CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The new Covid-19 variant concern is XBB, and it’s causing a surge in cases to kick off 2023.

Across Massachusetts, there is a surge in cases and increased hospitalizations, which is looking very similar to New Year spikes in 2021, and 2022. The increase in hospitalizations is largely what drives the CDC’s criteria for risk evaluation.

Most of Massachusetts, including Franklin County, is now back in the red in this week’s report. Franklin, reporting 121 cases per 100,000 people, with more than six percent of staffed hospital beds in the county occupied by Covid-positive patients.

The Board of Health in Deerfield said that they lost nine people to the virus in the final two weeks of 2022, marking a huge spike in deaths. Hampden, Hampshire, and Berkshire Counties are the lone holdouts in the region, with all but three counties in Connecticut and Rhode Island also at high risk.

Infectious disease experts also said that this XBB variant is more contagious than Omicron, but it won’t get you any sicker.