Vermont’s top health officials says he doesn’t expect to see a big change in COVID-19 levels this winter.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said infection rates in the state have held steady, and no new variant of the coronavirus has appeared on the horizon yet.

“The numbers that we’ve been getting from across the state, and including UVM, to us don’t indicate any alarming change,” said Dr. Levine.

Levine said the health department monitors COVID hospitalizations several times a week, but stressed that that not all patients who test positive are in the hospital for COVID because of the virus.

“Only one in five COVID-positive patients were actually in the hospital because of COVID,’ he said. “Around the state, when you add all the hospitals together, it’s only between 40 and 50 percent are there because of COVID.”

Health officials say the best way to avoid severe illness and hospitalization is to get a free COVID vaccine. Vermonters ages 6 months and older tare eligible, and boosters are now available for 5- to 11- year olds.