First case of the omicron variant detected on Colorado’s Western Slope
December 15, 2021
Garfield County Public Health was notified on December 15 that a vaccinated individual tested positive for the COVID-19 omicron variant.
“We anticipated that we would see omicron cases in our county,” said Sara Brainard, Garfield County Public Health nurse manager. “We are still learning about this variant. It is more contagious than delta, with similar symptoms to other variants of the virus. Those who have been vaccinated seem to be experiencing less severe symptoms.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is tracking the spread of omicron, which was first detected December 2 on the Front Range. There are now four confirmed cases of the variant in the state. Unlike the first three identified cases, the Garfield County case had no recent travel history. Omicron has also been detected in Boulder wastewater, leading officials to believe that community transmission is occurring.
“Our primary concern is that a more contagious virus will make more people ill and strain our hospital systems more quickly,” Brainard said. “Omicron, combined with holiday gatherings, means that this is the time to get boosted. And, if you have not yet, protect yourself and your children by getting vaccinated.”
Public health, in collaboration with the CDPHE, continues to monitor for additional spread of the variant.
Experts from around the world conclude that vaccines are the safest, most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, as well as help avoid the worst outcomes (severe illness, hospitalization, and death) among those who do become infected.
IMPORTANT RESOURCES / HOLIDAY TRAVEL ADVISORY:
If you feel sick, or test positive, guide for what to do next.
Vaccine and booster clinics in Garfield County. Boosters now recommended for those 16+.
Where to get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
10 Tips for Holiday Gatherings and workplace parties.
Travel Information for international and domestic destinations.
*Public health recommends taking rapid antigen test kits with you on your travels. Take a rapid test prior to gathering with others, or prior to airline travel. Rapid tests can be purchased at many retail locations. Many international destinations require testing prior to departure. For international travel, it may also be helpful to take a PCR test within a few days of your departure. Those results are emailed to you generally within 48 hours. Be sure to check for any specific COVID-19 requirements prior to your travels. Report your home test results as directed on your test kit. Upon your return, consider testing within 3 – 5 days, regardless of symptoms or vaccination history.
Monoclonal antibody treatment information to reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization for people who have tested positive for COVID-19.