ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — As summer begins, Arkansans are seeing an increase in active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations according to data from the Arkansas Department of Health.

Factors such as people using fewer precautions, different variants of Omicron circulating, and less immunity from past surges, are creating an increase in cases said Dr. Joel Tumlison with ADH.

“There’s certainly more COVID going around, there’s more risk of coming into contact with someone who’s infected with COVID, Tumlison said.

Data from the ADH shows 4,529 active COVID-19 cases in the state. Cases were in the 1,000s during April. Hospitalizations have also increased to 97, the highest that number has been since April 8.

“There’s been a slight increase in hospitalization,” Tumlison said. “Certainly our hospitals are managing well, they’re not overwhelmed by any stretch of the imagination by COVID cases right now, but we don’t want them to get into the danger zone either.”

Dr. Robert Hopkins with UAMS said COVID-19 cases aren’t the only thing filling up hospitals.

“This is trauma season, so, unfortunately, lots of accidents, falls, those kinds of things, so hospitals or COVID being lower numbers, doesn’t mean hospitals are empty,” Hopkins said.

Dr. Hopkins said he’s concerned, but not worried about the rise right now. However, as you enjoy your summer plans he said it’s still important to remember COVID-19 is out there.

“Let’s not try to put blinders on to say that COVID is not real or not still here, it is with us and if we back off on precautions, we give the virus a chance to win,” Hopkins said.

Doctors say there’s a new COVID-19 vaccine that could soon be another option for people. It’s made using the technology that was used to create the Hepatitis B vaccine that has been used for decades. Dr. Hopkins said it could appeal to those who are hesitant to get an mRNA vaccine like the Pfizer of Moderna option. You can learn more about the latest vaccine here.