CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A new COVID-19 variant is spreading rapidly throughout the U.S. and The World Health Organization says “EG.5” poses a similar level of global risk as existing variants.

This new COVID variant, EG.5 also known as Eris, is now labeled as the most dominant Omicron subvariant as it is said to be more transmissible than the other strains. And if you are wondering how to go about getting tested for the virus, a Baystate Health expert says PCR tests or at home tests are the way to go.

“Any of the local pharmacies, they still sell COVID-19 testing kits and of course you can still contact your health provider primary care doctors, a provider who can order the test for you,” said Dr. Armando Paez.

This new variant is the fastest growing COVID-19 subvariant in the U.S. and is responsible for about 17% of new COVID cases. The symptoms of this EG.5 are similar to the other COVID-19 strains.

Some potential signs of the variant include coughing, a sore throat, fatigue, and loss of smell. These symptoms can progress over time leading to difficulty breathing, so if you are at high risk, Dr. Paez says you should take more safety precautions, “People who are at risk of severe infection, elderly, immunocompromised patients, patients with weak immune system should be up to date with their booster shots.”

Dr. Paez recommends that those at high risk also wear a mask and a keep a good distance from others.

Local News

Kiara Smith is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since March 2023. Follow Kiara on X @KiaraBSmith1 and view her bio to see more of her work.