ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State said Tuesday that they are testing for a new coronavirus variant, as hospitalizations continue to rise across the state and in the Finger Lakes Region. It’s a new Omicron variant, BA.2.86.

While the state says they haven’t discovered it yet in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul urged caution in a statement today, though cases and hospitalizations are on the rise.

Both Dr. Emil Lesho with Rochester Regional Health and Dr. Michael Mendoza with Monroe County agreed that this is a far cry from the height of the pandemic.

“We’ve known for the past three years that we anticipate an increase in the number of cases, in late summer and early fall, especially as people get back together, school, go back indoors and all that,” Mendoza said. “But for now I don’t think there’s any reason to be sounding major alarm bells.”

According to New York State COVID hospitalization data, just shy of 1,200 people were in the hospital with COVID across the state. As for the Finger Lakes Region, 78 people were hospitalized with COVID Monday.

Rochester Regional Health says as of today, 30 to 35 have been hospitalized in their system. URMC said the number of COVID patients at strong is in the single digits. They didn’t comment on the number across their system.

Neither is changing their current masking protocols as of Tuesday.

“It doesn’t appear to be more virulent, it doesn’t appear to cause more severe disease, but more people are ending up in the hospital,” Lesho said. “These changes are called mutations, there are a significant number of them, in this variant, almost 20 changes.”

The vaccine booster that is rolling out in the fall is designed to have better protection against this new variant. Both Lesho and Mendoza recommend the vaccine, and people should take precautions if they feel they need to.