrode the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 22. The bill allows lawmakers to change or reject health orders issued by the state. It took effect in June.

Some businesses are requiring masks again in light of the newest COVID wave.

“We are really at a new stage of this pandemic,” DeWine said. “The central fact is we have three vaccines that are highly, highly effective.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, of the 18,662 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state since Jan. 1, 18,367 of them were not fully vaccinated.