Omicron cases surge in El Paso County

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — COVID-19 testing sites in Colorado Springs are seeing record numbers. The health department tells us it’s been very busy since the holidays as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly.

Testing volume doubled the week of December 26 compared to the previous week in El Paso County and it continues at a high pace this week.

The omicron variant is two to three times more contagious than the delta variant. Governor Jared Polis said if you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested three to five days after you were exposed. Also, continue to protect yourself with a mask, get fully vaccinated including the booster shot.

“The symptoms are the same a mild case of COVID-19 is very similar to other cold viruses, you can not tell without getting tested so I think if they are having symptoms and if they don’t resolve over 24 hours make sure you get tested and or consult your health provider,” Temporary Medical Officer for EPCPH Dr. Chris Urbina said.

El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) says recent holiday gatherings and the combination of people traveling is a factor in the surge of cases. Health experts add the variant evades our own immune system so whether or not you’ve been previously infected or have been vaccinated you can get re-infected or have a breakthrough case.

“Whether or not they’ve been exposed to it over the holiday or after we’ve seen this significant rise in the number of cases in El Paso County, you can protect yourself by putting in those layers of protection,” Dr. Urbina added.

Healthcare workers expect to see a jump in hospitalizations two to three weeks from the initial spike of COVID cases. Children’s Hospital Colorado said this is the most children hospitalized with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

“Whether or not they’ve been exposed to it over the holiday or after we’ve seen this significant rise in number of cases in El Paso County, you can protect yourself by putting in those layers of protection,” Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sam Dominguez.

Hospitals expect to see a jump in patients in two to three weeks from the initial spike of COVID cases. Healthcare workers encourage people to also get their influenza shot if they haven’t yet.

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