COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says the COVID-19 delta variant has plateaued but the number of new COVID cases still remains high.

“It’s far too early for us to claim victory,” Dr. Vanderhoff said at Thursday’s ODH press conference.

“We may not know the full impact of this surge for some time. What we do know is hospitals are feeling the real effects of the surge,” he said.

Dr. Vanderhoff said as flu season approaches, it’s possible to get both COVID and the flu at the same time.

“We have to remain vigilant,” Dr. Vanderhoff said, while encouraging Ohioans to get both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines. “I would hope you would choose to be vaccinated.”

Dr. Vanderhoff said it takes approximately six weeks for the vaccinated to be fully protected after their last shot. This is important because Thanksgiving — a potential superspreader holiday — is only seven weeks away.

Also speaking at Thursday’s press conference were Dr. Kirk Tucker with Adena Health System, and Dr. Adam Mezoff with Dayton Children’s Hospital. Dr. Mezoff said the pediatric world has been overwhelmingly impacted by the delta variant.

“There’s a long-version of COVID in kids,” said Dr. Mezoff. “In the last two days we’ve had six kids admitted with the long-term complications of COVID.”

Dr. Mezoff said masking is an important component of keeping kids safe.

“In the last several weeks, since many schools have gone to mandatory mask mandates, the incidents of COVID have gone down by two-thirds. In schools without mask requirements, the incidents has gone up by 30 percent,” he said.

Dr. Vanderhoff said that now is not the time to let up.

“We’re getting closer to living life the way we want to,” he said. “But for now, we need to be cautious.”

The latest number of Coronavirus cases in the state are set to be released at 2 p.m. Thursday.