CDPHE: State of Colorado monitoring for omicron variant

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is closely monitoring for the omicron variant and is in contact with the White House, Centers for Disease Control, and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials about the new variant of concern.  

There are currently no confirmed cases of the omicron variant in Colorado, but the state has several mechanisms to detect the virus. 

  • The state lab, along with private and commercial labs, conducts genome sequencing on samplings of tests. Genome sequencing allows scientists to detect the variants. Colorado is fourth in the nation for percentage of cases genome sequenced, based on recent CDC surveillance data. 
  • The state leads a wastewater monitoring collaboration with wastewater utilities, to monitor levels of COVID-19 virus particles found in wastewater. Studies have shown that almost half of individuals who develop COVID-19 have detectable virus particles in their stool before, during, and after their infection, including people without symptoms. The state lab looks for genetic markers in wastewater and is able to identify markers consistent with the presence of COVID-19 variants, including omicron, through wastewater monitoring. 

“Pandemics aren’t easy. The virus is tricky and trying to survive us at every turn, but we know what to do to help stop it,” said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer, CDPHE. “We need everyone to do what they’ve done in the past and continue to take precautions. Protecting yourself against other variants, like the delta variant, as well as the flu, will help us be ready for if/when the omicron variant arrives here.”

State health officials want to restate that all Coloradans (ages 5+) should get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, and all Coloradans (ages 6 months+) should get vaccinated with the flu vaccine to protect the health care system. It’s particularly critical that Coloradans heed caution as the state braces for another variant of concern and follow basic public health guidance. Stay home if sick, wash hands frequently, and wear a mask for extra protection. 

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CDPHE: State of Colorado monitoring for omicron variant