LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Healthcare experts have said they expected to see cases of COVID-19 increase as students headed back to school–and they have.

COVID hospitalizations in Michigan have increased by 9% over the past two weeks, according to Dr. Nike Shoyinka, the medical health officer for Ingham County.

“We’ve been seeing a gradual increase weekly for the past 5 or 6 weeks,” Shoyinka said. “Is it going to be to the same degree that we saw last year? It’s not entirely clear.”

The CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months old get the new FDA-approved monovalent vaccine, which targets a new Omicron variant.

“Around this time last year was when we had the bivalent vaccine that had two different strains in them. Based on what we’re seeing in terms of the strains circulating that are high, this vaccine is focused on that,” Shoyinka said.

The updated vaccines are produced by Pfizer and Moderna.

There are also additional ways to avoid other respiratory infections.

“We have a flu shot, and for those who are at risk too, there’s a new RSV vaccine focused on children and the elderly,” Shoyinka said.

The doctor said it’s okay to get more than one vaccine this season. In addition, she said it’s important to continue taking the precautions we are all familiar with.

“If you are sick, please stay at home,” Shoyinka said. “Coughing, sneezing, fever, that kind of thing. So that you are not spreading it to people. We know what the benefits of a mask are.”

And if we do all these things, Shoyinka said this can reduce the strain on health care workers.

“All the other people who have serious infections, we’re reducing the hospital’s capability to respond to them” [by failing to take routine measures against the spread of disease], Shoyinka said.

If you’d like to get a booster shot, Ingham County Health Department encourages you to make an appointment at a pharmacy like CVS, Rite-Aid, or Walgreens, or to talk to your primary care provider. You can also click here to find a place to get the shot near you.