CLEVELAND (WJW) – The United States has reached a somber milestone in the battle against COVID-19. As of Thursday, one million deaths had now been attributed to the virus.

“It’s a milestone I don’t think years ago any of us really imagined that we would be in this situation,” said Dr. Hassan Khouli, Chair of the Department of Critical Care at the Cleveland Clinic.

This comes as the Ohio Department of Health is reporting a steady rise in cases over the past several weeks.

There were more than 11,000 new cases in the last week, which is several thousand higher than the previous three-week average.

New ICU admissions are also slightly up from 24 to 27, and the CDC is reporting high community transmission rates across Northeast Ohio in Lorain, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Ashtabula counties.

“The trend is definitely concerning. We have been there before, we have seen these peaks and valleys,” said Dr. Khouli, “So there’s definitely a sense of nervousness, but I have to say, overall, compared to where we were before, there’s also a sense of, you know, hope.”

Death rates dropped below average in Ohio from 76 to 65 and he said there are many new tools and antiviral treatments.

“We want to go on and live our lives and that’s really important. We cannot just be locked down,” he said. “We can absolutely prevent the vast majority of these severe diseases with vaccination and masking when appropriate and, you know, look at individual risk factors that can absolutely make a difference.”