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Source: DIGICOMPHOTO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty

COVID-19 cases are beginning to spike across the state again.

Health experts say the new BA.5 Omicron subvariant is to blame for the increase in cases. Some are calling it the “ninja variant”.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services data from last week shows 18 counties currently in orange, which is considered high risk.

Mecklenburg County is in yellow, the medium risk category.

Dr. Katie Passaretti with Atrium Health says the BA.5 Omicron subvariant is the primary strain in the Charlotte area. Those who are vaccinated and previously infected with COVID can get it.

Health officials still say the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization is getting vaccinated and boosted.

Read the full story here.