COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio’s health director has seen “a little ray of sunshine” in the state’s COVID-19 case numbers, which appear to be decreasing from a peak in the Delta variant wave.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff spoke to reporters Monday optimistic about the coronavirus’s immediate future in the state, saying the data indicates infections have “crested” and are on their way down.

“The primary driver of my estimation is our cases-per-100,000 and our reported positive daily cases,” he said.

Ohio’s rate of onset cases per 100,000 people over two weeks was 596 per 100,000 on Sunday, the lowest in a month and the 12th straight day of decline since its Delta wave peak of 825 on Sept. 21.

As for the new cases ODH reports every day, those peaked on Sept. 10 at 9,019, and weekly cases peaked the next week with 48,580 reported Monday-Sunday Sept. 13-19.

ODH reported 3,445 new cases on Sunday, far above the just hundreds of cases Ohio saw in early summer, but it was the first day since August with fewer than 3,500 cases.

“When I look at the daily case reports – if not every day then nearly every day – for the last seven or eight days was less than its comparable day the week before,” Vanderhoff said. “That to me was a little ray of sunshine that said, ‘Maybe, we’ve hit the top.’”

Ohio’s 21-day average of cases peaked at 6,624 on Sept. 24, and Sunday was the fifth consecutive day that metric has decreased, down now to 6,244. It’s the first five-day stretch of decreases since June.

Vanderhoff was asked about a Monday morning article in The New York Times claiming COVID-19 is “in retreat” in the U.S., as new cases have dropped 35% since Sept. 1. Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is quoted as saying “barring something unexpected,” he believes that Delta “is the last major wave of infection.”

“I think we’re all hoping that indeed this is the last great wave,” Vanderhoff said. “If it is, I think that will be because of the continued growth in the outstanding protection afforded by vaccination.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75.8% of eligible Americans (age 12+) have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, as have 63.6% of eligible Ohioans.

“I know it has been a very long journey,” Vanderhoff said. “We’re all tired of dealing with COVID-19, but I’d ask everyone to hang in there. Although our cases of COVID-19 remain extremely high, it is clear that our collective efforts really are paying off. We need to remain vigilant, and we need to protect ourselves from the spread of COVID-19 through vaccination and – especially in our schools, where so many of our students either cannot or have not yet been vaccinated – wearing a mask.”