LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Health confirms on Jan. 12 that a new form of COVID-19 has been found in the state.

The latest strain is a subvariant of the omicron variant. The department says it is more transmissible than the previous strains, but there is no indication it causes more severe disease.

Mike Cima, the department’s epidemiologist, says the best way to protect yourself is still getting vaccinated.

“I think the best way to protect ourselves is to use all tools available to us which include the updated COVID-19 booster,” Cima said. “They are widely available. They increase our protection, especially against severe disease.”

The department says the latest subvariant is expected to become the dominant strain within the state.