(WKBN) – COVID-19 cases are climbing again in Ohio and health experts are seeing more young people contracting the virus.

Experts believe the best way to protect children is for adults to get vaccinated.

As vaccine rates continue to stall while case numbers climb, Ohio’s top doctor says people essentially have two choices now.

“Either you get vaccinated or you are going to get COVID-19,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health.

During a Zoom meeting with reporters Wednesday morning, Dr. Vanderhoff said cases involving the Delta variant now represent more than a third of all cases in Ohio compared to less than 1 percent in May.

“Yesterday, we reported an increase of 744 cases in just 24 hours,” Vanderhoff said.

But with schools beginning in just about a month, there’s growing concern over the virus and young people, especially those under the age of 12 who still cannot be vaccinated.

“The vast majority of pediatric cases are from adult exposures,” said Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatrician at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

Dr. Edwards says it’s incumbent on the rest of the family to protect the younger ones.

“So if all the adults in a child’s life are vaccinated, then that child’s risk of acquiring COVID is exceedingly low,” Dr. Edwards said.

Canfield pediatrician Dr. John Cox agrees with the notion of protecting younger children but says that having kids wear masks does a great deal to help prevent the spread of illnesses in general.

“During my time, we were down 78 percent over the last year and a half with sick visits — year and a quarter, say — because it’s a deterrent,” Dr. Cox said.

Experts say to avoid misinformation about vaccines, parents concerned about their children and the virus should talk with their physicians first.