(Gainesville)- Area health officials say COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Northeast Georgia now with kids back in school.

Dr. Zachary Taylor, director of District 2 Public Health, said 67 cases were reported in the district at the end of July, while 195 cases were reported during the last week in August.

“It sort of coincided with the return to schools,” Dr. Taylor said. “People coming into those settings, it probably involves children becoming infected and perhaps taking it home and infecting other family members.”

However, Dr. Taylor said the number of cases is likely underreported, as many people are using at-home test kits, which are not reported to the health department.

Dr. Taylor said hospitalizations are also up, but the numbers are still considerably low compared to previous upticks. The district reported 406 hospitalizations during one week in 2022, while a little over 60 hospitalizations were reported during the first week of September.

Dr. Taylor said COVID treatment has changed over the past several years thanks to the use of Paxlovid, an at-home antiviral medication, along with increased immunity from previous vaccination and COVID-19 infections.

Finally, Dr. Taylor said a new COVID-19 vaccine booster should be available at the end of September.