NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – By now, it’s likely you’ve been sick with COVID or know someone who’s had it more than once. While the new variant has cases rising, state health officials say we are at a very different place with the virus than we were two-and-a-half years ago.

The State’s Deputy Secretary for the Department of Health Dr. Laura Parajon said Omicron Subvariants like BA-4 and BA-5 are now dominant in New Mexico and very contagious, but she also says New Mexicans have the tools to keep themselves safe.

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“We are in a different place than we were before. So, it’s not as scary like when we got these variants and we didn’t have a way to protect ourselves. I think it’s really important to recognize that we can protect ourselves right now,” said Dr. Parajon.

She said major COVID vaccine manufacturers are testing out new formulas for a COVID vaccine, which could be available in the fall. “You’re hearing about people who are getting reinfected even though they got all their doses or even their boosters. That doesn’t mean the vaccine doesn’t work,” said Dr. Parajon.

Health officials maintain vaccines and boosters are the best way to avoid getting hospitalized or dying from COVID.

Even with the wave of COVID cases making its way through the country, Dr. Parajon said she’s encouraged that the state is not seeing the same wave of hospitalizations that we’ve seen in the past.