By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– Two cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant have been confirmed in the City and County of Denver. Those cases are “community-acquired” which indicates community transmission in the area.

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The Omicron variant has also been detected in other communities around Colorado.

The cases were confirmed on Friday, Dec. 17. One case was detected in a male who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster dose of the vaccine. The other case is a female who is fully vaccinated but not boosted.

Both individuals have reported mild symptoms. No known close contacts associated with either case have tested positive for the variant, so far.

According to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, along with the state agency, vaccination is the best method of preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.

Additional Information from the DDPHE:

The emergence of a new variant underscores the importance of following public health guidance, including  getting vaccinated and getting a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While breakthrough infections after vaccination are possible, vaccination protects against severe illness and hospitalization.

Early studies indicate a booster dose of the vaccine provides additional protection against the Omicron variant. Individuals 16 years and older should get a booster dose if they received a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago or received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago for their initial dose. In addition to vaccination, the use of face coverings, social distancing and hand washing are effective methods in slowing the transmission of COVID-19.

Denver’s current public health order requires individuals aged 2 and older to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces. As an alternative, local businesses and venues can voluntarily implement a vaccine verification check before entry into their businesses, in which case masks will not be required if they have verified that at least 95% of the persons within the facility have been vaccinated. Businesses must alert DDPHE if they plan to implement a vaccine verification check.

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In alignment with CDPHE, DDPHE recommends those who have recently traveled internationally should be tested three to five days after their return with a molecular or PCR test, regardless of symptoms or vaccination history. Anyone, regardless of vaccination status, who develops symptoms should get tested immediately and isolate.

CDPHE monitors the presence of variants in the state and conducts genetic sequencing of samples that are positive for COVID-19 from around the state. This allows CDPHE to track the variants that are circulating in the state. Find Colorado’s current variant data online.

As people gather for the holidays, keep these tips in mind to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Get vaccinated

Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and get your booster shot. Vaccines are safe, effective, easy to access and the safest way to keep your loved ones safe this holiday season.

(Photo by Andriy Andriyenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

 Get tested

Individuals who feel sick or have any symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell or sore throat, stay home, get tested and isolate or quarantine if necessary.

 Wear a face covering

Everyone ages 2 and older is required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth while indoors unless in a facility that is checking vaccinations. It’s also a good idea to wear a face covering in crowded outdoor settings and in private residences if not everyone is vaccinated.

 Host a safe gathering

Plan a gathering where everyone over the age of 5 has been vaccinated. Consider hosting a smaller, shorter, outdoor gathering. Outdoor events are generally safer than indoor events; smaller groups are generally safer than larger groups; and shorter gatherings are generally safer than longer gatherings.

 Stay home if sick

Individuals who feel sick (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell or sore throat) should stay home, get tested and isolate or quarantine if necessary.

 

Jennifer McRae