KANSAS CITY METRO (KCTV) -- As we head into the holiday season, COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise, both nationwide and here in the Kansas City metro.

The rise in local cases comes as a lot of mask mandates are being lifted and big holiday gatherings are being planned. Data compiled by the Mid-America Regional Council from Kansas City area hospitals and health providers shows a peak in August, followed by a downturn.

That downward trend, though, stalled and turned upward recently. Jackson County has seen a 10.5 percent increase in the last week, accounting for 176 cases per 100,000 residents, and 94 new hospitalizations. Johnson County has seen a 26.7 percent increase in the last week---over 167 cases per 100,000 people, and 55 new hospitalizations.

Dr. Steve Stites with the University of Kansas Health System says this trend is concerning.

"I think you are seeing it throughout the country," Stites said. "When you start taking masks off and go indoors, people are going to start to get sick again. And we're going to see that increase and rise in COVID-19 numbers, and that's exactly what we're starting to see. And I'm concerned."

There is a bit of good news this week, though. In just a few days, all adults in the U.S. could be eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot. The extra protection could be key, as we go into the holiday season with cases on the rise.

About one-third of people 65 years old and older have already gotten the booster shot, along with others with underlying health issues, but it could be available to everyone by the end of this week.

Pfizer has applied for emergency use authorization for boosters for all adults in the U.S. The FDA could authorize it as soon as Thursday, and the CDC may give its final approval on that before the weekend.

The U.S. is now averaging more than 82,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, up 11 percent over the daily average from two weeks ago.

"When we look back on this, we will see that boosters are likely a very critical part of the immunization regimen," said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

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