DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado health officials say the latest rise in COVID-19 cases was expected, but numbers might be higher than they thought across the state.

More than 2,000 cases were reported in Colorado this week, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The number is up by almost 200 from the week prior.

Hospitalizations are also up with the positivity rate. But there’s no need for panic, according to doctors, although it is a better time than ever to know how to prevent more spread.

“It’s not totally unexpected. I think it’s probably a little bit worse than we were hoping,” said Dr. Carrie Horn, chief medical officer at National Jewish Health.

The number of new COVID cases in Colorado has spiked slightly higher than expected, in part, because of the new variant.

“The variants that are going around now are pretty infectious,” Horn said. “It’s pretty easy to get it still.”

That’s not to be mistaken for what could be a mild cold or other kind of infection, Horn said.

“You still get the fever, the chills, the body aches, the headache, the ‘I just feel terrible’ kind of feeling that most people report — that’s about the same,” Horn said.

Holiday COVID cases expected

The number of hospitalizations from current COVID infections has also increased, although Horn said it is no cause for panic.

“A lot of what we saw with hospitalizations early on, we were seeing otherwise healthy people that you would not expect to end up in the hospital from a virus,” Horn said.

That was earlier on in the pandemic. But since then, people have gotten better at preventing the spread by isolating, masking up and getting vaccinated.

“Regardless of whether it’s COVID or flu or any of the other viruses, if you don’t feel well, the best thing you can do is stay away from other people as best you can,” Horn said.

The number of infections is higher, but that is not a shock to health experts, who said to expect those spikes after any holiday season.

“We see increases related to the holidays,” Horn said. “So anytime you get a lot of people in a room close together, you’re going to have an increased risk of transmission.”

The new vaccine recently greenlit by the Food and Drug Administration will deter infection from the newest COVID variants, Horn said, adding that the vaccine could be available to the public in the next month or two.