COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health released the newest COVID-19 numbers for the state Tuesday.

As of June 30, a total of 51,789(+743) cases were reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 2,863(+45) deaths and 7,839 hospitalizations.

The Department of Health adds the data when it is informed of a case or death. The information is backdated to the actual date the person started exhibiting symptoms or the date the person died.

Governor DeWine announced Monday that nursing homes in Ohio will open for outdoor visitation beginning July 20.

The governor said some of the most troubling stories during this pandemic are those who can’t visit their loved ones in a nursing home. He says the order was put in place to save lives.

He said the National Guard is making progress in the testing of nursing homes. When a nursing home has been cleared they can begin opening up for visitation, after July 20. DeWine said he is confident in this approach.

Governor DeWine discussed the hospitalization trend, saying it is a lagging indicator. He says last week (June 21-27) is significant, it was the first week we saw an increase in hospitalization numbers in more than two months.

Governor DeWine says last week we had around 500-550 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, this week we are around 650. He says Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati have the largest numbers.

Governor DeWine says some people are wondering if our increase is only because we are testing more. He says the experts they are consulting don’t believe that’s entirely the case.

The governor says the rate of positive tests has been running between 4-6%. Previously we were only testing our sickest, now that we are testing more people including those without symptoms our positivity rate should be dropping. That’s not happening.

Governor DeWine says last week we talked about two counties we are concerned about (Hamilton and Montgomery County), and they remain an issue. Governor says the Vice President’s call singled out those counties and they have promised additional help.

DeWine says they are continuing to work on plans to reopen schools, at the same time working on plans to keep Ohioans safe while working and living with the coronavirus.

While the state is still strongly urging citizens to wear a mask when out in public, DeWine said masks may become mandatory in hot spot areas should cases continue to rise. Those decisions will be made by a combination of the state, county and local health officials, and elected officials.

Governor DeWine said their next briefing will be held Thursday where he is expected to announce a plan for schools to reopen in the fall.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources: