NMDOH: Get tested for COVID-19 before holiday gatherings

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Currently, the dominant COVID-19 strain in New Mexico is still the Delta variant.

So far, 46 states have reported having the Omicron variant. The first positive Omicron case was reported in New Mexico on Dec. 12.

Nationwide, the Omicron variant has surpassed Delta to become the dominant variant with a new surge in COVID cases.

The New Mexico Department of Health says it is only a matter of time before it becomes more prevalent in the state.

"It’s going to be something that is going to have to be monitored so closely, because we have seen in other states, it can rapidly, rapidly take over," said Christine Ross, New Mexico’s state epidemiologist.

Omicron is much more contagious than the Delta variant. Health officials are urging everyone to get tested before going to holiday gatherings.

If you need results quickly, the NMDOH is encouraging residents to get a $25 testing kit from a local pharmacy. Those testing kits will provide results in as little as 15 minutes.

The NMDOH has 20,000 take-home tests they will distribute to communities with the highest transmission in the state, but unfortunately, that distribution will not happen before the holidays.

On Wednesday, New Mexico reported 914 additional COVID-19 cases, 39 deaths, and 560 hospitalizations.

For more information on COVID-19 testing in the state, click here.