BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – COVID cases across Western New York are going down, leading some to believe we’re turning a corner on the Omicron wave. Local disease experts say because the Omicron variant infected a lot of people, the spread is slowing down. However, they warn there not done with the variant just yet, but we’re getting there.

“I am cautiously optimistic. We have had now 11 days where the overall trend has been a decreasing number of cases so it looks like we’re on the backside of this omicron wave,” UB Jacobs School of Medicine infectious disease expert Dr. Thomas Russo said.

“The total number of new cases is still pretty formidably high but we’re hoping that if that downward trend continues things may settle down in another couple of weeks,” Jacobs School of Medicine Professor Dr. John Crane told News 4.

The positivity rate in Western New York, as of Sunday, is just under 16 percent. Statewide it’s 10 percent. Health officials say this is a good sign, but people should still remain cautious.

“What we’re running into is the rapid decline reflects a lot of what we’re doing, which is masking, social distancing, we’re testing and we’re getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Richard Charles, who’s the chief medical officer at General Physician P.C.

“This is not the moment to be lackadaisical, this is not the moment to let your guard down, particularly if you’re unvaccinated or yet to be boosted and increase risk for severe disease,” Dr. Russo said.

Infectious disease experts say there’s also always potential for a new COVID variant to emerge.

“I’m hoping this downward trend will continue and eventually we’re going to shift from pandemic phase to endemic phase, of course that assumes another problematic variant doesn’t rear it’s ugly head,” Dr. Russo said.

“Everyone is hoping and praying that we don’t have another highly transmissible variant pop up but no one is willing to make that prediction because this virus has fooled and tricked us so many times already,” said Dr. Crane.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.