DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– Recently  Maryland, South Dakota and Vermont became the first three Green Zone states in the country, meaning they average less than 1 case per-100,000 residents. The Ohio Department of Health shows the state is averaging around 21 cases per 100,000 residents, but in order to average less than 1 case, health leaders say vaccination rates must increase.

“Our numbers are good, our cases are going down, our hospitalizations are going down but the virus is still here,” said Governor Mike DeWine.

There’s still hot spots across the country but in Ohio, much of the state is recovering well. Several counties in the Miami Valley are slowly returning from the Red Emergency Level to Yellow, the lowest level possible. Health leaders believe Ohio will be a Green Zone state in the future but right now the focus is shifting to increasing vaccinations.

“I think the biggest challenge we’re seeing right now is the adoption of immunizations,” said MVH Regional Medical Director Dr. Joseph Allen. “The more we get out, the less we’ll see of those cases so that’s the biggest hurdle at the moment.”

Specifically in Maryland, they have over 70-percent of residents receiving at least one dose of a vaccine. On the other hand, more than half of the Buckeye state remains unvaccinated. Health leaders speculate Ohio will achieve Green Zone status eventually but it could take time.

“We will all have COVID-19 or not at all, we’ll be immunized by then so we’ll get there but we’re not quite there yet,” said Dr. Allen. “I think it’s a good discussion to have with folks that are choosing not to and understanding their decision. There’s a lot of misinformation so I welcome those discussions, especially with my patients.”

DeWine cautioned that while the number of coronavirus cases is down dramatically the number of deaths from it are still at 100 per week.