WATCH: Governor Polis says Omicron variant is now in Colorado

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UPDATE: According to the State Health Department, the Arapaho County woman who tested for the Omicron variant was fully vaccinated and is experiencing minor symptoms. Once the test came back positive for the variant, the CDPHE issued an isolation order for the woman and tested her close contacts for COVID and the variant. All results came back negative.

“Colorado has one of the highest rates of whole-genome sequencing in the country, so we’re certainly very proud of that. But of course testing relies on individuals going to get tested,” Dr. Herlihy said.

Dr. Herlihy said that Colorado’s response to the Omicron variant will include routine testing — meaning that testing will continue for those who may have had exposure or close contact to someone with COVID, or for those who feel ill. It will also include testing for those who have traveled internationally.

Governor Jared Polis said that he encourages people to use the free testing sites available to them all over the state –especially as the Health Department said there’s still little information available for the new variant.

“These are all the questions… right? These are questions… how much more contagious is it, how well the vaccines hold up and how does it impact your health… how virulent is it,” Governor Polis said.

He also said that they should have these questions answered within several weeks.

For now, he encouraged Coloradans to continue following health guidelines and get vaccinated as well as pursue monoclonal antibody treatment which he said can decrease the risk of hospitalization by 70%.

Visit the Colorado government website for more information on vaccination centers, testing sites and monoclonal antibody sites.

DENVER — Governor Polis announced Thursday that the COVID-19 variant known as Omicron has been discovered in Colorado. The patient had traveled to Southern Africa and was tested for COVID-19 after she returned to Colorado.

“We knew it was not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when,'” Polis said of the variant’s arrival.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, noted this variant transmits at a higher rate and recommended all adults get their vaccines and, at the appropriate time, their booster shot.

“If you don’t get vaccinated, you could get this illness… and you could become very ill,” Governor Polis added.

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