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(December 2, 2021) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has confirmed its first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the state.
The case was identified in an adult female resident of Arapahoe County who had recently traveled to Southern Africa for tourism. She is experiencing minor symptoms and is isolated and recuperating at home. She had been fully vaccinated and was eligible for the booster vaccine but had not yet received it.The omicron variant was first identified in November in South Africa and could be linked to an increase in cases throughout the country’s population. While there is still a great deal to learn about the variant, the mutations on the spike protein of the virus could be linked to increased transmissibility or a less effective immune response in vaccinated people. The World Health Organization has classified the variant as a variant of concern. The CDPHE restated in a press release today that all Coloradans (ages 5+) should get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone 18 or older who has received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago or who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their initial dose is encouraged to get a booster dose as soon as possible. In addition, all Coloradans ages 6 months and older should get vaccinated with the flu vaccine to protect the health care system.As Colorado continues to see high COVID case rates due to the highly transmissible delta variant and other respiratory illnesses begin to spread through the winter months, testing continues to be one of the greatest tools to prevent spread. “Our testing schedule has expanded in response to our increased caseload as we head into our peak months for transmission as indicated by last year’s data,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “With all of the opportunities at our fingertips for free testing across the county, our hope is that residents will use this tool before and after travel, after a potential exposure, and especially when they are symptomatic.”This week, San Miguel County Public Health will begin testing in Ilium Valley on Fridays from 9:30 to 11:30 am offering rapid nasal swab molecular COVID test. PCR tests will not be available at these Friday clinics. To register, those interested should visit bit.ly/smcmobiletesting. The CDPHE will continue offering free BinaxNOW antigen tests through their Rapid At-Home testing program. The program delivers free over the counter self-tests directly to residents’ homes. Individuals can apply to order tests using the program’s enrollment form and, upon receiving confirmation, order a test kit free of charge any time. Public Health is also offering bulk at-home test kits for businesses in the county which can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.For additional testing opportunities, visit the Public Health COVID Testing page at bit.ly/smccovidtest.Public Health has confirmed twenty-four new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from November 24 through December 1. Of these cases, one is a nonresident, 14 are confirmed as east end residents while nine are confirmed as west end residents, one with residency unknown. As of release time today, there are 18 active local cases, all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. There have been 1,323 total COVID cases among residents including 189 total breakthrough cases, one current hospitalization and five COVID-related deaths. To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the SMC COVID-19 dashboard.