New Mexico braces for surge of Omicron cases

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Schools and businesses around the country are seeing COVID-19 cases surge. Some of those places are choosing, once again, to put in-person meetings on hold.

So where is New Mexico at? Before the holidays, Delta was still the primary variant in New Mexico.

State health officials are planning to hold a COVID-19 update Wednesday. The last statewide update was just before Christmas. Health officials told KOB 4 Monday that Omicron has increased dramatically in the state.

The variant is highly contagious. In no time at all, Omicron virtually took over the country. According to the CDC, it is now the dominant variant in the U.S.

“It seems to be rapidly spreading. It does appear to be highly contagious, highly transmissible,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Ross with the New Mexico Department of Health. “We have not seen this before where the growth advantage of this variant is quite striking.”

State health officials warned that the Omicron variant would be closely monitored.

“What data we have shows that the vaccines remain effective against prevention of severe illness and death,” Ross said.

But health officials said learning to live the virus is in the cards. That also comes with new quarantine guidance from the CDC.

If you test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, the new recommendation is to quarantine for just 5 days. After that, if you’re symptom free or symptoms are improving, you just need to mask up around others.

Health officials said they plan to implement that new CDC guidance in the next few days.