(WKBN) – Ohio’s chief medical officer says the state is still seeing what he calls an “omicron tidal wave” of COVID-19.

“In fact, Ohio is averaging a staggering 22,000 new COVID-19 cases every day,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health.

But after weeks of record-setting numbers, hospitalizations are finally showing progress.

“That drop has been the steepest in Northeast Ohio, where hospitalizations have fallen by as much as 24 percent,” Dr. Vanderhoff said.

Although specific numbers are not available, Mercy Health is seeing between 25 and 30 percent of its patients being hospitalized with COVID, and that number here is starting to fall as well.

“Our walk-in centers are seeing less volume last week than they did the week before, so all indications are pointing to a downward trend that we’re seeing from the outpatient side and the inpatient side,” said Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer at Mercy Health.

Experts stress, however, that the epidemic is not over just yet. Across the state, hospitalizations remain higher now than they were in late 2020 at the height of the COVID pandemic.

“We’re still, you know, very busy with COVID. It’s not gone. It’s still busier than it was for most of 2021,” said Dr. Kravec.

For now, experts continue stressing the need for testing as well as vaccinations to reduce the chances for more severe infections that could land patients in the hospital.

“Hopefully — and this is just a hope at this point — it turns into something that’s more of a common cold, even if it’s still around,” said Dr. Kravec.