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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment responds Omicron variant and spikes in COVID cases

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment responds Omicron variant and spikes in COVID cases

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment responds to Omicron variant and spike in COVID cases

STATEWIDE — As more information becomes available on the Omicron variant, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Ask Coloradans to be cautious heading into the holidays.

CDPHE acknowledged that they are still learning more about the new variant but stated that they take it seriously.

Credit: CDPHE

“Omicron appears to be more transmissible so more easily spread from person to person,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist. “The data are still out on what severity looks like.”

Colorado has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases overall, but the trend has been upwards over the past few days, according to CDPHE. It could be a variety of factors, but the health department said they’re attributing it to the new variant, as well as a delay in cases because of the previous holiday.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“Testing is obviously a really important strategy for situational awareness for us having awareness of how much transmission is occurring in the state and then also for individual awareness,” Dr. Herlihy said.

In some positive news, the health department said hospitalizations are decreasing, but the number of those hospitalized are still high compared to previous waves, and the department said they’re still remaining skeptical the number will continue to decrease.

“While we do see a bit of breathing room there, as Dr. Herlihy indicated, there’s a lot of concern nationally and internationally of just the sheer transmissability of this variant may result in an increase in hospitalizations,” said Incident Commander Scott Bookman.

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Scott Bookman. Credit: Rachel Saurer

They suggested that for the holidays to come in 2021, they would continue to follow the guidelines they shared with us over the past two years. This included recommendations to test and encourage people to get vaccinated.

“Physical distancing, having events outdoors at least in the metro area it looks like the weather is going to be quite nice,” Dr. Herlihy said. “That’s a great risk reduction strategy so all of the things that we’ve been doing to make gatherings safer will be really important this holiday.”

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