(Dec. 2, 2021): Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has confirmed its first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in Colorado. 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 received it yet.
What is omicron variant? B.1.1.529 (named omicron by the World Health Organization) is a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was detected in early November 2021 in South Africa and may be responsible for an increase in cases in that country.
Why is omicron variant concerning? There is still a lot to learn about the omicron variant. Due to some of the mutations on the spike protein of the virus, it is possible that omicron might be more transmissible, or immune response may not be as effective.
Are there any known cases of omicron variant in Colorado? Yes. On December 2, 2021, CDPHE confirmed its first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in Colorado. The case was identified in a Colorado resident who had recently traveled to Southern Africa for tourism. This case was identified following a positive test result through routine case investigation. CDPHE’s epidemiologists flagged it for follow-up because of recent travel history. The Colorado State Laboratory conducted genome sequencing on the specimen and confirmed the presence of the omicron variant. CDPHE has issued an isolation order for this case and quarantine orders for close contacts in Colorado, although none of those close contacts have tested positive. CDPHE is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health to investigate this case..
How is the state monitoring for omicron variant? Colorado is watching closely for cases of the omicron variant. New variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have been shown to spread globally over time. In Colorado, the CDPHE Laboratory and some private laboratories conduct genetic sequencing on human samples that are positive for SARS-CoV-2 from around the state. Sequencing cannot be done from samples with low viral load or from antigen-based tests. This allows CDPHE to track the variants that are circulating in our state. To date, the omicron variant has not been detected in Colorado. You can find Colorado’s current variant data at https://covid19.colorado.gov/data.
In addition, since August of 2020, CDPHE has been working with Colorado wastewater utilities and Colorado State University to monitor wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 levels in our communities as part of the Colorado Wastewater Surveillance Collaborative. The state has added protocols to track omicron variant. Wastewater monitoring allows us to identify the presence of a virus in a community before we have results from clinical testing. This method allows us to estimate trends of disease within a community because it can capture aggregate data, including from those who are asymptomatic or who may not seek testing. This system can act as an early warning system to give our local partners the opportunity to respond to viral hotspots quickly and help control the spread of disease. Just under half of COVID-19 cases, including those who do not have symptoms, are believed to shed SARS COV-2 in their stool.
How effective are the current vaccines against omicron? We still are learning about this variant and how effective existing vaccines are against it. Vaccines are still the safest, most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, as well as help avoid the worst outcomes (severe illness, hospitalization, and death) among those who do become infected.
What is the best protection against infections from the SARS-CoV-2 variants? Vaccines are the safest, most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, as well as help avoid the worst outcomes (severe illness, hospitalization, and death) among those who do become infected. CDPHE also encourages all Coloradans age 18 and up to get a booster dose as soon as possible if it has been at least six months since they got their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or at least two months since they got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. There are more than 1,700 vaccine providers across the state.
All Coloradans should get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19. People who have recently traveled internationally should be tested 3-5 days after their return with a molecular or PCR test, regardless of symptoms or vaccination history. There are more than 140 free community testing sites across Colorado.
Coloradans should also wear a mask in indoor public spaces, limit large gatherings, wash their hands frequently and practice physical distancing.
Delta County Vaccine providers continue to vaccinate all individuals 5 and older. Delta County Health Department will hold a pediatric (only) vaccine clinic at Hotchkiss K8 School on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 from 4p - 6p. Registration is not necessary - walk-in are welcome and encouraged!
State of Colorado Vaccine Bus Clinic is offering 1st & 2nd doses, as well as boosters and pediatric doses of the COVID-19 vaccine; click here to make an appointment at one of the mobile vaccine clinics listed below. (Walk-ups are welcome as well) :
Sunday, December 5, 2021 - Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss - 8a - 12p
Sunday, December 5, 2021 - Poulos Park in Paonia - 2p - 5p
Friday, December 10, 2021 - Lions Pavilion at Bill Heddles RC - Delta - 12p - 7p
Thursday, December 16, 2021 - Cedaredge Foodtown - 10a - 5p
Sunday, December 19, 2021 - Parking lot across from St. Michael's Church - Delta - 9a - 5p
Schedule your vaccine appointment now, at any one of these COVID-19 Vaccine Providers:
Delta County Health Department is taking appointments for a 3rd dose or booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine - it's available to anyone 18 years old, and older!
Schedule your vaccine appointment now, at any one of these COVID-19 Vaccine Providers :
- Health Department - 970-874-2165
- Delta Health Family Medicine - 970-874-5777
- Delta Health Internal Medicine - 970-874-7668
- Delta Health West Elk Clinic - 970-872-1400
- Delta Health Pediatrics 970-546-4000
- Pediatric Associates - 970-249-2421
- River Valley Family Health Center - 970-874-8981
- River Valley Convenient Care Clinic - 970-874-8981
- City Market Delta
- City Market Hotchkiss
- Safeway Delta
- Walmart Delta
- Disease Investigation
- COVID Testing and Tracing
- Keeping Schools Open
- Partnering with Business
- Sharing Information
- Supporting Healthcare
Public Health is the lead organization for community-based disease investigation and control. Through partnership with other health and medical organizations, support from elected and municipal officials and institutions, health officials can limit the spread of a disease, and reduce its impact on a community. What can you do? Stay home if you are ill, get tested, and most importantly get vaccinated! Visit our Immunizations page for more information.
Contact tracing following testing keeps schools open and businesses open by identifying cases earlier and decreasing the chances that someone will unknowingly spread the virus reduces transmission in our community. Learn more about the part testing plays in an overall COVID-19 prevention strategy. Also learn more about how and where to get tested.
Keeping Schools Open:
The basic belief that having children IN the classroom is far better for our community is what drives this partnership between the Delta County School District and the Delta County Health Department. Parents help by keeping their children home when they are sick (isolation), or when they’ve been in contact with a known COVID-19 case (quarantine). Learn more about how you can Keep our Schools Open.
Partnering with Business (Partnership for a COVID-Free Delta County):
Delta County Health Department encourages businesses in each of the jurisdictions to support keeping COVID-19 numbers down in Delta County, protect our most vulnerable populations, and contribute to a thriving economy even in times of the most stringent of COVID-19 restrictions. For more information, click on our Partnering with Business page. Click here for the most recent letter for restaurants and liquor establishments from CDPHE.
Providing up-to-date and accurate health information to the community through all the ways people like to receive it is a basic public health priority: print media (like the Delta County Independent), social media (like Facebook), and our website (www.deltacountyhealth.org). Data drives what we do: visit the COVID Dashboard.
A surge is what we call a demand for health care resources in excess of supply. Some of our shortcomings as a rural health care system are lack of staff, facilities, and supplies, and adequate leverage in the face of larger and better-financed systems. Working together to bulk-purchase, relying on our partnerships for testing, vaccination, data-tracking and staffing to meet the needs of Delta County residents, including activation of emergency support through our county and state emergency management organizations help us to meet the surge head-on.
Event Gatherings and other information is contained in the newest public health order (PHO).
**NEW** 11/30/2021 10th AMENDED PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER 20-38
- Supporting Healthcare web page.
- For regional resources, visit Mesa County Health Department’s web page.
- Colorado Department of Health and Environment COVID-19 website.
- Colorado Executive and Health Orders related to COVID-19.
- Colorado Department of Labor and Employment: Information and resources regarding sick leave and unemployment for employees affected by COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control website.