TRI-STATE (WEHT) — More and more counties across the Tri-State reporting an increase in positive COVID-19 cases with one county now in the red zone.

The Green River District Health Department says they have seen a significant increase in positive cases over the last five weeks.

“I think we’re still early in this BA.4 or BA.5 phase and it’s important to remember as we see this increase in numbers the gap from one week to another is continuing to grow,” Merritt Bates-Thomas, public information officer for the Green River District Health Department said.

Bates-Thomas says on June 7 they reported 207 positive cases between their seven counties. On July 12, Green River Reported 843 COVID cases with 463 of those cases being in Daviess County, Kentucky. Daviess County is now in the red zone on the COVID map according to the Kentucky Public of Health.

“Both BA.4 and BA.5 are both capable of escaping immune protection induced by infection with earlier omicron and other prior variants making them what would be termed a little more stealth,” Bates-Thomas explained. “People may think they have immunity from a prior infection and that doesn’t always hold true.”

As COVID numbers begin to roll in from the Independence Day weekend, Deaconess Health says many positive cases go unreported.

“There’s so many home tests being done at this point, it’s very difficult to track the total number of positive that are happening,” Dr. James Porter with Deaconess Health said. “I think majority of people are testing themselves and not necessarily reporting that. I think it’s safe to assume that holiday gatherings probably were a source of the opportunity for some increase spread.”

Between all Deaconess hospitals, Dr. Porter says they currently have 29 COVID patients with six of those patients in the ICU and one on the ventilator.

“Based on what we’ve seen from the variants that are out there right now, I think things are going to continue similarly as they are,” Dr. Porter explained.

Dr. Porter says the sub-variants of the omicron variant are even more contagious than the original omicron variant.