(WDHN) — XBB 1.5, the new highly transmissible subvariant of omicron is starting to make headroom on the dominant variant BQ. 1.1 which means another surge could be on the way.

“We’re slowly seeing a proportionate of this variant increasing across the nation and in Alabama,” Dr. Wes Stubblefield said.

The subvariant is emerging at a fast rate. The Alabama department of public health reports over 1000 cases per day — over 30 percent of the cases are the new variant.

The new variant could also play a part in the increase in hospitalizations that have tripled since the holiday season.

“Right now we have 524 people in the hospital 14 of those being kids we assume the new strain is related to hospitalizations but we don’t know which percent,” He said.

According to Dr. Stubblefield, the new strain is not known to be any more severe than others but the number of hospitalizations, cases, and sadly deaths continue to increase.

However, the variant is the most contagious detected so far. In the Wiregrass area, three counties are at high-risk Barbour, Covington, and Crenshaw.

Dr. Stubblefield said he hopes the variant doesn’t cause so much of a panic, but more of a reminder to get the current vaccinations to combat surges.

“Getting that updated bivalent booster may be helpful in preventing infection in general but also severe illness for particularly those who are at high risk,” He said.