SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A new COVID-19 subvariant is on the rise in Siouxland.

XBB1.5 is a subvariant from Omicron and it accounts for more than 25 percent of COVID cases nationwide. Tyler Brock is the deputy director of the Siouxland District Health Department. He said a new subvariant is not surprising, but it’s important for people to know that new variations of COVID-19 tend to be more contagious than the previous ones.

“One of the things about variants is they’re always more contagious than the last one. That’s why they spread. If they weren’t more contagious, they wouldn’t spread. So we expect new variants to be quite contagious, ok? So, that is a normal thing,” said Brock.

Brock said this variant is not a lot different than other omicron variants so the SDHD plans to treat it the same way as the others.

“Our message to people is going to be the same thing that we’ve been talking about all winter long with all of our respiratory viruses. Good handwashing. Staying home when you’re sick. Covering your cough. Getting vaccinated for the things that we have that can possibly prevent serious infections,” said Brock.

Brock said the health department has not seen a high number of serious COVID infections in Siouxland recently.