COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health has released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state. 

As of Sunday, July 18, 2021, a total of 1,117,109 (+301) cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic, leading to 61,163 (+7) hospitalizations and 8,393 (+0) ICU admissions. A total of 5,663,015 people — or 48.45% of the state’s population — has at least started the vaccination process, an increase of 4,291 from the previous day.

ODH reported an additional 26 deaths Friday, bringing the total to 20,437. The state is updating the total number of deaths only after death certificates have been processed, usually twice a week.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said the state could be days away from announcing a new incentive program to encourage Ohioans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Wednesday, DeWine signed a bill into law that includes a provision banning schools and universities from requiring vaccines approved for use under an emergency use authorization, such as the COVID-19 vaccines. A spokesman with DeWine’s office said the governor is confident the Food and Drug Administration will eventually grant full approval to the COVID-19 vaccines, “thus rendering this issue moot.”

Data compiled from state health sources show COVID-19 cases in Ohio are slowly increasing, causing health experts to raise flags about possible new outbreaks.