New Mexico braces for new COVID-19 variant amid holiday gatherings
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Holiday cheer isn’t the only thing going around, health officials want to warn the public about a spike in COVID-19 and the flu.
“I know that is tough for people with the holidays, they really want to see their family but our COVID tests aren’t always perfect and you could have flu or RSV. It is really important if you aren’t feeling well to stay away from others,” said Madison Schaeffer, the director of NMDOH Hotline.
The New Mexico Department of Health says their biggest concern is a contagious new strain of COVID-19, JN.1.
“We are seeing upticks there and usually what happens is something goes on in Europe and then to the east coast and then it eventually makes its way to NM,” Schaeffer said.
The best thing to do is roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated.
“Get your booster before you do all of your holiday traveling. I know it’s not perfect timing but it is a good idea to do it before you travel for sure,” Schaeffer said.
“I think the vaccination rates are too low, about 40% of adults have gotten their flu shot and about 18% of adults have gotten the updated COVID vaccine,” said Mandy Cohen, CDC director.
Washing your hands often and masking up will also help protect you and the ones you love this holiday season.
“When you are visiting with loved ones, particularly seniors, people who are immune compromised you want to be careful you might choose to wear a mask. Especially if you are traveling and you are on a plane or you are visiting your doctor’s office somewhere that has a lot of sick people,” Schaeffer said.