SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 cases are currently low, but it’s still important to continue to take precautions. It’s also worth remembering that while cases remain low here in Western Massachusetts and throughout the U.S., the threat of future subvariants remains.

The rapid rate at which COVID-19 changes fuels concern of subvariants emerging. We know this virus has been unlike any other virus that we’ve ever seen.

Right now, a subvariant of the Omicron strain of the virus is spreading throughout the country. It doesn’t cause as severe illness as other variants, but it defies immunity from previous infections.

22news spoke with one Florida resident visiting family here in Massachusetts about how she plans to deal with variants. “Well I keep a hand sanitizer in the car at all times so any time we go in and out I use that. I do have masks on me in case they’re required,” she said.

Although cases remain low now, experts say it’s important to remain vigilant with vaccination.

Mark Kenton, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Mercy Medical Center, told 22News, “We hope that the vaccinations and the boosters will help maybe prevent, at least, serious illness and death. That’s what we’ve seen with the vaccinations so far.”

Other measures like social distancing and using masks are encouraged, especially once the cooler months arrive and more people are indoors.

“It’s still important for people who need to protect themselves, that are at high risk, that have immunocompromised states, always good to still mask up. If they need to, if they’re going to be in close quarters with people. But, the standpoint we’re at right now, numbers have been lower, which is a good thing,” he added.

The hope is that with continued precautions hospitals will be spared from surges of COVID-19 patients as subvariants form.