DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As of Thursday, the state’s average occurrence of COVID-19 has dropped significantly to 58.3 cases per 100,000 residents just as many health orders were lifted.

The state’s average occurrence hasn’t been close to 50 cases per 100,000 residents for over a year. An achievement some health leaders are contributing to the Vax-a-Million lottery.

“I think it certainly sped it up,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital. “What we were able to do with the vaccine lottery is get some people who were on the fence to go ahead and take the vaccine so I think it absolutely helped.”

Immediately after the second Vax-a-Million winners were announced, the state reported half of Ohio’s counties are averaging below 50 cases per 100,000. 

In the Miami Valley, counties are averaging:

  • Auglaize — 61.3
  • Miami — 59.8
  • Mercer — 58.3
  • Darke — 54.8
  • Montgomery — 53.6
  • Clark — 38.8
  • Shelby — 37.0
  • Preble — 36.7
  • Greene — 34.9

Colon said he’s anticipating another increase in vaccinations once children under 12 are eligible.

“We have a significant number of the population who are not even eligible to get a vaccine,” said Colon. “Once we see that expansion in age, we’re going to see another bump.”

However over half of the state remains unvaccinated, and the chance of reaching herd immunity is slim.

“It is still concerning, I worry we may not get there if we don’t get another surge of interest in vaccinations,” said Colon.

Businesses can still enforce their own mask mandate but inside every health care facility, hospital, emergency department or physicians office, face coverings are required.