LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Cases of the new omicron COVID-19 variant have started to pop up in countries across the globe.

In Lexington, health experts tell us, with so much still not known about the omicron variant, the precautions they’re taking are staying the same for now.

Kevin Hall with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said people must continue to mask up, wash their hands and stay home if they’re sick.

Hall said what’s concerning about omicron, and other future variants are that health experts don’t know how strong the variants will turn out to be, but they tend to get more serious.

Hall said the emergence of new variants like omicron displays the importance of getting vaccinated.

“The more people who get vaccinated, the less likely that this virus can mutate and spread and become more resistant to vaccination,” Hall said. “We need people who have not been vaccinated to take that step.”

Hall said the health department is pleased with Lexington’s vaccination rate. More than 71% of people in the county have received at least one dose, according to CDC data.

However, he said there is still work to be done to get the numbers as close to 100% as possible.