CHICAGO — More than 90 counties across Illinois are now at ‘high’ or ‘medium’ community level, with case counts steadily rising in recent weeks.  

Doctors say the omicron subvariant BA.5 is what doctors say is now driving the current surge across the country.

SEE ALSO: Gov. JB Pritzker tests positive for COVID-19 days after Florida visit

Dr. Sharon Welbel, director of Hospital Infection Control and Epidemiology for Cook County Health, says the virus has increased transmission and become more transmissible.  

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 just days after visiting Florida. The governor thanked the availability of anti-viral medications to help in a faster recovery.  

According to the CDC, nearly two out of every three new Covid-19 infections have been caused by the subvariant, but officials say it’s hard to know exactly how many cases are out there.   

“Because many centers have closed and people are using home antigen tests, which aren’t getting reported anywhere, so we really don’t know how many cases we’re seeing,” Welbel said.  

With a spike in cases, locals say they are taking their own precautions to keep themselves and their families safe.   

Sally Arevalo said she has noticed that safety precautions set in place amid the pandemic have since become lax. 

“What I’ve noticed is no one is changing,” Arevalo said. “They’re not wearing a mask even when they’re standing right on top of you.  

“I always figure those people aren’t vaccinated. I don’t know if they are, but that’s how I feel.” 

Brittany McDonald told WGN News that she remains concerned about the COVID surge.  

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“I don’t do crowds,” she said. “When masks are mandated in certain places, I wear my mask.” 

According to the Illinois Department of Health, the rise in cases is not currently causing a strain on hospitals. Still, public officials are urging the locals to be aware of the current trend and be up to date with vaccination and booster shots.  

Masking indoors is also recommended.