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Ohio offering $100 coronavirus vaccination incentive to state employees

COLUMBUS (AP) — State employees will receive $100 for getting the coronavirus vaccine and their spouses will receive $25 if they also get vaccinated, under a new incentive program offered by Gov. Mike DeWine.

The Republican governor announced the offer Wednesday as state vaccination efforts stall amid spiking case numbers and hospitalizations.

“Vaccines are the most effective strategy at stopping the spread of COVID-19 and preventing serious illness,” DeWine said.

Only about 5.4 million people or 46% of the population have completed the vaccination process as of Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 319.43 new cases per day on July 13 to 874.57 new cases per day on July 27, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

DeWine said Monday that 99 percent of the 17,129 Ohioans hospitalized for COVID-19 since January were unvaccinated.

Also Monday, the Health Department’s chief medical officer said that while Ohio doesn’t plan to mandate masks in schools this fall, health officials strongly recommend that students and staff wear face coverings if they aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19.

Some of Ohio’s largest districts, including Columbus and Cleveland, already decided to require masks for everyone when the school year begins.