DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — In a news conference Friday Governor Mike DeWine discussed his growing concerns over a the number of the new and highly contagious Delta variant cases across Ohio.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, nearly 19,000 Ohioans have been hospitalized since January 1 from COVID-19.

“Ninety-eight-point-four percent hadn’t been vaccinated. One-point-six percent had been vaccinated. Again there’s no more strong testament to the power of the vaccine,” said DeWine.

In the last two weeks alone, Ohioans have also seen an increase in hospitalizations.

“July 23 we had 391 people with COVID in our hospitals statewide. The last date we have is August 5. That number has now climbed to 857,” said DeWine.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the chief medical officer for ODH, confirming the Delta variant is now more contagious than any cold or flu strain we’re currently seeing. “While the early variant of delta may cause an infected person to infect another two people, the Delta variant might cause an infected person to go on an infect five to eight other people.”

However, DeWine said the good news is that all 88 Ohio counties have seen a vaccination increase in the last week. “Additionally we’ve seen our largest increase in vaccinations in our lowest vaccinated counties.”

Now, the goal remains stopping the Delta variant from continuing to spread and spike cases by getting more people to get vaccinated.

“This is where the game is gonna be one or lost. This is where lives are gonna be saved. That’s from the vaccine,” said DeWine.