PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – While the omicron virus is in retreat, health experts are keeping an eye on the next COVID subvariant on the horizon called BA.2.

Experts are finding BA.2, which is a cousin of omicron and more contagious, is causing a big bump in infections and hospitalizations in the U.K.

In the U.S., the CDC said the subvariant made up about 35% of new cases last week. Starting Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority will be posting BA.2 numbers on its COVID dashboard.

Meanwhile, researchers at Oregon State University have been collecting wastewater samples weekly from water treatment plants in 40 communities across the state since the pandemic began. They have picked up BA.2 samples in water that’s gone down the drain from showers, toilets, sinks and industrial.

Scientists are watching the subvariant closely, not sure yet how effective immunity and vaccines are with the latest variant. Experts say BA.2 started in Oregon in late February, however, these tracking systems will help keep an eye on it.