New Mexico braces for new Covid-19 strain amid holiday crowds

The New Mexico Department of Health says their biggest concern is the infectious new strain of COVID-19, JN.1.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It's not just about holiday cheer, health officials want to warn the public about the rise of COVID-19 and the flu.

“I know it's hard for people who are on holidays and they really want to see their family, but our covid tests are not always perfect, you could have the flu or RSV. “It's very important to stay away from other people if you're sick,” said Madison Schaeffer, director of the NMDOH hotline.

The New Mexico Department of Health says their biggest concern is the infectious new strain of COVID-19, JN.1.

“We're seeing developments there, and generally what happens is in Europe and then on the East Coast, and then it eventually goes to NM,” Schaefer said.

The best thing to do is roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated.

“Get your booster before you do all of your vacation travel. I know it's not the perfect time, but it's definitely better to do it before you travel,” Schaefer said.

“I think vaccination rates are very low, about 40% of adults have gotten the flu shot and about 18% of adults have gotten the updated Covid vaccine,” said CDC Director Mandy Cohen.

Washing your hands often and wearing a mask can help protect you and your loved ones this holiday season.

“When you visit with loved ones, especially the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, if you want to be careful, you can wear a mask. “Especially if you're traveling and you're on a plane or going to your doctor's office somewhere, there's a lot of sick people,” Schaefer said.

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