(WWLP)- There are growing concerns around the world about a new COVID-19 variant that was first detected in South Africa.

Gail Lagasse of Agawam is looking forward to the Christmas holiday this year. Last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic her family celebrated over zoom and this year it will be in person.

“All of us in the family are on the same page and we are careful but everyone that has been in any of our group has been vaccinated,” she said.

That caution is what top health officials are urging everyone to maintain as a new variant of COVID-19, the Omicron Variant, is causing concern around the world especially as the busy holiday season begins.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief White House Medical Advisor stated, “It is absolutely essential that unvaccinated people get vaccinated, and the vaccinated people get boosters.”

The CDC says so far there are no confirmed cases of this variant identified here in the US, but Dr. Fauci also said it doesn’t mean the virus isn’t already in the country.

“We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you are already having travel-related cases when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately gonna go essentially all over,” Dr. Fauci said.

The latest efforts to stop travel-related cases, the US placing travel restrictions for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa and seven other countries in the region.

Over in New York state, the governor, declaring a state of emergency in anticipation of the new variant. And while the Omicron Variant is being closely watched worldwide many people like Gail are hopeful to keep their plans to spend the holidays with their loved ones.

“No, I don’ think it’s going to change this year if people do what they are supposed to, get their vaccinations and their boosters shots, and do what they are supposed to.”