(WGHP) — COVID cases are surging across the country.

Health experts blame the omicron variant. It’s the same highly contagious strain of COVID we first saw months ago.

In fact, it’s at least 25% more contagious than what we saw in the earlier part of the year.

The one bright spot is that hospitalizations remain lower than case counts in Guilford County and surrounding counties.

One reason why is greater accessibility to anti-viral medications that help fight off infection.

You can call it a COVID rollercoaster. Cases up then down and now back up again.

“A lot more people are not wearing masks. They are coming together. That opportunity to actually infect others is pretty high out there,” said Dr, Cynthia Snider, Cone Health medical director for Infectious Prevention

People gathered at events like graduation and the Memorial Day Holiday weekend.

“I know a lot of people think wearing masks can be challenging to wear in the summer. Right now, for the next few weeks, the rates are very high in our communities,” Snider said.

According to the CDC, Alamance, Forsyth, and Yadkin Counties are ranked high on the COVID community transmission level.

While Randolph County is seeing the lowest case counts. Davidson and Guilford Counties rank in the medium community transmission level.

Snider says that has a lot to do with time and protection.

“We still may see the fallout from Memorial Day or this weekend. A lot of people celebrated graduations. There’s great ways of celebrating…I’m a big proponent of holding things outdoors,” Snider said.

As of Tuesday evening, there were 48 people at Cone Health hospitalized with the virus.

The majority of the cases are people middle-aged or older.

Although the number is lower than in past months, health experts want to see it even lower.

“Right now, we’re still seeing quite a few people who are not immunized…still land in the hospital and folks who also may have been immune-compromised and may not be up to date with their vaccines…if it is time to get your booster, please do,” Snider said.

Kids five years and up are eligible to get their booster.

Snider says she anticipates the FDA will approve vaccines for younger kids towards the end of June.

She also expects this COVID surge to be over in the next three to four weeks.