DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — COVID-19 cases are up from a historic low since the beginning of the pandemic. Here in Ohio, there were more than 4,000 new cases within the last week.

Dr. Joseph Allen, M.D., is the Regional Director for Premier Health.

“I know it’s starting to affect our folks, like our employees, and then also students are back to school and what have you. I think for everybody, we’re just a little on edge based on our history. But overall, I think we have a pretty good handle on it in our medical community,” Dr. Allen explained.

Charles Patterson, the Health Commissioner of the Clark County Combined Health District, said part of this increase can be attributed to people returning from their summer vacations. There is also a new variant making its way around the country, the EG.5 (Eris) variant. According to the Ohio Department of Health, it is accounting for 19% of cases here in Ohio.

“What we’re really seeing, the sore throat, the headache, and then that upper respiratory miasma that occurs. But the sore throat and the headache are two things that are symptoms that we’re seeing with this,” Patterson said.

The booster vaccine in production right now should protect against this new strain. Dr. Allen said it is up to the individual to decide if he or she wants to wait to get it. He said people should consider their risk level and whether they are traveling soon.

“If you’re in one of those high risk populations, and you are due to get booster now, get it now. We’ll get the new one when the new one comes out or a little bit after that, that’ll be fine. What I would hate to do is have somebody go without and they could have benefited from it,” Dr. Allen said.

While the number of COVID cases is low compared to years past, Patterson is still urging people to take care of themselves. He said you should make sure you are eating healthy, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick.

“I know school is starting last week, this week, next week, and nobody wants to miss the first day of school. Kids are excited to go back. Parents are excited that the kids are going back in some cases. But if the kids are sick, let’s test them with the free test kits. And if they are positive, let’s keep them home for those five days,” Patterson said.

The updated booster vaccine still needs approval from the FDA. It could be available by mid-September.