DENVER (KDVR) — State health officials are encouraging Coloradans to continue to be diligent about vaccinations and prevention of COVID-19 on Thursday, as cases have risen since April.

Colorado’s COVID-19 incident commander, Scott Bookman, along with Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, and Diana Herrero, deputy director, Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response provided an update on Thursday as cases of the coronavirus rise in our state.

As of Wednesday, Colorado’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 8.37%. Incidence rates have been steadily increasing in the state since April.

Herlihy said 40% of the state is testing positive with the BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant variant and that it is approximately 25% more transmissible. She also said the first case of the BA 5 omicron subvariant was detected in Colorado and there have been a handful of BA 4 omicron subvariant cases across the state.

The state is adding BA.4 and BA.5 into the wastewater testing in the next week.

At the beginning of the pandemic, cases were undercounted due to limited testing. As testing became more popular, case counting improved and at-home testing now has created a variety of resources to keep the number of cases more accurate, Herlihy said.

CDPHE, 5/18/22

Prevention, vaccination and testing were stressed as these variants are more highly contagious. However, officials said the prevention measures are remaining at the local level, and at this point, no state mandates are expected.

“This virus is here to stay, there is no doubt about that,” Bookman said. Humans have learned how to live with the influenza virus and we’re going to do the same with the coronavirus, he said.